A reader writes:
Today I receive my last unemployment check. I've used up all available extensions. My position was eliminated on Feb. 1, 2009. Since then I've diligently searched for work. I have a MA and 23 years experience. I've had three interviews and no offers. My savings, including retirement, is gone. I had to sell my house. I've moved from Michigan to Massachusetts into the home of my parents, who at 81 and 71 live on their investments (which have been dwindling in this economy.) At a time when I should be getting ready for my retirement and taking care of my parents, I'm back at square one.
This is certainly not where I had planned to be. This is certainly not the American dream I was raised to believe in, one whose premise is that if you work hard, get a good education, you will succeed.
I try to remain positive. It's difficult when I read articles about companies refusing to hire anyone who is unemployed or about how slow the recovery is or about how many young folks are graduating from college and are now competing for the same positions to which I'm applying. I am doing all I can, reaching out, networking, doing pro-bono work, and taking an internship at a non-profit I love commuting two and a half hours each day to get to the office. To keep myself in balance, I constantly read and think about those around the world whose struggles are greater than mine. Haitians, Afghans, Iraqis, and other Americans who struggle with lack of food, education and life's basic resources. There but for God, go you or I.