Monday, August 16, 2010

No Answers

A few weeks ago, a man in his maybe-late-50s walked into my place of business. Someone near the front door directed him to me (goodness knows why), and I put on my most pleasant professional face to find out what he needed. Turns out he was looking for work, and I could tell without looking at his single-sheet resume that it was going to list a hodgepodge of manual and menial jobs, with no education, career path or white-collar sensibility in evidence. He was mild-mannered and sweet, and I told him that I’d be happy to keep his resume on file, but that there were no current openings, and sent him on his way with a smile and a “good luck.”

His resume was much as I had assumed it would be, with the added inconsistency of several gaps where no job at all was listed for significant periods of time. At the top, in place of a “professional goal” or “significant qualifications” paragraph, he had written that he was a hard worker and was “looking to get his life back on track.”

That touched a chord, somewhere – I probably assumed that he was a recovering addict, or something equally worthy of my earnestly bleeding-heart support – so I sent his resume over to our warehouse manager with an optimistic note. He is always looking for reliable workers, but tends toward the irascible, so I didn’t hold out much hope that he’d call this wandering soul in for an interview.

So imagine my surprise when, upon returning from vacation, my boss informed me with a sly grin that the warehouse manager had, in fact, called the man in for an interview. The interview had gone well, right up until the end, when the applicant asked the manager if he had heard of Megan’s Law.


As our warehouse is located near an elementary school, that was the end of the interview.

And I feel like I should be having a stronger reaction to this information. God knows, I’d be entitled. But I find myself vacillating between feeling vaguely squicked-out at how pleasant I was to him, and thinking that it’s a shame that this unprepossessing man is trying and failing to put his life back together. Then I wonder how I’d feel about it if my kids attended the elementary school near our warehouse.

So I don’t know, and I wish I did.

On the one hand, I don’t think the answer is to paint a big red M for Molester on the chest of anyone who gets caught peeing behind a dumpster or having sex with a 15-year-old girlfriend at the age of 19. On the other hand, if there had been a sex offenders list 30 years ago, a lot of girls in the town I grew up in might have been spared a lot of anguish.

No answers on this one.


Where the Fur Flies said...

That's a tough call. I think you did a good thing by passing on his resume. Maybe he truly is trying to get his life back on track, and your kindness may be enough encouragement to help keep him on track.

That said, there's no reason why a sex offender needs to work near a school or group of children. There are a lot of warehouses that would be a much better fit.

Emily said...

Wow. I have a number of thoughts about this one - most which surprisingly put me in the corner of the applicant. I guess my reaction is based on my belief that all people deserve redemption - unless they are incurable and a danger to those around them. I have no idea what that stats are on pedophiles and whether they can be cured. I have to give credit to this guy for trying to get a job -- and informing the supervisor of his status before it was discovered. That suggests that perhaps he was worthy. And what if he is? He may never get another chance to get back on track. If I were you, it wouldnt bother me that I passed along his resume as much as it would bother me that you will never know if this guy was worthy and not given the opportunity. Either way - not your walk. I think you did a great thing by trying to help someone in need.


Wow..that was a tough one...I absolutely love your honesty regarding your initial thoughts of him because WE ALL have had them!

Love your blog!!

Anonymous said...

After I saw "The Woodsman" with Kevin Bacon and studied Megan's Law in law school, I'm more torn on this issue than I ever thought I'd be.

Because some cities, neighborhoods, etc. are so dense with schools, there are actually homeless colonies of sex offenders in Florida living in underpasses because they are the only geographic area not covered by Megan's Law in their town and they can't get hired anywhere to make money to afford to leave town.

There's got to a better way than this to keep children safe.

Kelly @ Student of the Year said...

Wow. That is tough stuff right there.