Finding Employment: Darren Be Scheming

There are Ways to Get Help Getting Yours --and They're Free


Did you know that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has extended the deadline to file from April 15th to May 17th?

This is great news for those of us who, like myself, still feel like it is March 2020 and we haven’t yet woken up from the longest collective dream in history. Just consider this your reminder to file those taxes.

“Darren, I’ve been trying to find a job since before the pandemmy, just so I can pay taxes, but I ain’t got no skills.”

Say less fam, I can relate, many would say I also have no skills. What you need is a piece of paper that says you have skills.

If you’re a young person with the powers of the innanet, I would suggest looking into the myriad of training programs available… literally a Google search away.

YearUp, America’s Promise Program (through Montgomery College in MD), or a Union Apprenticeship (Electricians, Carpenters, Steamfitters… it’s a lot of them, get in and come do this kitchen work for me). Most of them have a formal application process, are free for unemployed/underemployed, and some pay you to attend plus provide job placement assistance.

I’m sure there are more than these, but these are the ones where I personally know someone who has taken advantage of the program, gotten a job, and now go to Miami/Atlanta/Las Vegas/Puerto Rico every 3 to 4 months, because again, these are young people programs and for some reason, that’s where young people with money go.

“But Darren, I’m a bit older than that, my Google machine hates me, and I too need some new skills” … if anybody in the world feel you…I feel you, my dawg.

For my more seasoned schemers, COVID messed up a lot of high-quality schemes, which you should definitely be on the lookout for when the world opens.  Kipp-DC’s free Coding Bootcamp (preference on Ward 7/8 adults), Community College Preparatory Academy’s Microsoft Office and HVAC courses in Ward 8.

The only current skills scheme is UDC’s Workforce Development classes which are completely free to DC residents. (  They offer five “pathways” for you to get certified. We all pay taxes, so use our money to get your money, so they can take less of my money. Please and thank you.

“But Darren, I have a job and a nice resume, but I want that golden ticket…. I want the Federal Government.”

Well, well, well…we have an expert level scheme on our hands. This is what I’m here for, bay bee. I’m a Fed, but I’m a Disabled Veteran, turned lawyer, who came in on the Presidential Management Fellowship (Shoutout to the PMF Class of 2013…may we never forget our struggles).

If you aren’t eligible for a Pathways program (because college was forever ago) or you’re a Veteran who submits his SF-15 but are still having difficulties referred…. allow me to tell you about a little scheme called “Schedule A Hiring.” This is a direct hiring authority provided to government agencies to encourage hiring of those with disabilities.

Don’t be too sure that you don’t have a federal disability. Maybe you don’t have (checks list) “60. Partial or complete paralysis” or “91. Bipolar disorder…or major depression,” but you may have something just as serious, like (checks list again) “81. Anxiety”, “84. Diabetes”, “86. Asthma”, or my personal favorite “06. A disability or serious health condition, but it is not listed on this form.”

Search “OPM Form 256” and if it applies, get your money. Apply for a job through USAJobs, then send this form, filled out and signed by a doctor to the HR contact listed on USAJobs. This will allow your resume to go directly to the hiring manager.

Remember: you are qualified to do the job applied for and are under no obligation to ever disclose medical information. (Full disclosure: Be honest, cause your direct manager will eventually find out. Schedule A hires are under a two-year probation, not the standard one year probation).

Stay scheming, my friends.

Note 1: Some of these schemes might feel illegal, but if followed according to the steps listed, they are not. But always consult with appropriate legal council if there is any concern. 

Note 2: Schemes are not scams. I am not trying to make money off you. In fact, I’m legit trying to save you money, maybe, if you ain’t scared. If you see me out in these streets, I will always accept an order of Crispy Chicken Basil from Thai Orchid

Darren Thompson is a lifelong border hopper of Ward 7 and PG County, MD.  His highest academic achievement to date is winning the Kimball Elementary School 1993 Spelling Bee and he’s been chasing that high ever since.  You can watch his comedic pursuits with The Cookout Collective Presents: “Enigma” and Washington Improv Theater’s “Hold Up, Book Club” on YouTube and FBLive.