This is where the story begins. Or maybe I should say this is where I'm starting my story, because I still haven't been able to find out when and where it really did start.
In 2001 I was 29 years old and doing pretty well. I had a good career going, good credit, a nice big apartment on a golf course, and I was certain I'd be ready to buy a house in a year or two. Up until then I'd been working as a contractor for various financial companies in Jacksonville, FL. In the two years I'd been in Florida I worked for First Union (Wachovia,) Merrill Lynch, and Chase Manhattan. I had excellent references from each of these companies and it seldom took more than a month or two to find a new contract when my contracts were up.
In 2002 I finished up a software development job, and was looking for a new contract, but suddenly no one wanted to hire me. Well, to be more specific, there were people that said they wanted to hire me, but the story was always the same. It always went something like this: "Well, the problem is that the Human Resources department says you're not qualified for the job, and we can't hire you without their permission."
As the months passed I realized that my financial situation was getting really bad. I had to get a roommate and take a job at a liquor store just to pay the rent. Unfortunately I had a significant amount of credit card debt, and no matter how much I scrimped, there was just no way I could pay even the minimum payments.
Soon the months became years. I kept applying for jobs, but all I ended up with was a job at a bar, one at a restaurant, and one at a fly-by-night web hosting company that ended up screwing me out of a bunch of money before it went out of business. I ended up having to get a smaller place and an additional roommate just to pay the bills.
In June of 2006 I found out the hard way that there was something dirty going on, and no one had bothered to tell me. I'd been the victim of Criminal Identity Theft. Not only was my credit completely destroyed, but also my public record. At the time I'm writing this, I'm still struggling to have crimes removed from my record. And it's not just little stuff. We're talking about multiple felonies and various misdemeanors. We're talking about drug possession, strongarm robbery, and multiple counts of aggravated assault with the intent to cause serious bodily injury.
Considering all that, it's no wonder that the companies I had applied to didn't want to hire me. It's also no wonder that some of the local cops decided to have a little fun with me. More on that in my next post. I'm just too pissed off to write anymore about it right now.
Next post: Finding Out the Hard Way (Part 1)