originally posted 6/2013
I have good news to share thanks to Almighty God. I’m a RSO in California as of April 2012. Facing the world from this new perspective is scary. It was scary going through the process – getting caught, going through the court system, getting sentenced, registering, etc. But I want to encourage you who are registered having a hard time and to you whose loved one is registered.
RSO’s are a diverse group of people from many walks of life and my hope that for some of you whether your lives are similar to mine or even for those whose lives are vastly different can learn from my experiences. I’ve only been on the “”outs”” for about a month and have 4 1/2 years of probation to complete. Again, my hope is that as I continue to share my life’s stories with this support group, some can take something positive with you.
I’m very blessed. I have a supporting wife (who I don’t deserve because my actions that caused me to be a RSO were done against her) and it’s only by the grace of God that she supports me the way she does. Even though my actions hurt her like you can’t believe, she still holds on and trusts that God will make everything turn out for good. We both love God so that’s both our hope and our foundation.
I also am blessed that my parents are alive and healthy. All my life I never got into major trouble, did well in school, and did my best to provide for my family. Of course I have my shortcomings as everyone has some, but for the most part I had some opportunities others don’t have.
After I messed up – lost my job, got into this trouble, now am a RSO – I had the support to get back on my feet. That is more than I could expect after all that I put my family through. Like many others I turned to the web for guidance especially when it came to finding a job. With a felony and registration comes a hard road to especially when it comes to finding employment.
I’m lucky in that I have marketable skills as an IT computer/network technician. So I started job hunting. I hit all angles – temp agencies, IT recruiting firms, Craigslist, Monster, Dice (IT job hunting site), and the State of CA job site. I hit the streets to look for a job. Again I was blessed here because with tax refunds my wife and I had some money to buy a used car from an auction so I can go out job hunting without burdening anyone. Parents helped with gas and minor maintenance issues that popped up – lights, oil change, floor mat, etc.
I went to temp agencies and dropped of my resume. I went to temp agency web sites to fill out their applications. I went to my local One Stop Career center which I recommend you do ASAP if you haven’t already. At the one I went to, there is a person who works with people with felonies and she gave me some great resources.
In 3 weeks I applied to approximately 80 jobs within 30 miles of my parents’ home where I stay since I can’t live with my kids yet. These jobs I found on job websites like Monster, Dice, and the State of CA jobs website. Spent about $30 on print outs, stamps, and envelopes for state jobs.
Had several phone interviews with IT recruiters but as soon as the background question came up I told them I had a felony for a sex offense. Big hint from my counselor – DON’T SAY THAT. Say something like “”I had an inappropriate relationship with a girl who was under 18″”. The key is to not lie, but don’t sell yourself short. Answer the questions they ask as best you can, but don’t EVER close the door on yourself by saying something so overtly abrasive. It was quite an epiphany when that tip was given to me. It changed my whole perspective on how to approach the interview when that question came up.
My very first face to face interview with a company came and I knew they were going to hire me. Then the dreaded question came up. I told them I had a felony for a sex offense and they said no. They just don’t hire people with felonies. The manager was super nice to me, but it was out of his hands and I understand that. Some companies just have a policy to hire people with clean backgrounds. No harm. I get it. I just have to try to apply to more jobs to get more interviews. But the rejection was a wake up call.
I had IT recruiting firms tell me they couldn’t work with me anymore even though I’d worked with them in the past. Comes with the territory. I resolved not to give up. There’s bound to be someone out there that God will lead me to where I can work and use my talents. I kept believing that and kept applying to jobs. My goal was to check all the online resources everyday and whenever a job popped up that I might qualify for, I would apply right away.
I was fired from my last job in June 2011. I haven’t worked in about a year and I have a felony and I’m also a RSO. The things I had going for me – good resume, good personality, good communication, well-dressed, but the biggest is faith that God has something for me. He knows my heart and my desires. I don’t want to mess up again, I don’t want my family to keep paying the price for something I did, I don’t want to hurt my wife and my kids again. I don’t want them to keep paying for my expenses – rent, food, gas, therapy, etc. I felt so ashamed of the hardship I caused everyone that getting a job to support myself was the least I could do to ease the burden on everyone even if just a little bit.
Well after much prayer, determination, and perseverance, I received an offer letter today. Praise be to God. I interviewed with the company and that went well. I got on my knees and prayed not that I get this job, but that if it’s the job God wants me to have, that He makes a way, and if it’s not, that he close the door. I only want to work where He wants me to work. And He opened the door and I accepted the offer.
I’m blessed to have an opportunity to begin to rebuild my life again. It’s a second chance to do right and not take for granted all that God has given to me and has given BACK to me. I don’t know what your situation is like, but don’t lose heart and don’t give up. There’s hope and although the road is tough for us RSO’s, it’s not impossible.
I pray for us that we realize that we aren’t in control and to seek God and His mercies for they endure forever. He is faithful to come to us and help us if we draw near to Him and seek His will for our lives. I pray when He does show us His grace and love, that we don’t take Him for granted; that we be full of gratitude. I pray for our loved ones whom we have affected that God gives them strength and hope. I pray for us to resolve to move forward and not give up or give in. Amen.