I work with women in the local jail. One of their biggest concerns is getting a job with a felony. Not only that, but getting a job after they've lost previous jobs and/or references. I can relate. Maybe I haven't been to jail, but I have been through a lot of trauma. I know what it's like to have to leave a job suddenly, or move suddenly, losing previous job references. But that doesn't mean you have to forfeit your dreams. If you keep pursuing the work you love, and keep your career dreams in front of you, there's no reason you can't get there.
Here are some of my favorite stories of people who pursued the job they wanted against the odds:
I have a friend who served a long prison sentence. He was arrested on several counts of selling meth. With those felonies on his record, there was no way for him to be hired by the court system. And yet ... he now works for the court system! He is a pastor now, and he has an incredible track record (which trumps his felony record) of reaching into the hearts of people and turning them around. The court system invited him to come and work for them. Not that many years ago, he never would have believed it was possible.
I have another friend who worked his way up from janitor to company president. He knew what he wanted - to provide a good life for his family. He also loves to travel. He literally worked his way up to running a major corporation. Most people would have said that kind of a leap wasn't possible. But today, he is proving that it is possible.
I love hearing how my dad got started in his work. He didn't have the money to go to college. But he had a great mind. He was scientifically inquisitive and always taking apart transistor radios to see how they worked. He got someone to help him learn about radio parts. That same person got him a very entry-level job with a major airline. By the time I came along, he was already in management of avionics engineering. He regularly consulted with aerospace companies in adapting the electrical systems for his airline. When I was about 10 years old, he went to Paris, at the invitation of Airbus, to consult on the electrical design of the A-300. That's quite a journey from taking apart transistors to managing corporate aviation electronics.
When I remember these stories, I am encouraged. You don't need to give up on your dreams, no matter how rocky or circuitous the path may seem. Keep dreaming, and keep taking one step at a time. You'll get there.