594 is definitely poor. The thing is, though, that I have like $200 in debt and that's all. All of my bad credit is from late payments, which were eventually paid. I actually had a collections, but I got it taken off as it was not my fault and I had no control over the situation. I mean its not like the credit companies lost money on me or something! I have paid so much in late fees on late payments that it makes me sick. But I am reformed now.
I definitely suggest checking your credit, writing the credit agency and asking for them to remove things that were out of your control (i.e. my roomates in college ran up a $300 utility bill after I moved out, left it in my name, and did not pay it: It had increased to over $800 by the time I found out about it. I can't pay for that, so I wrote the local credit beareau and got it removed.)
I signed up with equifax (where I got my FICO) to have them monitor my credit and alert me of any activity ($9.95/month). It is really nice, I get an email whenever something happens with my file.