THE BLOG

Good FICA Means Good Job Performance? Give Me a Break

10/23/2012 11:56 am ET | Updated Dec 23, 2012

The back story
I am a single mother of four. Two of my children are now over 20 years old -- one married and working on her master's and the other working for a small tech company and continuing her progress toward a bachelor's degree. I still have two in high school: 17 and 15 years of age. I still have some time before I am totally free and clear financially. And frankly, I dread that day.

My son, the youngest, is very quick to point out (often) that I will be in my 50s when he graduates from high school. I am happy to embrace that, though I play along at being hurt that they, my children, enjoy my aging process with so much relish. It's hell to get old, especially when your own children keep reminding you.

Credit Checks for Employment?
Not too long ago, I heard someone suggest a need to run a credit check on any jobseeker or applicant that may, as a result of a new position, have fiscal accountability or even any kind of budgetary responsibility within a corporation. A good FICA score proves a worthy employee. If this were the case, I wouldn't have a job -- especially given the last several years of surviving in such a devastating and devastated economy.

Back when I was a newly single mom of those four children aged four to 14, I worked three jobs while taking 15 units at the local college -- all while just trying to get by. I fortuitously answered a job posting pinned to the wall of the theater department: part-time administrative work at a home-based recruiting firm. The job was located close to my home, they were willing to work around my crazy schedule and the job sounded very interesting -- making phones calls helping hospitals fill open positions. I was hired before my interview was even over and set to start work right away. My credit score was in the dumpster, I was barely making it and life was very tough. I found a new life in recruiting. Before long, I was working as an executive recruiter full-time and supporting my small family quite well, alone.

The Struggle Continues
The last go round of economic strife put me back in the dumpster, and I have worked very hard to pay off credit cards and get ahead. Had my ability to do my job been based on my credit, I would never have been hired by anyone. Currently, I have no credit card debt. None. About five years ago, I paid a previous car loan off within two years of securing it; that committed act allowed me to purchase a new car recently. I do have a looming student loan and a foreclosure under my belt. And it does lend comfort to know that I am not the only one with that particular experience.

I guess the point of my sharing is that had every person who recently had the good fortune of land a job been required to submit a credit score in the seven or eight hundreds... what kind of further hot mess would we be in? Sometimes life laughs at us. Sometimes other people laugh at our life. But I refuse to cry. What's the best way to disprove those who think I deserve to be in a debtor's prison based on my FICA? Work even harder. Which I do, every single day.

This Will Not Break Me
We live and work in a day and time where for most people, money is scarce. Should the lack of it continue to be a liability for so many? It aches me to know that my financial misfortune, that the misfortune of hundreds of thousands of others, will plague us for years to come. When I am ready to buy a house again or when I want to upgrade to a nicer rental home, I will have to filet my soul once more. And I will, because this will not break me.

Sometimes, it isn't your responsibility to judge. Sometimes, it isn't your responsibility to deny. For you never know when life will point its crooked finger at you and want the last laugh.