If you can still put a roof over your head and food on the table for your family, you should consider yourself to be very fortunate. There are millions of Americans out there right now that are really, really suffering. The cold, hard reality of it is that there aren't even close to enough jobs out there for everyone right now. It is almost as if we are all caught in a really bizarre game of musical chairs where the losers get stripped of their tickets to the middle class. What this horrible economy is doing to the dignity of millions of middle class Americans is incredibly saddening. There are a lot of very highly educated and very hard working Americans who cannot seem to get jobs no matter what they do and now find themselves doing whatever they can just to survive. It can be really hard to keep your dignity when you played by all the rules and you worked as hard as you could all your life and now you find yourself a half step away from being homeless. Those of us who are still doing okay should never look down on those who are struggling in this economy, because the truth is that any of us could be next.
If you really want to read some horror stories about what long-term unemployment is doing to some people in America, you should go spend an hour or two over at Unemployed-Friends some time. It is a great forum with a lot of great resources for the unemployed, but it also contains dozens and dozens and dozens of heartbreaking stories from middle class Americans who have had their lives shattered by this economic downturn.
The following is a typical story on Unemployed-Friends. It is from a 48 year old Air Force veteran who has lost everything and is now sleeping in his vehicle. It turns out that Scott48's job was shipped off to India and now he has been out of work for over two years....
"I am a 48 year old USAF Vet. I got my house in 1996 with the help of the VA. In 2009 the company I worked for went out of buisness(gone to India) I then became a 99er. I notified Wells Fargo that I lost my job and they said they would work with me, the next mortgage statement I got they conveniently increased my mortgage! With what I got from UE was enough for the house but I had to cut out the luxury of food, gas, utillities, insurance, entertainment and alcohol. That was it for me, so the forecloser ball was in motion. I had to give my dog to my cousin so he would get fed, I took everything I owened to the auction( execpt tools, clothes, pictures, tech manuals and my Saxophone) and sold it. I went to a half-way house the VA recomended for a week and it was joke, so my cousin said I could stay with her. After 4 months she diecided that I wasnt looking hard enough and kicked me out, and Ive applied for everything except selling myself. This summer I was staying in an abandoned house due to forecloser and the real estate company has now put it on the market, and I am now on the street sleeping in my vehicle or a friend here and there. Keeping clean is going to be a challenge cuz the Flying J truck stops charge $10 for a shower, rip-off. What a country!"
The truth is that this economy is driving many Americans to the brink of desperation. Even recent college graduates are becoming desperate enough to actually consider suicide. The following story is from an Unemployed-Friends user known as 08pacollegegrad....
"I could just take any job like working at fast food places, but I hear people who try can't even get hired there. I went to Wendy's for lunch the other day and I thought of picking up an application...but the slot where they keep the applications was completely empty. That should say it all. Plus, I feel like if I take just any job...I will be set back further and never be able to gain experience in my chosen fields.
I follow up on job applications, but employers ignore me for the most part when I try to contact them. I sent five follow up e-mails last week and got no responses. I contacted an employer expressing my interest in working for them, but all they gave me is the link to their online application system that I have never gotten a job from.
I am thinking of applying for more internships (I have already done two), but I don't want employers to think why I am applying for an internship when I should have had a full fledged job by now.
I have almost killed myself over my situaion and am taking anti-depressants right now. I see a psychiatrist every 4-6 weeks, but I still have days where I feel so empty. I am sick of sitting at home searching for jobs and praying for a response that never comes."
Many Americans spend day after day after day looking for a job that never comes. The sense of hopelessness that can build after doing this for a few years is almost indescribable. The following is another incredibly sad story from an Unemployed-Friends user known as feuxdejoie....
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