Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"Twice Beguiled"


"Twice Beguiled"
Gregory V. Boulware

'Gracious Bomural' was offered a job, a good job. He moved hell and heaven to make sure that the interview would go perfect. He shaved, showered, shined his shoes, and picked the best shirt and tie to wear to the meeting. The beguiled man made sure that the directions to the location were correct. He checked and double-checked. The directions were correct. The distance to the interview and work site was more than twenty miles one way by car. Once he arrived to the gigantic out of town work place, he smiled and offered an amiable greeting while handing his business card to the woman behind the commodious desk centered in the reception area. The woman behind the desk shoved several blank documents at him. She said "fill these out and hand them back to me when you're done." The sheets of paper counted eight. The application to the job was submitted via the Net. He explained to the receptionist that he had completed the documents online. She scowled back, "you have to fill the paperwork out before you get the interview."

Reluctantly, the beguiled man sat down in his pristine attire and began to fill out the paperwork. The tedious task was completed in about forty-five minutes. Another half hour passed before being called into the interview room. The young man of about twenty years of age started to explain to Gracious why he could not be interviewed. The interviewer shoved an envelope at him. "Take this," he said. It's the report of your credit check. The beguiled man recoiled, “why would I need to take the envelope?” “What about the interview?” The young man said to Gracious, “there will not be an interview!” “You’re credit report will not allow me to interview you.” Gracious was dumbfounded. “Listen young man, I came a very long way to get this interview and you’re not going to interview me because the data on my credit report won’t let you?” “What the hell does my credit history have to do with the job that took me hours to qualify for?” I’ve spent four hours taking the online test and filling out the online application!” “And when I get here, I spend another hour filling out a paper application with other documentation as well as having to sit here waiting to be called in order for you to tell me that I cannot get an interview!” “What about my skill sets?” “What about my qualifications?” “What about the expenses, travel, and preparation time to get me to this point?” “Do you not care?”

“No.” The interviewer said to Gracious, “we have to follow protocol.” “You cannot be interviewed due to the information contained on your credit report.” “You have debts that exceed the accepted parameters.”

“How am I supposed to correct the accepted and/or non-accepted debt parameters if I don’t have a job?” Gracious stated to the interviewer, “one cannot pay bills without an income!” “How the hell am I supposed to pay these reported debts unless I’m working?” “If I remain unemployed, the debts will not go away!” “I was invited all the way the hell out here to get a job that I’m well qualified for just to hear that I can’t get the job because my credit history is unacceptable!” “What is it you think I’m going to do…embezzle some funds, rip off some furniture or something?” “Maybe I’m going to rob a few employees of their lunch money, huh?” “I wonder if it’s because I’m too tall, or I’m too old?” Or is it because I’m too Black?”

“We do not discriminate, sir!” “It’s against the law.” He handed Bomural the envelope that contained the disqualifying documents.

Gracious Bomural was endowed with experience and skills that prepared him for today’s job market. He was a college student for many years as nearly matched by his years of work. The man studied and worked hard and tediously. His employment history was that of the average working Black Man of the sixties thru nineties era. He worked during the industrial history of his city and contributed to projects for many employers throughout his career. The jobs during the late 70’s into the late eighties for a man of 18 to 30 were bountiful. A man could virtually walk out of one job and get another right across the street or around the corner. Many workers didn’t have a high school diploma. There was on-the-job-training at nearly every single one of the work sites. The acquired skills were taught and learned on the job if not learned in the high schools. On most occasions the skills were introduced in the city high schools. Nowadays, the skills are taught at the junior college level and enhanced through the universities and/or specialized through technical schools. Albeit, one has to qualify for student aid and/or have money to attend the institutions of higher learning. Gracious Bomural carried with him years of industrial, municipal, and service oriented employment exposure and its’ training along with three years of formal college with an earned Associates Degree; his college degree specialized in business management and computer sciences with software languages, specifically Relational Data Base Management Systems – Business Management Systems - Business Oriented Query Languages, etc., which more than qualified him for the position to which he applied and was invited.

The job assignment was to enter, extract, transfer, load, and correct data base systems and its’ information (ETL)...a job he could do with his eyes closed.

The company’s computer generated disqualifying letter with Mr. Bomural’s name on it, read as follows (the names have been changed to protect the innocent):

Thank you for your interest in our company. Your application is currently under consideration.

The purpose of this letter is to provide you with a copy of the enclosed consumer report, as required under the federal Fair-Credit Reporting Act. This report may be considered in connection with your application. You may wish to carefully review the report for accuracy. A summary of your rights under the fair Credit Reporting Act is also enclosed.


John L. Charley,
The Consumer Card Manufacturing Company, Inc
Human Resources
5500 N. Hamster Blvd.
Anywhere US 12345

The information forwarded in the envelope along with the accompanying letter, listed several credit reporting agencies and their contact data. These agencies buy and sell information on anybody and everybody. Information is disclosed by these agencies to employers and any customer this business caters to. It may contain your medical records, what you buy, debts of all kind, work history, and whatever else they can dig up on you. And it is incumbent upon the consumer to make right the wrongs and/or incorrect information.

Gracious stood up shook hands with the man, smiled and said, “Have a good day.” He departed the large glass and girder building and endured the traffic backups on his long journey home.

A few months later, Gracious received a telephone call. The call was from an employment recruiter of another company he’d submitted an application as well as scoring well on their online test. The test and questionnaire showed his abilities and qualifications were what the company was looking for. Gracious thought his job search and unemployment hell was finally over.

The telephone interview went well. The face-to-face interview date and time was set. The face-to-face interview came and passed. Several days went by and the anticipated telephone call arrived. The kind and friendly voice delivered the message of the job offer. A confirmation letter and contract also arrived via email. The attachment as well as an acceptance message within the message body of the email read:

“If you agree with the terms of this fixed term agreement, please sign in the space provided below and return the signed document to the Recruitment Department by fax to the below number.” Gracious complied with the request immediately. Another telephone call made by the recruiter to Mr. Bomural informed him of the day and time he was to report to the office for his first day of work.

Thursday, three days before the first day of work, Bomural, having been out of work for more than 18 months, received an email from the company. It read as follows:

Dear Gracious:

You are hereby notified that our company will soon deny your application for employment and/or your promotion, based-in whole or in part-on information contained in a consumer report.

A copy of this report is provided and received from various consumer-reporting agencies.

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you have additional rights, which are summarized in the attached “A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.”


Lurnna Dunne, Recruiting Manager
Our Express Company

Mr. Gracious Bomural’s heart sank. He felt as though the whole wide world of business and computer science set him up to make a fall. He felt the world of employment was inaccessible to him. He felt like they did not want him. “Why did I study for all these long years?” he said aloud. “What have I done to deserve this punishment?” “Why do they not want me?” Gracious felt real sorry for himself for several days. One morning he woke up. The Sun was shinning brightly. The Birds were singing loudly. The air was brisk and crisp, clean tasting. Gracious realized that he didn’t have to feel bad about the job situation any longer. He realized his power. He realized his worth. He realized that it is they who have wronged themselves. The Consumer Reporting Agencies were designed to help people not hinder them and/or to deny them prosperity. The employment agencies gripe and moan about the lack of skilled workers in our country yet they do all in their power to keep them out of the job market. “Why is that?” he wondered.

“The experience, skills, and education that I possess will reward itself in the passing and sharing of information to others.” “I can start my own business!” “I don’t have to work for anyone!” “I can do it myself!” he exclaimed aloud. “Our President said that he is here for the people because he was put there by the people!” “I am one of the people and I intend to make a statement,” said Gracious. “Our President will listen to the people.” “I’m going to write a letter and let my voice be heard!” “The agencies that are supposed to be helping us are hutting us…keeping us from getting jobs…keeping us from correcting our lives…keeping us from paying our bills and putting food on the table…keeping us from participating in the contributions it takes to maintain economical health!” He felt great.

Gracious Bomural sat down and said, “I won’t be fooled again.” “I’m going to write a letter!”

Til Next Time...


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