Catch-22

It’s a bitch of a dilemma… You’re out of work, your savings (what savings?!) have dried up, you’re running up credit cards like crazy trying to stay afloat… And you need a job, desperately.

Unfortunately for some, if you have problems on your credit report, you may not be able to get the job you need in order to get caught back up.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) conducted a study on this topic, and discovered that a whopping 60% of employers are at least occasionally using credit checks as part of their standard screening process for job applicants. This is a growing trend: in 2003 the result was only 35%. And of course, this is coming at the worst possible time for people that are in a real bind right now.

I read a CNNMoney.com article recently that got me focused about this issue. Check out this graph from the article, showing the types of financial/credit problems that surveyed employers say would discourage them from hiring candidates:

In truth, this topic had been on my mind for awhile now. As many of my friends and longtime readers know, I’m stretched pretty thin with some rental properties, carrying mortgages and home equity lines of credit that are maxed out and in some cases totaling more than the value of the property. (Being “underwater” on your mortgage is very trendy right now, so at least I’m in good company!)

Sometimes I worry that having a rental property vacant for more than a single month could start a chain reaction that sends me spiraling into debt that I won’t be able to dig my way back out of. Sometimes I wonder if I should file bankruptcy and walk away from my properties in New Mexico and North Carolina, abandon my credit cards, and get a clean start. At this rate I’m going to be stretched thin making minimum payments for far longer than a bankruptcy will hurt my credit anyway.

But then, the question of job prospects comes up. I’ve got a good job with a large multinational company, and the likelihood of me having my credit checked before getting an internal promotion is pretty damned slim. But on the other hand, what if something happened with my job? What if I had to start fresh with a new employer somewhere else? I could potentially be screwing myself out of the very lifeline that I would need if I became unemployed.

I really need a sugardaddy, damn it.

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2 Responses to Catch-22

  1. Alison C. says:

    This has been on my mind since it happened to a good friend of mine. He was in a serious car accident while he didn’t have insurance and needed multiple surgeries to recover. Last I heard he was over his head to the tune of 100K, and despite being an extremely skilled tech with extensive web programming experience, he was unable to get a job in Delaware. He ended up moving to another state to find better prospects.

    Many people have debt caused by lack of health insurance, which is another part of the catch-22.

  2. […] apparently not moving anywhere in the foreseeable future, unless I cave in and declare bankruptcy after all. Charlotte, I hope you didn’t have my going away party planned just yet. […]

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