A photo of food handler workers wearing hairnets and gloves
Kristen Wong / U.S. Marine Corps

I’ve been to all kinds of job fairs over the last five years. I’ve put my resumes online and given out resumes in person, but I don’t hear back from anyone.

Once they see my impressive resume, they probably think I’m lying or that there is something wrong with me. I remember learning in college about how people will treat you once you have fallen from point A to B. We learned that people struggle to understand how a person could possibly become homeless after earning a college degree.

They don’t understand why I’m selling newspapers and probably assume I must have some kind of addiction or other illness. I can understand how people would come to that conclusion after comparing my credentials to my current situation, but, it would be nice if they got to know me a bit before taking my resume.

My degree is in IT, but I have also recently worked in and completed certifications for the food industry. In the future,I would like to build a career in that field.

By becoming a food inspector, I could teach people who handle food in the workplace how to sanitize and work with hot food bars to make sure the food is at the right temperature and thoroughly cooked. I’d like to help kitchens remain in compliance with the city inspectors so these restaurants don’t have to close down and lose money. City health inspectors are often too busy to check in after you’ve corrected the problem, so restaurants can be closed for a while until the inspector has time to check back in.

I’ve also seen some terrible hot bars in many restaurants and  supermarkets. They get away with it because most consumers are in a rush during lunch hour and don’t really care what the food looks like as long as they can eat. But then later on they end up with a stomach ache and can’t figure it out. I would love to work for USDA to get firsthand experience. I have sent resumes to them also. Still no replies.

Even though my degree is in IT and D.C. is supposed to have an increasing number of tech jobs, it seems I have to travel out to Virginia or Maryland somewhere to find openings. And it isn’t guaranteed I would be hired there either. My options have been limited on numerous occasions. I do feel it is related to my age. But this is due to my age — can I prove that it’s age discrimination? I probably could, but it would be too time-consuming to prove.