Thought Catalog

Everybody Deserves A Second Chance — But Not Everyone Gets One

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Brooke Cagle

It’s been eighteen (18) months since I lost my career and a way to earn a living. Yes it was of my own doing, a breach of the public trust which at the time was not in my radar as leading to where I am now.

Divorce and a business that brought little more than grinding away on a daily basis to barely squeak by in meeting financial obligations quickly led to depression. The cycle started so to speak so that the work barely got done, the stress of the financial obligations mounted and the clients suffered. The ease to “fix” the financial obligations was a split second decision but added to some past poor decision making in attempting to stay above water has caused my current situation to only be harder.

In very few professions does the loss of one’s license have such a ripple effect in trying to find new employment. As a newbie I often would see others who have lost their license and continue in essentially the same position even after their professional status was terminated.

I could not go down a similar path, my practice was my own, I did not have partners who could continue running the business and employ me as nothing more than an employee with a great bonus incentive. Instead at 60 years old and after practicing for over 20 plus years, I was faced with trying to find any kind of employment in which my experience would transfer or not transfer at all – after all the obligations of my own life & the life I brought into this world continues.

We all read and hear feel good stories daily on social media and on television in which a person who needs help and a second chance in life serendipitously meets that golden savior that provides a second chance in life. While we all should applaud all of these people it just does not work like that in day to day life. It is quite simple as I look at it but coming to terms with the inability to find even the most basic and menial employment only adds to my current state of being.

It’s far easier to sleep the days away then face the prospect of being told, and in most cases silently, “you are over qualified” or “we cannot invest training you so you can leave when a better offer comes along”.

It all happens very impersonally since so much of hiring is done at least initially online. Upon hitting the submit button which uploads a resume which reflects a post graduate degree for a position which pays slightly more than minimum wage, the writing is pretty much on the wall. It’s not the screeners fault, they have their own marching orders and often get paid based on placing someone.

It all becomes the perfect storm to not being able to get a second chance. If I was 20 years younger and in a different position in my life I would have a better chance in gaining employment than I do right now.

My family has supported me at every turn, friends are a different story and suddenly you come to grips with how many really were and the ones that stay around seem to slowly move farther and farther away. Neither family or friends can completely understand how employment can be so unattainable. Jobs that I am clearly qualified for pass by without even a courtesy reply. And then comes the questions – if someone that has a criminal history and has served their time can find a minimum wage job, it should be no problem for you to do so too. This all presupposes all of the above and the person coming out of incarceration may be looked at better than someone who is held to a very high standard which for whatever reason they have broken.

As the days, weeks and months go by I wonder just how many others are in similar situations. It would be easy to give up and disappear, run away from it all but that would penalize those that still need me. Those who face the same issues need to know that just because they screwed up and caused everything they are facing, we are good people, caring husbands & wives, giving children and wonderful fathers & mothers. Being motivated with such huge pressures is not easy, it’s a one day at a time routine – fully knowing that having some good news may suddenly turn into despair.

From it all I only can say one thing for certain – you may not get a second chance, unless you make the chance for yourself. TC mark

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