I haven’t had very many guest posts on here. Usually, people guest post because they want to increase exposure to their site. This one is a bit different. My good friend, Jake, wanted to write something for my site because he knew I like to think differently about money and his story is certainly different from what you usually encounter.
I first met Ed in college. That’s right, I said Ed. Not the pretentious “Edward” he’s calling himself here. My, my, aren’t we fancy now! :p I met Ed in college because we were in the same program. We were going to be science teachers! It was a rigorous program and a full half of the freshman who start the program wind up switching out of it. Ed left because he decided that he didn’t like kids enough to babysit 30 of them at a time. I left because I got stupid and made some bad life choices.
I don’t really want to go into what I did. I know a lot of people will be divided in their opinion of me based on what I did and that will affect their thoughts on the moral of my story. All you need to know I spent 5 years in jail and that I’m very sorry for what I did.
So moving on, I’m a convicted felon with an IQ bordering on genius. After getting out of jail, it took me 6 months to find a job. Not only can I never do the only thing I ever wanted to do, I can’t even find work that’s mildly interesting. I wound up getting a job at a box factory. That’s right, I make boxes. For minimum wage. It was the only place I could find that didn’t do a background check. It’s easier for them to pretend their workforce is here legally that way.
15% of my income goes to the Passaic County Courthouse to pay my fines and restitution. It will take me another 10 years to pay it all off. Between that and taxes, my paycheck is about $200 per week. With that money, I have to pay a third of my apartment’s $1500 rent, my share of utilities, student loan (oh, the bitter irony), and my cell phone. I put a little money into a retirement account, but not as much as I should. On payday, I do out to the bar with some work friends for a couple drinks. That’s pretty much the extent of my finances.
If I hadn’t gotten into trouble, my income would be double what it is today, and I wouldn’t have that extra $25,000 of debt hanging over my head. I’d have a pension. Of course, teachers don’t make a lot of money. Some of you make two or even three times as much as teachers do.
The moral of my story is that if you go to jail, your life as you know it now is basically over. Friends and even family will severe contact with you. (most of my friends never spoke to me again. Ed visited me in jail. He’s been a great friend. Thanks, man) Your capacity to earn a living will be cut to a fraction of what you were previously able.
Take my word that a few jollies aren’t worth it. It’s hundreds of thousands of dollars lost. if you are thinking about doing something stupid, remember my story and don’t do it. It’s not worth it, man.
(I do go by both Ed and Edward and have for a long time. Basically, “Ed” is for close friends and “Edward” is for professional acquaintances. And “Eddie” is specifically for my grandmother and no one else.
Whenever I start feeling down about where I am in my life, Jake’s story puts things into perspective for me. He’s a great guy and it’s a shame that he got caught up in some stuff that he shouldn’t have.)
- Would restoring felon voting rights change VA’s political landscape? (wtvr.com)
- Not Being a Felon Is Not Enough to Avoid Going to Federal Prison for Being a Felon in Possession of a Gun (reason.com)
- ID laws, felon’s rights 2 separate issues (thegazette.com)