Hey everyone! Today I have a post for you by Gina from The Frugal Convert. Until Gina emailed me, I wasn't even aware that your past finances could keep you from getting a job that you wanted! According to a survey by Nerd Wallet, 25% of Human Resources use credit or financial checks while hiring for some positions.
Gina is sharing her story of getting fired for her credit, as well as how she managed to get back on track. Enjoy! ~M$M
Just out of college, I got my first temp job at a large financial company. It was less than a 5-minute commute from my home and basically the perfect scenario.
I was 23 at the time and I was so excited for the prospect of being hired permanently after my 6-month probationary period. I worked so hard and did everything that was expected of me and more.
Working as a Commitment Specialist, I helped realtors lock in their client loans for home buying. It was not exactly what I wanted to do with my career, but it was a step towards the right direction. At that time, I really had my eye on being a Loan Analyst in the future.
As a Loan Analyst, I would have the awesome job of playing detective. I'd find the errors preventing some of the loans from being completed in the system. This is the kind of job that was given to people who worked really hard and proved themselves over time.
To make my dream a reality, I worked extremely hard for 6 months. I showed up on time, never came late from lunch, recorded all of my calls on notes, and didn’t talk during work hours. If there was something I could do to impress my boss, I did it.
And my hard work paid off…or so I thought
After 6 months, I was actually approached by my company for a promotion. This promotion was for my dream job and it would pay me $2 more per hour. At that time, it was a lot of money for me. I was a newlywed with a 3-year-old at home.
Every penny counted back then.
During the promotion process, they did a background check, which is pretty standard. What I didn’t know was that they also did a credit check.
I was fired 2 days later
The agency I was working with called and said the company no longer needed my services. When I asked why, they said that my credit check did not meet their standards. But, I didn't initially give up.
I directly contacted my supervisor at the company to see if there was anything I can do for a second chance.
She suggested that I write a letter to the Associate VP, explaining my credit report and why that wouldn't affect my work ethic with the company.
But, at that point, all the explanation in the world would fall on deaf ears. Their impression of me was tarnished and there wasn't a way to salvage it.
My credit directly reflected my character as a person, and because it was really low, it meant that I was incapable of being trusted with money.
My credit at the time was less than 550. At 19, the beginning of my debt journey, I racked up almost $10,000 in debt that I wasn't actively paying back. As a college student, I was working at a local bank and made less than $1,000 per month working part-time.
The money I earned was spent on eating out with my friends, buying clothes, and paying for my newly financed car. I was so bad with my money, that I almost lost my car due to frequent late payments.
To make matters worse – I eventually left the job to focus on school, not thinking about how I’d pay back my debt. Needless to say, the bills started rolling in month after month. Harassment calls started and didn’t stop. I was so stressed out, and I had no way to alleviate the stress. I was still in school at the time and NEEDED to finish so that I could have a fighting chance.
Read also: How to Fix Your Credit Score Quickly
Being a teenager and not knowing how to manage money is quite the disaster.
As a 1st-year college student, credit cards are thrown at you. Student loans are given out like Halloween candy. No one ever taught me what debt really meant or why it was dumb. All I ever knew was that I was qualified to get some money, and I took the opportunity.
Once I realized what was happening, I panicked. I had no real plan or idea of how to get myself out of debt. All I knew was that working would help me pay it off.
When I married my husband, I learned a lot about money management and debt
He was not only an accountant by trade, but he truly loved to manage money, and thankfully he managed ours well. He started slowly paying off my debt, but the repayments couldn't erase my bad choices fast enough.
It definitely wasn’t going to be a quick fix to increase my credit score.
That's why I really wanted to get that promotion. My dream job was going to help me pay off my debt faster, but the dream job stayed a dream. Unfortunately, my bad credit snatched the opportunity from my hands, and I never even had a chance to explain myself to my boss.
It was over.
If you’ve been in this predicament, know you are not alone.
This happened to me more than 10 years ago and I’m here to tell you, there is a way out. It’s a long way and there are no shortcuts, but its the best and simplest way to get out of debt.
First, stop accumulating more debt.
Accumulating more debt while you're paying off debt makes no sense. Imagine digging a bigger hole while you're trying to climb out of it. You're sabotaging yourself and you'll never get ahead enough to break the cycle. You just can't do that.
Next, make a budget and stick to it
This is crucial to get your finances in order. You need to know where you're money is going so you know how much you can pay towards your debt.
If you can take on a second job, do it, even if it’s just for a few months. Take that money and start making a larger payment to pay off your debt faster.
Finally, don’t ignore your debt like I did
Funny enough, I thought if I stopped answering the mean callers, they’d eventually go away. They didn’t and neither did my score. They both haunted me for years.
Attack your debt before it starts to attack you and your dreams. Kill it with payment after payment and check your credit score from time to time. Your career, your salary, and your livelihood may depend on it.
I hope that my story gives you some perspective on how debilitating debt could be. Your credit score makes more than just a difference in what you can purchase.
It can make the difference between the opportunities that are offered to you in life.