Short Work History and Past DUI
Here is a brief breakdown of my situation:
I worked for 3 years as an IT Desktop support tech. No problems. Left to be a field technician.
7 months on the job, the company split up, so I left for a more permanent position doing the same work with another company over concerns I had about stability. I have a good recommendation from the employer.
Next, I spent 9 months in a horrible work situation trying to remedy the most troubling clients in a firm whose main IT person was out with a broken leg. Everything was going fine until that person returned.
My performance was questioned. Eventually I was let go. Fortunately, I was able to collect unemployment for 4 months. My reference contact at this company was let go. I am not using them as a reference.
Next. I found a new position doing the same work. At that time I was going through a terrible divorce. Due to stress and my lack of judgment, I got my first DUI and lost my driver's license.
I was getting counseling and working on obtaining a work permit. Under the advice of my employer's attorney I was let go. I am getting unemployment under the laid off due to lack of work guise, to which employer agreed. He said he did not want to let me go. I also have a good recommendation from this employer.
Now I'm 5 months out of work with no car. I moved to the city to position myself closer to new opportunities. I can get a work permit if my next employer signs off on it. I'm looking for a position working in-house so I don't have to travel.
I have had 5 interviews and 2 2nd interviews as a network support person. I am getting phone calls from recruiters for contract work. I have an interview with one tomorrow.
I am just trying to find a job in the city where my driving will not be an issue. No luck so far. I don't want to have to go back to waiting tables.
BTW--I did complete extensive counseling for my personal issues. I do not believe I have a drinking problem and I feel well recovered. I just want to move on with my life at this point.
How do I best explain the issue to a prospective employer by being honest without showing any sign of risk?
First of all, I commend you for doing all the right things to remedy your situation. Getting counseling was an excellent idea because sometimes when we are going through a personal crisis, we need something external to help us cope and move forward.
You sound like a very honest, dependable person who simply made a mistake one night. This shouldn't define your whole life.
I'm optimistic for you. Even though you've been unemployed for 5 months, you're collecting unemployment, you're getting calls from recruiters and prospective employers, and you live in a major city with public transportation. Your past employer has also agreed to give you a good reference.
Your biggest problem is you can't drive. I'm assuming your driving privileges have been suspended for one year. If that's the case, you're half way through your ordeal.
I don't see any way around your driving dilemma. You simply have to keep looking for an IT support job that doesn't require driving. Right now the IT field is one of the bright spots in the economy.
Network with as many past IT associates as possible to find job leads. 80% of all job openings are not advertised. So, this is why you need to network with others and not depend on the Internet for all your job leads.
When you are networking with friends, associates, and referrals, don't tell them about your DUI or personal issues. They don't need to know this. All you need from them right now is a job lead or a referral of someone who may be able to give you to a job lead.
As you follow up on each job lead, just take it one step at a time. Ask if the job requires driving. If it does, just tell them you don't have a car right now, and so this won't work for you. If they offer to let you use the company car, just thank them, but say you don't have a driver's license...nothing more. You're not obligated to tell them about your DUI.
Note: Daniel lives in NYC. Lots of people who live there don't drive or own a car. So if you live in California or the Midwest, this line of questioning isn't going to work.
If you simply cannot find a non-travel job, you have to do whatever you need to do to put food on the table until you get your driver's license back. If you lost your license for a year, you're half way there. Not too bad.
If you lost your driver's license for more than a year, go down to your local license bureau and explain to them that your license was suspended for a DUI. It's preventing your from getting a job. Do they know of a way you can get your suspension shortened? They may refer you to someone who can help you, or give a couple ideas.
If they can't help, see if you can connect with a legal clerk or someone in the legal system that issued your DUI penalty. I'm only suggesting this because I'm sure money is tight for you right now and you probably can't afford a lawyer. I've found that many legal clerks know the system very well and could give you an idea on how to go about getting your suspension reduced.
Here is another good resource for you: DUI Process, Clear Your Drunk Driving Record.
It's worth a try. In this economy, with so many people out of work, they may shorten your suspension if it will get you working again and they don't see you as a driving risk.
Maybe some of our readers have another idea or two, and will post here for you.
Lastly...what do you say to prospective employers when they inevitably ask you, How did you lose your last Job?
Here is what I recommend: Call your last employer and speak to whomever told you they would give you a good reference. Explain to them you haven't been able to find a job. Tell them no one will hire you if you tell prospective employers you were fired for a DUI. Ask your ex-employer if they will tell prospective employers that their policy is to only verify employment...nothing else. Also, ask if they will add that your departure from the company was not performance related as you did good work. Period.
Many companies do this today and since your ex-employer seemed so willing to provide you with a good reference, they should agree to this.
This way you can tell prospective employers and recruiters that you were laid off from your past job and there is no way for them to clarify this by calling your ex-boss.
Also, many companies will not check your driving record unless they have to cover you on their insurance. So, when you get your driver's license back, you still might have difficulty getting a travel job. You're just going to have to take your chances with each job offer.
For further information, you can also read my comments to another visitor to my site about getting fired for a DUI.
Hope this helps a little. Don't forget to click on the comments/posts left by others. All the best to you.
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