As if it is not challenging enough to be unemployed, it seems a credit score ruined by the recession may be the new “Mark of the Beast” for America's long term unemployed known as the 99ers..
This is a 99er’s tale of futile job search and how bad circumstances are stacked against the long term unemployed. Basically no Tier 5 equals no hope for millions of Unemployed Americans.
Being a 99er has many drawbacks. Poverty, eviction, homelessness and ultimately starvation or death by exposure. That is, of course, unless depression kills you first.
As a 99er, I have been unemployed about 3 years (except for what little I make blogging). To be exact, 158 weeks of scouring the want ads and internet for any job posted that I could possibly do - at any wage (including minimum).
Then some republican jerk in office (actually most every republican jerk in office) says things like this:
"The 99ers are a group of people out there who have already received 99 weeks of unemployment. You can’t keep people on unemployment. It’s kind of like the state of California right now, where you just keep giving more and more money and it becomes like drugs to a drug addict. So look, I’m all for people that lost their jobs, make sure that there are unemployment benefits out there, but 99 weeks is probably too long. We just can’t keep supporting people that don’t want to work."
Well Mr. Devin Nunes, listen up:
I want to work! I need to work! In fact I have never worked so hard in all of my life as I have trying to find a job. ANY JOB!
It was not my fault that Congress deregulated the Wall Street banks and allowed them to crash our economy. It certainly was not my fault that the company I worked for wrote illegal loans to unsuspecting Americans that contributed to the foreclosure fiasco, which begat a substantial cut in tax revenues for all 50 states, which begat states cutting back on teachers, preschools, food programs, Medi-Cal benefits and police and firefighters.
It was not my fault that California and many other states pillaged from their UI funds in better times and bankrupted that system. I did not create the collapse of the Sub-Prime Mortgage industry which caused me to lose a long held job as an Operations Specialist, which lead to 8 months of fruitless job search back in 2007.
It was not my fault that 1 day before I was to start a new job (landed after months of desperate searching), I was run over by an uninsured drunk truck driver while in a crosswalk in front of my home, which begat 8 months of rehab and left me over $60K in debt and cost me that job - as the new employer could not wait.
It is hardly my fault that once I was well enough to work again that my father took terminally ill and required me to be his hospice nurse for the last several painful months of his life, which begat his estate being bankrupted by his medical expenses.
It is certainly not my fault that the Congress cares so little about what their tax breaks for Corporate outsourcing has done to the unemployment rate and the resulting economic nightmare has done to the American people - let alone their credit rating. Nor is it my fault that a bill to end the Credit report abuse by employers for the unemployed has sat dead in committee for nearly 2 years now, which begat millions of Americans being discriminated against not only due to their age but now their credit rating.
I have spent untold hours looking for work, sending resumes, attending worthless job fairs, networking with friends and strangers just to get the chance for an interview, and of the few interviews I was blessed to get - I am turned down for at least a dozen jobs (mostly fast food and retail) because I am not bilingual. This is America but to get a minimum wage job at McDonalds or Sears I have to speak Spanish. I get it, I do - one needs to be able to communicate with the customers and I do live in Southern California. But it would have been nice if I was told of that requirement during the application process. Right?
However, by far the most absurd of all the hurdles I have met to finding gainful employment must be the credit report issue. In the past year I have jumped through every hoop the potential employer had set before me, passed with flying colors - as I happen to be an excellent prospective employee. I am prompt, articulate, intelligent, computer literate, driven, honest, self motivated, energetic and always have a great attitude. I am willing to learn, start at the bottom, do whatever is required and possess an excellent work ethic. But the economy, 158 weeks of unemployment and only 99 weeks of UI benefits has taken quite a toll on my credit rating. If you cannot afford to eat you certainly cannot keep your credit good.
In the past year alone I have had a half dozen employers take me as far in the process as any applicant can go - then I was disqualified because my FICO credit score was under 666. Sound familiar? 666 is referred to in the Bible as the “Mark of the Beast” as an impediment to being allowed to buy or sell, only now that same number 666 is preventing me from getting work.
This is a very strange threshold for FICO scores. Yes a FICO 666 can keep you from buying a car or a home - but should it keep you from being able to get a job so you can survive? And why isn’t it 665 or 667? The six employers and one volunteer position who quoted me that same number are in different industries. One was a temp agency, another was a non-cash handling retail position. The most recent was a part time clean up position for a burger chain. What does / should my credit rating have to do with whether or not I can sweep a floor or mop up a table?
Before the recession (which was man made by Congress and Wall Street), I was making over $40K a year working as a Legal compliance officer for a Nation wide mortgage company. I have not looked in that field exclusively since 2008. Am I to be discriminated against by possible employers not only for my age but also because of what the recession and unemployment have done to my credit rating? This is what millions of Americans are facing today. WE WANT JOBS - but even the few jobs available out there are not given to us (the longest term unemployed) for the flimsiest of excuses.
What exactly are we supposed to do? Lay down and die? This is unbelievable and inexcusable and I blame Congress for not passing Tier 5. The blood of the 99ers who do not make it out of this alive is on your hands Washington. This 99er thing is YOUR FAULT WASHINGTON and you need to clean up your mess by passing Tier 5 now and creating jobs for millions of Americans suffering beyond your limited understanding.
After all...YOU lost them for us!