Taking One's Criminal Past Off the Table

I served 22 months in a federal prison camp, and was released 11 years ago. 

After so much time in the company of just men, I was eager to spend some time with a woman. I’m not using the phrase “spend some time” euphemistically; I missed talking to women, smelling their smells, enjoying their thoughts. And, yeah, I missed their embrace.

Taking the advice of my friends, I created an account on Match.com and met a woman on-line. We set a date to meet. I was very excited.

But the day of the date, I received an email from her, explaining that she couldn’t go out with me. She would never go out with an ex-felon. The date was off.

If you have a criminal record, it’s a constant source of anxiety determining when―if at all―you admit to your past. This dilemma comes up in one’s social life, but also in one’s business life. If you’re seeking a job, do you let your prospective employer know about this when you first submit your resume? Wait until a face-to-face meeting? Or when you know you’re in serious contention for a job?

Mention it too early, you calculate, and you’ll never get a foot in the door. Wait too long and it appears that you’re hiding something.

Speaking from personal experience, there is no satisfactory way to address this recurring problem. 

This acute source of pain is the rationale for our website, 70MillionJobs.com. We want to “take off the table” the issue of one’s criminal past. For job seekers, they can relax, knowing that companies advertising jobs on the site are fully aware of who may be applying for their jobs. 

Our long-term plans include serving the 70 million Americans with criminal records with other products or services that represent basic needs, like a housing site, banking services, and yes, even a dating site.

Nearly all of the many people I know who’ve served time are eager to get their life back on track, positively and legally. We aim to make this journey as productive as possible. They’ve done their time. Let them get on with life.

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