I Just Got Out of Jail … Now What?


Hi Scott,

I made a huge mistake years ago and ended up in jail. I got out, put it all behind me, and found a job. But now I’ve been made redundant, and I can’t find another job because of my criminal record. I owe $360k on my mortgage (I live alone). I have redundancy money of $14k, and I’m really scared that I won’t find another job. I have applied for fifty jobs and got three interviews — and as soon as they hear about my jail time I get stonewalled. I want to work. I don’t want to lose everything. How can I survive?


Scott's Answer

Hi Steve,

First, well done for turning your life around.

Second, you should ring your bank immediately, speak to their hardship department, and tell them you’ve lost your job.

Third, understand there are organisations that can help. WISE Employment helps former inmates get jobs, the TOLL Group has a well regarded ‘Second Step’ program, and there are heaps of government and community agencies (like the Salvation Army) that specialise in helping people like you get into a job. Get in touch with them immediately.

Finally, create a 60-second pitch about your past: take full responsibility for your mistakes, discuss your specific learning lessons, and explain why you’re a better person because of what happened — and a harder worker than the next bloke. You’ve got a lot to prove to yourself and others. Practise it in the mirror till it’s perfect. Say it in interviews, say it on dates, say it to your kids. Say it till you beleive it.