Guns at the office
Q: I've just started a new job and I've recently discovered that some of my coworkers are taking advantage of my state's lax concealed weapon laws and bring their own personal firearms to the office. As a child, I was a victim of gun violence and this makes me very uncomfortable. If I'm seeing red flags like this, is that a sign that perhaps this isn't the work environment for me?
A: I would certainly check with your human resources staff to see what they think and what the policy in the company is. You could also bring this up to higher-level management. Learning how HR responds or those of higher-level managers will let you know if this is indeed the company for you to want to work at.
What do to about a DUI
Q: Within the past year, I was [charged with driving under the influence]. How does this now affect my job search? What can I do to let employers know it was a stupid mistake, I've taken the steps to correct my issues and I've moved on?
A: Do you also have some good references? Some folks that can call the companies you are interested in to vouch for your work ethic and successful performance? Sometimes this can be very helpful because it shows that others have found your performance to be exemplary. Also, very few individuals often call employers (proactively) to speak on someone's behalf, so this might be viewed in a very positive way.
More on the DUI
Reader: I think it depends partly on what the legal outcome of your DUI charge was. I had one 10 years ago in Maryland, got probation before judgment and served my probation with no problems. It depends on how a job application is worded then — some just care if you were convicted of a felony. I applied one place where it asked if I had to plead guilty to something other than a minor traffic violation, so I said yes. The HR recruiter called to ask me about it, I was very worried, but explained about the [probation before judgment] and said I'd been to an alcohol counseling program (true), and the recruiter acted like it wasn't a big deal, and I ended up getting the job. Now, if you were in fact convicted of felony DUI, then you'd have to disclose that — and you might want to disclose it anyway even if not, just to be safe. But as long as the job doesn't involve driving or operating machinery, it's probably not as big a deal as you think. Not that I'm saying a DUI isn't a big deal — quite the contrary — but that it's not necessarily a big deal to employers, in my experience.