Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Employment: Open Letter to Sallie Mae

Dear Sallie Mae:

You might be wondering why I am still working under 30 hours per week.  I assure you, this is not by choice.  Since being defrauded by Union Institute and University, I have been unable to obtain full-time employment in a traditional institution, something you seem to expect.  So let me first list the number of jobs I have applied for or worked since 2002.

Some of the jobs listed represent requests to move from part-time to full-time status.  Others were formal applications submitted to various agencies and schools.  Still other attempts were made to succeed as a full-time, self employed consultant, as documented on my tax records.  In other cases, I have tried to move from volunteer to paying work.

1.  I applied for full-time work at more than 5 government agencies, via USAJobs.  These agencies included the US Geological Survey, the Army, the CIA, the State Department, the U.S. National Park Service and others.  Unfortunately, these agencies require specific skills, often written in government-ese, which makes it difficult to determine whether or not we civilians meet the criteria.  In addition, most of these jobs require clearance, something most of us do not have unless we have worked for a government related agency.  I do not have clearance.

2.  I applied for various full-time writing and education-related jobs posted on Monster.com.  I even applied for entry level administrative jobs.

3.  I applied for a full-time position at a career school that hired me to do one job but ended up having me perform multiple jobs on a schedule I did not agree to in my original employment offer, which did not adequately describe their expectations.  In the end, working split day and night shifts in a variety of capacities proved unmanageable. 

4.  At least two employment agencies hired me part-time without opportunity to move to full-time.

5.  I held various academic and writing positions, all on contract/adjunct/substitute bases.

6.  I signed on as a consultant with companies like Mary Kay and AVON, hoping to earn commission.

7.  I wrote and continue to market three books.

8.  I currently teach part-time at an adult detention center.

I have made all these efforts in spite of the fact that I have two dependents with disabilities and that I have diagnosed ADHD, depression, anxiety and PTSD.  I have tried, in good faith, to find employment, even though I am the primary care-giver to my dependents and that often, my own health has been compromised.  My student loans are not in default because each year, I have to claim excessive student debt, most of which can be attributed to a private "university" that proved to be a sham, a school I did not receive a degree from.

Considering the economy and my challenges, I am not surprised I have earned an annual salary that falls beneath the poverty line.  You should not be surprised, either, though I do not expect you to empathize, sympathize or even give this situation a second thought.  Nor do I expect any government or academic agency to act on my behalf.  History has shown as much. 

The most tragic part of all this is that I am one of hundreds of thousands who have had similar experiences, a majority of them who have not had the good fortune of having loving support from family and friends.  These are the lost people, the ones so easily ignored, the ones labeled "deadbeats" and "lazy."

I would send this letter to you directly, but it would most likely end up in the shred pile even before being read.  So I will sign off as

Yours Sincerely,
Katherine Gotthardt

P.S.  I am a strong, intelligent, creative, hard-working, loving woman and a fierce advocate for the disadvantaged.  Just remember, you reap what you sow.
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