There are some things in life that unemployed people need the most. They need to maintain their dignity and respect, and have the ability to once again be productive human beings, with the ability to take care of their families and fulfill other essential responsibilities that a tiny unemployment check won’t cover. Darrin Burton’s story (“Have We Got a Job for You?” 8/22) is an outrage, but it’s nothing new to me—or the countless people who have difficulty getting jobs. It is almost like art imitating life—my life—and a clear reminder about why we should never rely on the unreliable—that is, the Department of Employment Services (DOES). This government agency turns out to be loaded with insensitive and uncaring people who lack professionalism and respect. Is it too much to ask for the DOES to provide real help to those in need?

In reading Brian Montopoli’s account and reflecting on my personal experience with the DOES, all I could do was shake my head and wonder how DOES Director Gregory Irish can twist his lips with the bogus statement that his agency is a stellar institution. There is nothing stellar about DOES’s failure to provide reasonable services to the citizens and taxpayers of the District of Columbia, and its strategy of maintaining rude, insensitive, and improperly dressed employees whose regular work routine consists of coffee-cup-slinging, idle interoffice gossip, and the continual search for lost paperwork. On top of these disturbing problems, there lies the stack of unreturned phone messages.

Somehow, the DOES staff members got amnesia when it came to delivering services to the citizens of the District of Columbia. During the course of my own turbulent year of DOES promises of assistance that never happened, I saw the constant flow of depressed faces, rude employers, and people waiting for hours for assistance, just to be told nothing new.

According to your article, the DOES is charged with steering out-of-work citizens to promising jobs and industries. However, the agency hides under the cloak of trumped-up figures, unmet promises, and rotten-apple employees in dire need of personality makeovers, fashion consultants, sensitivity training, and professionalism. To date, I still wonder whatever happened to my lost file and what File 13 drawer it probably lies in.

Burton’s story also caused me to rethink and wonder if the infamous MetroTech program really existed in the first place, because the promise of training in this program never materialized. I had to come to terms and realize that the DOES had nothing to offer me. After several years of financial difficulties, I gave up on it and moved on with my life the best way I knew how. I went to college to get real training and education.

Contrary to the slanted and misinformed beliefs touted by the executives of the DOES, it is out of touch with reality and has failed to meet its own minimum standards. To some, a piece of loaf is better than no loaf at all, but where is my slice of bread?

Southwest