Jobless in America? Tell your story

With the state unemployment rate at almost 12 percent, thousands of people have been jobless for months — or even years. Unemployment takes a toll on our families, our community, and our mental and physical health.

It’s time our congressional representatives stop playing politics and start creating jobs.

Have you been out of work for long or know someone who is?
Tell your story here.

Or, share this campaign with a coworker, friend or family member and let them tell their story.

See coverage of actions we took to ask Congress where are the jobs.

Read others’ jobless stories submitted below.

No many jobs available
I live in the city of Detroit, there are not many jobs here. I have been at my job for 6 yrs and we had cut backs, I was lucky to still have a job but I had to take a $3.00 pay cut. There were 86 people let go at my job about half of them are still unemployed. Some people will just take what they can get until something better comes along. I see people everyday come into our establishment and have either been laid off or can’t find a job. One young lady says that her husband had been unemployed for 3yrs they were getting ready to lose their home and car. There aren’t many jobs out there with benefits or directions.
— Sharmagne Williams
Submitted: Thurs., Sept. 8, 2011 – 7:37 p.m.

Create job for the young people
I’m writing this short story for my son he has been out out steady work for almost a year, I would love to see jobs created to help the younger population. Thank God he doesn’t have any children and isn’t married.
— Bernice Ward
Submitted: Wed., Aug. 31, 2011 – 6:25 p.m.

Jobless depression
As a commercial construction management professional working for a general contractor in the Silicon Valley, I was laid off in May of 2009 following 2 years of service. It hardly came as a suprise. What had been a successful design-build firm doubling it’s revenues in consecutive years became an office where projects in tow lost funding, and where the phone stopped ringing all together.       
As I filed a claim for California’s Disability Insurance, I joined the leagues of other Californians eager to find new work. My resume was revised, distributed to colleagues in the industry, and uploaded to a dozen different professional job listing websites, both general and industry specific. This process was done swiftly. I had a meager savings, many expenses, some debt, and a general belief that finding a new job in that period may not come easily. My initial scrutiny over the available job offerings quickly eroded as I developed a better understanding of the severity of the job market. Jobs that held interest for which I submitted applications never yielded response. Jobs for which I had little interest, but which met my minimum compensation needs, geographical proximity, and qualification neither generated response. My diligence in this job searching and application process was unceasing. Twice daily I was scanning postings, writing cover letters, and following up applications with phone calls.       
A year later the effects of this transformation of self-confidence and quality of living, were entirely overwhelming. I was not in my opinion unemployable. I had a college degree, gone to graduate school, assumed managerial roles responsibible for high dollar projects, had no criminal record, or other cause for alarm to a prospective employer. Unemployment insurance covered approximatley 80% of my expenses and the accounts for which late payments affected my credit such as my car payment, student loans, and credit card payments became enormous burdens. A minor traffic accident incurred costs that soaked up all of the savings that I had left. I cashed in the full balance of a modest 401K account to cover costs that the unemployment insurance could not. There were no thoughts of returning to school because the costs were prohibitive and the prospects for the newly graduated were equally bleak. 
At the year and half mark I was broke, unemployed on my 30th birthday, without any savings or retirement, feeling that my professional skills were of no value, faced with multiple debts, and feeling ashamed. I thought that friends and piers of mine had no understanding of the hardship that I was experiencing or efforts that I was putting forth in my job search. I became a recluse. I opted out of recreational events with friends, declined wedding invitations,
 avoided using gas uneccessarily, and generally shunned any activity that posed a potential cost. I had planned to be engaged to a tremendously understanding and accomodating girlfriend at the time, but could not bring myslef to make that move in my state of jobless depression. I saw pity in the eyes of family members and close aquaintances.
I had landed a total of 5 interviews at the 2 year mark. All but one of those positions was for a job in an industry that I had no previous experience in. I believe it was utterly transparent that I was seeking “any” job despite my efforts to prove the contrary. Many job postings were openly requesting that applicants that had been laid off not apply. I had applied to job postings for assembling bicycles, driving trucks, selling cable tv, and painting houses without any response what-so-ever. Why should they respond? In a better job market I would likely move to a higher paying job. 
Just shy of two years after my lay-off, the federal extensions for unemployment expired and I was in a positon far worse than where I had started; broke, defeated, scarred by poor credit, tired, and hopeless.
A month later I interviewed with a real estate company that hired me for a position in their construction department. The company is reputable, the pay is generous, and it’s a position that would have appealed to me at any time in my professioal career. Would I say that all turned out well in the end? Hard to say. There will be much time spent mending my ego and sense of self worth, repaying debt, and shaking the fear that I could be right back in the front of the computer doing it again some day.
— Ben
Submitted: Fri., Aug 26, 2011 – 11:17 a.m.

Get involved
My story echos that of Kat above:  my daughter is in the exact position – she has an undergraduate degree in science from a major university and is cleaning houses to pay her rent.  I am grateful that I have a job and benefits with  a County Social Services Agency where I see hundreds of regular men, women, and families come in every day with heartbreaking stories of foreclosure, job loss, health care needs and we cannot help them because our State and County are going broke.  I have several suggestions:  Call The White House Comment Line: 202-456-1111 and leave your specific comment to President Obamba.  Second, attend a rally, speak out, call your represtatives in the House and Senate and your State representatives too.  Third, demand that corporate tax loopholes and off shore tax shelters be abolished. Fourth, demand that financial and corporate white collar criminals be prosecuted for the theft they have perpetrated on regular people like you and me.  Last, demand that our Defense Budget be slashed and that all wars end and all soldiers return home.  Then we will be able to pay our rent and mortgages, have money to eat and to clothe ourselves and regain our liberty as citizens of the United States of America.  Thank you for listening and GET INVOLVED. 
— Doreen
Submitted: Tue., Aug. 23, 2011 – 8:30 a.m.

Sad to see hard working families losing their dignity
A  friend who has three kids, ranging from 8 years  to  2 years has lost his job for over a year. The house is going for short sell. His wife  divorced him due to financial hardship and went to her parents to live with. He does not have family to go to for help.  He has no idea what to do next.  It is so sad to see the hard working, very nice and loving families losing their dignity. Please help create jobs for the hard working people. Thank you.
— Liz  K.
Submitted: Mon., Aug. 22, 2011 – 11:20 a.m.

Often I’m short and must ask my parents who are retired for help
Seven years ago my ex-husband worked at Ascend 100,000.00 a year and I was a stay-at-home mother, we owned our own home in San Jose and lived a comfortable life with our two daughters.  He was then laid off, unable to find a job so began working as as street sweeper at night for 8.00 dollars an hour.  Soon he began drinking excessively each day and unable to function normally due to lack of sleep and drinking.  At one point I had three jobs.  We soon fell behind on our mortgage payments, lost the house, went into debt and I moved out with my daughters closer to my permanent part-time job.  He eventually quit street sweeping and went to work at a gun shop.  He met a nice woman and they moved to Arizona, at the advice of a head hunter he was told he would have better luck moving from California to find a decent job and now he works for Chase Bank making about 1,600.00 a month.  The only things he pays for are my daughters’ cell phone monthly payments and $50.00 a month for one of my daughters’ dental treatment and $50.00 for my daughters’ ballet class.  I myself continue to have my part-time permanent job which provides for us three at 25,000.00 a year.  Often I’m short and must ask my parents who are retired for help. I am not lazy and I don’t give up because I have a strong desire to surpass this hardship, I’ve since enrolled at NDNU and started my own cleaning business.
— Raquel
Submitted: Mon., Aug. 22, 2011 – 10:55 a.m.

Medical bills, and other basic necessities
I am working, however my husband has been basically out of work for almost two years.  He has been able to find some part-time, temporary jobs but nothing steady.  To fill in the gaps this leaves in our finances, I have taken a part-time job on top of my full-time job. While it helps and I am grateful to have the work, I am constantly exhausted and I think my health is taking a toll because of the long days working just to pay our basic bills.  We do not live extravagantly.  We share one car that I need to get to and from the home visits that are necessary for my job, we do not have cable TV, we do not eat out anymore and avoid many of the social activities we used to enjoy due to the cost. We are paying out of pocket for my husband’s insurance as my work only covers the employee.  Because he has pre-existing conditions, the plan he was eligible for does not cover very much and we have been hit with some sizeable medical bills due to him going to the emergency room.  I have always been one to save a portion of my income for situations like these, but we have gone through most of it trying to pay off medical bills and other basic necessities, like groceries. The thing that really gets me is that my husband really wants to work, he has a lot of work experience, he has a college education and is motivated, but the work just isn’t there to be found.  I am hurting watching his self-esteem crumble.  I am frustrated that though I am also educated and have much experience, I am not paid enough to support my family of two because I choose to work in the undervalued, yet important, social services field.
— Frustrated Social Worker
Submitted: Mon., Aug. 22, 2011 – 9:51 a.m.

My supervisor was reassigned to my job
I worked for Mariposa County as a Drug & Alcohol Counselor as a contractor, then a PT temporary employee for about 8 years. I applied for and was hired as a full time employee March 1, 2010. In August, I was given an outstanding review. December 3, I was required to meet with my supervisor and her supervisor and given a letter stating that I was being let go “without cause” because I was still in my one year probation period. Later I found out my supervisor was reassigned to my job and her job was added to another supervisor in addition to his regular position.
— Regina
Submitted: Fri., Aug. 19, 2011 – 5:45 p.m.

Something needs to change
My daughter was employed for 21 years at a HMO, and they had downsized her dept. She has applied to so many companies, too many to mention for the same thing she did at her job.  She didn’t just apply for jobs like the one she had, still, same old story, same old line, either over qualified, or someone “more qualified” for the position applied for.  But she applied for just about anything out there besides what she had worked at previous.  She had 4 interviews in 1 1/2 years, but even tho’ they went well, still not job.  It’s an employers market. They can take their time for as long as they need, while the unemployed are hung out to dry.  Especially by our Congress and their shenanigans as usual.  They take their vacations, enjoy their perks, get their medical coverage, and still they couldn’t give a D….! about all of the people hung out to dry, so to speak. And some of the Congress people making remarks that the unemployed are “lazy”…”just sitting around the house doing nothing, and drinking beer”, etc.  I am so sick of them.  Time to get rid of these useless people that do nothing for the people, or try to get some jobs for us out here.  Look at the statistics of exactly how many months Congress and the Senate actually work in a year.  No wonder nothing important actually gets done in Washington.  God help our unemployed. I worked at a union job also at the same HMO as my daughter , for 27 years, but I am retired. Also, we Social Security recipients have not got a cost of living wage raise for 2 years in a row!!!  You people on “The Hill” in Washington… SHAME ON ALL OF YOU!
— Pat Janzen
Submitted: Thurs., Aug. 19, 2011 – 6:05 p.m.

Politicians should go through what we have to go through
I was laid off 2 months ago from the Housing Authority County of Santa Clara. I have been getting a lot of interviews, but because of one thing or another been getting alot of company changed its mind because of budgeting. Our politicians should go through what we do, having to rely on unemployment checks that run out after a short while, while they argue over lame things to be arguing about. I know that the next election I will be voting for none of them to come back to their offices.
— Allen M. Smith
Submitted: Wed., Aug. 17, 2011 – 1:59 p.m.

No luck finding a job
My husband has been out of work for over a year. He worked in a company for 5 years then got laid off in 2009. A year later in 2010 he got offered the same job but thru an agency for only 4 months and got let go again. Now it’s been 5 months since he got laid off and hasn’t had any luck with jobs. My husband is an educated individual with 2 Bachelor’s Degrees, one in Information Technology and the other in Electrical Engineer. Living in Silicon Valley area, someone with those types of Degrees should find a job in those fields. But the competion of aiming for the same job is so limited. It’s made it hard to get a job since there are not enough jobs. Companies are letting go of full time employees and replacing them with temp agency staff to save money on insurance premiums. Plus my husband is limited in branching out to other types of job fields because he is too over qualified to get a simple job. Living in California on two incomes is tough… Now, that we only have one has really made it tough for us to get by. We need to save jobs that people have, plus create jobs for people that want to work.
— Cristina
Submitted: Wed., Aug. 17, 2011 – 8:44 a.m.

Getting by on one income… for how long?
My husband worked for SCO (Santa Cruz Operations) for 17 years as an Accounts Receivable and business collections manager. In 2003, SCO pulled up stakes and moved the business to Utah. My husband went with the company for a time but, for family reasons he came back to Santa Cruz. Ever since then he’s continued to look for permanent work. He has worked a few temp jobs. But those have gotten fewer and farther between. He’s been getting by on his savings and what ever odd jobs that come his way. But his savings is getting depleted. He may have a year or so before it’s gone.
Right now we’re just getting by on my paycheck. But because of the impending layoffs at the library. That may not be the case anymore. With the new job “mapping”, I’m suddenly not qualified to do the job I’ve been effectively and competently been working for the last 14 years. Today is August 17 and I find out if I’m going to be “pink-slipped”. Even if I don’t get laid off today. There’s still the possibility of being laid off later.
— Cathy Bond
Submitted: Wed., Aug 17, 2011 – 8:41 a.m.

Job went to someone outside the county
Layed off from County Agriculture Inspector I 8/8/2008 and hired backas a Biological Aid 1 the following Monday. Took 25% pay-cut and furloughs too. This position is seasonal and goes about 8 months of the year, layed off winters without pay or benefits. Opening in Ag. Department in the Mosquito Abatement department, applied and personnel rated application No. 1. Interviwed and did not get job, they hired someone from outside the county who was already doing that job for another municipality. Question the integrity of the process and if employee that was layed off and exceeds minimum qualifications should get priority hiring (Tucker vs. School district). Ruling apparently applies only to State, City, and County School employees. Think more should be done for people layed off from full time positions to be re-employed by that employer. Will be out of a job 10/15/2011 until 4/1/2012.
Thanks for listening,
— Raymond Schmidt
Submitted: Wed., Aug 17, 2011 – 7:28 a.m.

Outsourcing is the root of the problem
SEIU and millions of Americans need to demand that our government forces large companies to bring jobs back to our country (the United States).
— Martha Booker
Submitted: Wed., Aug 17, 2011 – 6:00 a.m.

Out of work for over 2 years
I have been out of work for over 2 years and when I apply to jobs I’ve been told that 150 people applied for the job. In Santa Cruz County where I live unemployment is over 14%. I worked for the county and my job was cut do to budget cuts in 2009.
— Rhonda Aikin
Submitted: Tue., Aug 16, 2011 – 3:58 p.m.

Harder for older generation
My husband was out of job since Oct 10, 2008. He is looking for job until now. It is very hard to get a job with the same salary he had before. He decided to reduce his salary about a half to meet the job market, but many companies in the Bay Area are still want to hire the young employee rather than the old employee. Maybe this is the time to change and the old generation have to retire ealier.
— Dan Truong
Submitted: Tue., Aug 16, 2011 – 3:40 p.m.

Age discrimination?
Born to a blue collar family, I am the first generation to finish a BS degree and even more an MA. I am a credentialled high school teacher in Biology and Chemistry and from what I understand the only reason I am not employed is because I am over 50 years old! I came to teaching later in life and struggled to find a full time position in my field so I went back to get a clear credential and a Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction. While staying available for full time work, I became a Master Teacher for The Princeton Review test teaching service but even that has not changed my interviewing numbers. For 3 years now I have been unemployed/underemployed taking on substitute teaching days and tutoring or odd jobs after school, almost losing my house because I cannot get a loan modification. Never giving up, I sit on the Business and Education Committee for the Fresno Chamber of Commerce and the local Adult Education Task Force both for about 3 years to keep in contact for job leads. I have letters of recommendation but no serious job offers so it must be my age! What is a qualified teacher to do?!
— Claire Lemire, MA
Submitted: Tue., Aug 16, 2011 – 2:37 p.m.

College degree and no job
My daughter has a bachelors degree and has been out of work for well over a year. She has made numerous attempts at getting a job and has been unsuccessful thus far. It has had an effect on her mentally, physically and financially. She has had to file bankruptcy. She shares with me often that she feels like a failure. I constantly am encouraging her to not give up hope and to let her know that I’m here for her. It breaks my heart to see my daughter in this condition after she worked so hard for her college degree, only to be one of the millions of people whom within our society are unemployed. My work puts me in a position where I’m involved with people every day whom are homeless and unemployed. These individuals share their stories with me on a daily basis of how it is hard to get employment and then keep a job when you have no proper place to rest, shower, eat and do your laundry in order to be prepared for employment every day. These individuals share how there are certain schedules to be kept at a shelter that often interferes with work schedules, thus keeping them out of a place to sleep, eat, and take care of their hygiene needs. So which does an individual do, eat, have a place to sleep and take care of hygiene needs on someone elses schedule, or work and sleep on the streets and wait in food lines for lengthy peiods of time and bathe in the river, after being exhausted from a hard days work. There is so much more that I could share regarding this matter. The stories are endless and sad.
— Kat-love
Submitted: Tue., Aug 16, 2011 – 1:02 p.m.

Military men and women
My son finished his 5 years of service in the Marines and has been out for 2 years now. He has not been able to find steady work and has currenty been out of work for over a year. This is a shame that our military men and women are getting out of service and now can not support their families, as well as the citizens of our country losing homes and sanity because they have no way to make an income.
— An ex Marines mom
Submitted: Tue., Aug 16, 2011 – 12:34 p.m.

Second chance?
My son, he gotten in trouble, not bad but it messes up his background check and he has worked since 3 yrs now, just odds n ends jobs. Do you know of any jobs? Please he has a daughter to support.
— Anonymous
Submitted: Tue., Aug 16, 2011 – 12:34 p.m.

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3 Responses to “Jobless in America? Tell your story”

  1. Doreen Prieto says:

    Working People and the Rich

    My story echos that of Kat above: my daughter is in the exact position – she has an undergraduate degree in science from a major university and is cleaning houses to pay her rent. I am grateful that I have a job and benefits with a County Social Services Agency where I see hundreds of regular men women and families come in every day with heartbreaking stories of foreclosure, job loss, health care needs and we cannot help them because our State and County are going broke. I have several suggestions: Call The White House Comment Line: 202-456-1111 and leave your specific comment to President Obamba. Second, attend a rally, speak out, call your represtatives in the House and Senate and your State representatives too. Third, demand that corporate tax loopholes and off shore tax shelters be abolished. Third, demand that financial and corporate white collar criminals be prosecuted for the theft they have perpetrated on regular people like you and me. Last, demand that our Defense Budget be slashed and that all wars end and all soldiers return home. Then we will be able to pay our rent and mortgages, have money to eat and to clothe ourselves and regain our liberty as citizens of the United States of America. Thank you for listening and GET INVOLVED. Doreen

  2. M. Llamas says:

    Lots of sad stories. OUTSOURCING seems to be the demon to a lot of job losses. Ms Booker stated it very well. So I hope someone is really listening. However, in our Capitalistic country,
    businesses can do as they please. Greed $ets in and to heck with the American workers that need job$ as well. Although I respect Mr. Honda and Ms Lofgren, it is seems that they and Labor have only appeared to rally folks to support and vote next year.

  3. Mary Smith says:

    Punish American Corporation to continue hiring H1B worker. Apple Computers have 95% contractors with H1B visa. They are not hiring local Americans. Stop issuing H1B visa to Indians. Cisco/Google/Apples/Microsoft have huge number of H1B employees. These companies hire Indian agency which select only Indians to place to these corporations.

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