Finding a Job You Love with a Criminal Record

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Where Do You Fit in the Current Job Market?

Though the job market is slowly recovering, jobs are still not easy to come by. For many unemployed job seekers, any job will suffice. For others who have recently graduated or who are looking to make a career change, applying to just any job is not enough. If you looking for employment in 2014, is it advisable to hold out for that dream job, or is landing your dream job merely a romanticized ideal? There are many arguments that both recognize the benefits of pursuing your dream job, and the reality that pursuing a career in what you love may only be an option for those who come from economically secure backgrounds.

Do What You Love

According to Steve Jobs, the late entrepreneur who created Apple, in order to be successful, you need to do what you love.

In Jobs’ own words:

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

The famous economist Steven D. Levitt echoes that same mantra in his Freakonomics podcast arguing that people who pursue what they love will always have employment because work will not feel like work, and as such the passion that someone has for their profession will give them the edge of competition. In the podcast, Levitt sites a friend whose deep love of ants has led him to become a successful expert in the field of ant study – also known as myrmecology.

The question is, what motivates you and makes you happy? People most often become successful when they find joy in doing their job well. According to David Zweig, author of “Invisibles,” the real reward is from the work itself and doing a job well done. Most of the people who became successful did so because of their passion for their work, which can be attributed to cultivating qualities such as being meticulous and taking pride in your work. Again, doing what you love can lead to success in the field of your dreams, if you are motivated by internal factors, rather than external factors such as fame and fortune.

Is Doing “What You Love” Prudent?

An article by Slate magazine called “In the Name of Love” by Miya Tokumitsu asks if it is elitist to “do what you love?” The article points out that in order to do what you love, you must have the financial stability to pursue your dream job, particularly if your dream job is one of the glamorous nonpaying jobs in industries such as film or fashion where you get experience by starting off in an unpaid internship. To do what you love may be a nice ideal, but it may also be an out-of-reach reality for most people who cannot afford to work without pay until they are able to build up their resume before hopefully landing that dream job.

“Doing what you love” also implies the negative connotations that some jobs are better than others, which is debasing so-called real jobs that involve unglamorous requirements such as physical labor. By extension, the people who work in these professions are also being debased by the assumption that they are somehow inferior to those who work in dream professions.

Getting the Job with a Criminal Record

According to the States Census Bureau, the unemployment rate in New Jersey has significantly lowered to 6.8 since its all time high of 9.7 in 2010. The job landscape in New Jersey is slowly recovering, thanks to thriving industries such as film and television, Biotechnology, and marriage and family therapy. The industry fields are varied and range from technical to creative. Depending on what you want to do, there could be a great opportunity to find employment doing what you love. That said, it is important to keep in mind that there is also a great deal of competition, so it is important to make sure that you give yourself every advantage over the competition.

Making sure that you are able to pass the criminal background check for employment is even more crucial than having the necessary work experience, education, and references. If you are unable to pass a criminal background check, chances are that human resources will not even process your resume. Fortunately, you may be eligible to expunge your criminal offense from your record, which may help you to pass most criminal background checks for employment and will allow you to legally state that you were never convicted of a criminal record. To see if you can find your dream job, check out job listings at the New Jersey Department of labor website.