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Massive Debt and No Job to Justify It | Occupied Stories

Categorized | Debt Stories

Massive Debt and No Job to Justify It


I received a B.A. in English and communication in 1999.  I couldn’t find any work except for sporadic temping, and by 2001, I was no longer able to find any of that, no matter how many staffing agencies with which I enrolled.  I had to file for bankruptcy in 2001, which left me only the student loan debt.

In 2003, I moved from Indianapolis to New York to begin a master’s program in cinema and media, graduating in 2005.  A week after I graduated, I had to call an ambulance, because I couldn’t get out of bed other than to roll out and crawl to where my phone was charging.  I was diagnosed with scoliosis, multiple herniated discs, and sciatica in both legs.  I had been suffering form chronic foot pain (finally diagnosed as plantar fasciitis in 2011), already affecting the sort of work I could do, since the mid-1990s. In 2009, I was 29 years old, and my regular doctor said that the only way I could have gotten through high school without the scoliosis diagnosis was through the incompetence of others.

At that point, I had to go on welfare, which is a slave labor scam, in which they force you to work or attend programs for 40 hours per week, paying you $36.50 for each of those weeks, paid in biweekly installments of $73.

By January 2007, I was working again.  My total student debt burden was $58,000 after consolidation, but my job paid $8.50 an hour, and lasted only 13 months.  During that time, my father passed away, and left me $37,000, but given the nature of my training and my lack of a vehicle, I chose to remain in New York City.  I eventually found a $30/hour teaching job in 2009, but it was 2.5 hours per week.  I was not retained after completing the terms of the contract because they were dissatisfied with the results after throwing me into a classroom with a textbook and a confusing syllabus that I kept questioning them about for weeks and weeks, then when the class was nearly over, they told me what I should have been doing, which they had never previously bothered to tell me no matter how much I asked, insisting that my education meant that I knew the material, even though I never knew what the material they wanted taught was, and teaching from the textbook chapter by chapter was g
oing faster than they intended, and I was too inexperienced to determine wht my students’ difficulties were.

From there, I was out of work until I work from home job that I landed in September of 2010, but was let go after three months because I had a slow computer, and with an $8 an hour salary, could not possibly afford to replace.  From there, I got tutoring work for $15 an hour, but never got more than 12 hours per week (and usually less, due to frequent cancellations), no matter how much I asked for more work.

By this point, my savings were gone, and I was about to get evicted.  A friend hired me at $12 an hour, 30 hours per week, or $18,400 per year, but when she realized that I needed marketing training to do what she wanted from me, she let me go.  The job allowed me to get a one-shot deal to keep me in my apartment, but now again without a job, I was headed straight back to housing court.

Almost immediately, I was hired by a graduate school colleague, who had me working from home, but refused to pay me unless he got usable results.  He then claimed that he had work for me in Jacksonville, Florida.  He told me he would give me $18,000 for the first three months, after which he would give me a raise, a relocation bonus, and health insurance, so I moved all belongings into storage and went, completely unable to stand without a cane by the time I finished loading it.  The job was nowhere close to what he described, and after 3.5 months, he fired me for taking four hours to return a phone call on a Saturday, stiffing me for the entire previous week.  I then contracted strep throat and had to go to the emergency room.

Soon after, I was on my way back to New York, but none of my friends could accommodate me for very long, and I was forced into the shelter system, even though I was granted $126 per week in unemployment benefits, since it’s not enough to live on, and I had penalty weeks, as well.

I learned recently that I have nearly $300 in tax debts due to a miscalculation in 2009, proving Mitt Romney’s 47% claim false, since I have never earned a total yearly income above the poverty line and owe income taxes.  I also owe nearly $300 because Shands Hospital rejected my New York state Medicaid; therefore, they are still trying to pursue me.  My student loan debt is expected to be $87,000 by the time I pay it off, but it seems like it will never happen when I have to keep getting it deferred.  I also owe another $3,000 for my old apartment, since I had a lease, and Verizon and ConEdison are continuing to hound me, even though I contest the latter, charging me for time after I had moved away.  The debts really aren’t high enough to justify another bankruptcy, but thy are also impossible to pay until or unless I am able to get a job commensurate with my education.  I have applied for approximately 740 jobs between May 5, when I was let got from the job in Jacksonville,
and yesterday, September 24.  To date, I have interviewed with six companies, two staffing agencies, and a “business opportunity” to which the tutoring service supposedly recommended me, even though I had no money to pay the startup fees and have never last more than a few weeks in a sales job.  The vast majority of the time, I get no response, or a form letter that they have gone with someone who has more experience.  Even earning certifications in Adobe products has done nothing but get my foot in the door long enough for an interview with a company that finds my experience lacking.  I am being faulted for taking the only work made available to me.


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