Advice for someone with unique circumstances?

phrostbytephrostbyte Posts: 3Registered Users ■□□□□□□□□□
Hello. This is my first post here but I've actually read quite a bit already. I wasn't sure where to post this since I think my circumstances might be somewhat unique. Anyway here goes.

I'm 30 years old, living in Baltimore, and currently working at corporation doing help desk and ecommerce (ebay). I also have an A+ certification which doesn't expire for another year or so. However, I'm looking for a career change. I wanted to give some background about myself.

At age 18, I was convicted of marijuana possession. At 19, I was convicted of cocaine possession, both misdemeanor crimes. I was in jail for 40 days, got out and completed 3 years of probation. At 22, I earned a BS in Psychology with a certificate in Personnel and Industrial relations. At 25, I moved to Israel and joined the Israeli army. I was an infantryman. At 27, I earned a MA in Government - Homeland Security and Counterterrorism and a certificate in Cyberterrorism. At 29, I decided to move back home and look for something in the field. I searched for about half a year while doing odd jobs, uber, things like that, but haven't had much luck. About a year ago, I found this job. However, I'm not really happy here, I want to find something else. What that is? I'm not sure.

I've always been good with computers, I can do graphic design, HTML, a little bit of coding. I know all about hardware and software. I know how to setup networks, but nothing really more complicated than that. I've worked a little on our Exchange server at work, but I'm a novice. I'd like to get into the field, but I'm worried that my criminal record will prevent me from achieving something substantial. I'm worried about security clearances, as I understand the private sector often requires them, as well as government positions. I'm not afraid of learning new things, I've always done rather well in school. I graduated college with a 3.4 GPA and grad school with a 3.9 GPA. I just feel like I'm going nowhere in life.. wasting my potential. Do I have any options? I'd be perfectly happy earning something like $40-60,000 a year. Does anyone have any advice for someone like me? I tried getting my record expunged but drug offenders aren't applicable. I even tried requesting a pardon from the governor, but have yet to hear back. A lawyer told me that if marijuana is ever legalized, I might be able to clear my name in a 2-step legal process, but that doesn't appear to be happening any time soon. I would really appreciate some advice.. thank you.

Comments

  • techfiendtechfiend Posts: 1,481Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Don't worry about your past criminal record. Focus on certifying and getting experience in areas you're interested in. With some patience it will all work out for you.
    2018 AWS Solutions Architect - Associate (Apr) 2017 VCAP6-DCV Deploy (Oct) 2016 Storage+ (Jan)
    2015 Start WGU (Feb) Net+ (Feb) Sec+ (Mar) Project+ (Apr) Other WGU (Jun) CCENT (Jul) CCNA (Aug) CCNA Security (Aug) MCP 2012 (Sep) MCSA 2012 (Oct) Linux+ (Nov) Capstone/BS (Nov) VCP6-DCV (Dec) ITILF (Dec)
  • alias454alias454 Posts: 648Member
    I am going to agree. Take some time and think hard about where you want to be in 1, 5, 10 years. Once you have something, map out a plan for how to achieve it.
    “I do not seek answers, but rather to understand the question.”
  • tmtextmtex Posts: 326Member
    Most places only ask if you have ever been convicted of a Felony. If you happy with 40-60K look into desktop support if you know what to do there. Maybe tone down the resume if you go that route, meaning remove the MA.
  • phrostbytephrostbyte Posts: 3Registered Users ■□□□□□□□□□
    tmtex wrote: »
    Most places only ask if you have ever been convicted of a Felony. If you happy with 40-60K look into desktop support if you know what to do there. Maybe tone down the resume if you go that route, meaning remove the MA.

    Do you think I need to continue getting certifications or would the A+ be enough to start? Are there any typical jobs while I can get certified while I work, as part of the job? would I eventually be able to get into network security?
  • TheFORCETheFORCE Posts: 2,235Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    phrostbyte wrote: »
    Do you think I need to continue getting certifications or would the A+ be enough to start? Are there any typical jobs while I can get certified while I work, as part of the job? would I eventually be able to get into network security?

    You can get training for certification while at work. Its something that many companies do for their employees. All my exam fees for all my certifications have been paid by my employers. The same for many other once here. First you can start with a desktop support job or helpdesk and then look to jump to something else. A+ wont be enough but if you get a network + or a Microsoft cert you will get something that you can use as the starting point. Just remember Rome was not build in 1 day, your career will not be set in 1 day and wont be judged by 1 year, you will need to put in effort continously and improve either by getting higher and higher certifications or by getting more knowledge. Your degrees will probably help you a lot, look to use them efficiently and look for jobs that require those types of degrees.
  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead CSM, ITIL x3, Teradata Assc, MS SQL Server, Project +, Server +, A+, N+, MS Project, CAPM, RMP Posts: 2,469Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    +1 build a road map on where you want to be and how to get there. Keep refining it as you uncover more knowledge.

    Focus on a specific part of IT you want to get better at, EG Cloud. Go full force without fear of failure. At the end of the day you have to possess something employers are looking for.

    For me I was a jack of all trades until I decided to learn SQL and it has taken me places I never knew existed or I could ever do. Find your "SQL" and go head strong. Prior to my serious committment to SQL I was floating around working those types of support jobs you describe. \

    That's my advice. Find something you like and stick to it for a long time. Make sure you enjoy it and it's marketable. This will require research on your end.

    Good luck
  • HolyPuckHolyPuck Posts: 18Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    You spent 40 days in jail and 3 years proby for a misdemeanor.. For drugs.. What the hell.

    Anyway, like others have said, focus on the certs and always be applying to other positions. If someone likes you it may just be the break you need, but you will never know unless you keep applying and learning.
  • phrostbytephrostbyte Posts: 3Registered Users ■□□□□□□□□□
    HolyPuck wrote: »
    You spent 40 days in jail and 3 years proby for a misdemeanor.. For drugs.. What the hell.

    Anyway, like others have said, focus on the certs and always be applying to other positions. If someone likes you it may just be the break you need, but you will never know unless you keep applying and learning.

    Actually 2 misdemeanors, but yeah. Mistakes I made when I was a kid continue to haunt me. I've been applying to different jobs every day. I'm not sure if it's right to ask here. But does anyone know someone in the Mid-Atlantic area that's hiring? In MD, specifically? I'm a hard worker, intelligent, and creative.. I just need a chance.
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