What’s the toughest question you’ve ever been asked in a job interview?
Maybe it’s why you had a low GPA in college, or quit a job after a few months. In Steven Johnson’s case, it’s one that goes beyond a line on his resume.
Steven talks about that one question, as he tries to find the right track.
Johnson found trouble as a teenager in Brooklyn, being raised by a single mother and falling onto the wrong track.
At 17, he was arrested for the first time, after being caught for selling drugs.
Johnson, now 45, has spent much of the past 30 years behind bars.
While he is no longer incarcerated, Johnson now faces even tougher hardships; explaining his past felonies to employers in interviewers, as he tries to find a job that allows him to support his wife and son.
Johnson has worked hard to put that past behind him, whether it was completing drug treatment or career training programs, and he has recently enrolled at Manhattan Community College.
However, no matter how much he’s tried to prove he’s a different man than he was 30 years ago, that one question still looms large over his head:
“Have you ever been convicted of a felony?”
We followed Johnson on his way to an interview at an electronics recycling company in Mount Vernon, as he discusses his path back on the right track.
Produced by Ian Thomas
Shot by Ian Thomas and Patrick Wall
With all the different things going on in his life, we asked Steven what he thinks about most when he lays down at night to go to bed, whether it was stress about finding a job, money or his own battle with Multiple sclerosis. What did Steven say:
"Vacation with my wife and my son, that's all I think about now," said Steven.
fortunesociety.org/ : An organization dedicated to helping ex-convicts find employment.
money.cnn.com/2009/11/11/news/economy/convict_employment/: CNNMoney feature from 2009 about the job struggles that ex-prisoners face.
hirenetwork.org/index.html : A national advocacy group for those trying to re-enter society after being in prison.