Times are tough. Perhaps the chilling economic realities can be best encapsulated by the tragic story of Dr. Maurice Johnson. Despite holding a doctorate in plasma physics from Dartmouth College and a masters in electrical engineering and acoustics from Purdue University, Johnson, 55, claims that he is homeless and without a job.
Though he has apparently declined part-time jobs in other cities due to financial and travel constraints, this overqualified man has allegedly been without employment since last November. Currently, he resides in a homeless shelter, describing his current situation as "just simply bad luck." In terms of his shelter experience, he says it is one he hopes to never have to repeat in his life. Below, watch him describe what he has gone through in a YouTube interview:
Time's NewsFeed summarizes:
Johnson spent all of his savings and sold all of his earthly belongings, including his car, to prevent foreclosure on his parents' house in Cleveland, Ohio so that his mother with Alzheimer's wouldn't have to move.
"They paid my way through school," Johnson said. "If it's going to take ten years, I'm going to make their final years safe and comfortable." He then moved to Boston expecting to take a job he had been offered, but found out when he got there that it had been given away.
But, Johnson isn't giving up. He's been sending his resume out and he is hopeful that he will be able to get into either education or the sciences. When it comes to the challenges he's faced, though, he seems to believe that his race has caused him difficulties. Additionally, he blames the dry spell in employment on the fact that he is overqualified (after all, those degrees are pretty impressive). Below, see a screen shot from his LinkedIn profile, which is also awe-inspiring:
The Daily What appropriately writes:
Maurice Johnson...challenges the popular perception of homeless people by being an unemployed aerospace engineer with two Master’s degrees.
A symptom of our times? Possibly. But, it is worth noting that, though the video is gaining sympathy for Johnson (and it is quite possible that sympathy is warranted), the details have not necessarily been substantiated. Jumping to conclusions, as some outlets have done, before verifying is probably not the best way forward.
But, taking the story for what it is -- especially if the details check out -- one can certainly surmise that we're living with some difficult economic realities.
(h/t TIME's NewsFeed)