After 99 Weeks Of Unemployment, Still No Job

The NYT has a profile of a woman who has passed the 99 weeks of unemployment benefits and is now essentially homeless, living in a motel paid for with charity from friends. In 2008 she had a good job and was going to business school. Now she’s on food stamps and making ramen in a motel ice bucket.

From the NYT:

Lining the shelves underneath the television are her food supplies: rice and noodles that [she] mixes with water in the motel’s ice bucket and heats up in a microwave; peanut butter and jelly; a loaf of white bread.

[She] still has food stamps, which she qualified for in Tennessee. But she is required to report her move, which will cut them off, so she will have to reapply in Vermont.

She has been struggling with new obstacles, like what to do when an address is required in online applications. She is worried about what will happen when her cellphone is finally cut off, because then any calls to the number she sent out with her résumés will disappear into a netherworld.

99 Weeks Later, Jobless Have Only Desperation [NYT]


Edit Your Comment

  1. jdmba says:


    • SteveZim1017 says:

      very… she has 3 grown children and none are in a position to help her so she may have to live out of her car?

      I’m sorry, but there is no way I would let my mother live out of a car. even if I have NO money, I will have some floor space and a usable shower to let my mother use.

      • Xay says:

        For some reason, that part upset me most. I have a tiny apartment and I would still find room for my mother instead of having her borrow money from friends and sleep in her car.

        • knoxblox says:

          Good for you. I’m still 19 weeks short of her record, having been unemployed for 80 weeks. If it wasn’t for relatives, I’d have no place to stay.

      • Thyme for an edit button says:

        One is living out of the country. One is unemployed and living in a tent. The third is estranged and has been for years.

      • Admiral_John says:

        This is what I came here to say… if either of my parents needed a place to stay they’d have one with me, no questions asked. Not helping them wouldn’t even be an option I’d even remotely consider. How can they be “in no position to help her”? If they have an apartment they’re in a position to at least keep her off of the streets.

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      Very. Sad.

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      Very. Sad.

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      Very. Sad.

    • rushevents says:

      I couldn’t deal with this – I would have to get a temp job loading trucks to maintain my sanity. At least that way I would feel I had at least some control in my life.
      Manpower, randstad, Kelley – I would see them all.

  2. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    I can’t read this for fear I would just get incredibly sad and depressed, and start panicking about how we can avoid the inevitable doom of ramen in the ice bucket.

    • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

      My first thought was, “Is it safe to microwave the ice bucket? Does it contain BPA?”

      • dolemite says:

        My first thought was “an ice bucket seems really big for Ramen. That’s like using a 5 gallon bucket to make some lemonade.”

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          Maybe the ice bucket was a bit of hyperbole? I don’t have reason to suspect the author would make that up, but I’ve seen microwavable plastic bowls for as low as 50 cents.

          • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

            i’m just wondering why she didn’t hold on to one that she owned previously.

      • Kibit says:

        I was thinking the same thing.

    • Blueberry Scone says:

      Ditto. I read them, and I just get weepy.

    • montusama says:

      Yeah, I have tears in the eyes.

  3. razdigital says:

    she should get a job at MC Donalds, Dunkin Donuts, or 7-Eleven; They are always hiring for trustworthy workers. It should at least bring in enough for the necessities. Put the student loans on deferment and all credit cards on hardship.

    • ash says:

      If you note in the article and comments, she has applied for fast food jobs. They will not hire her. She is 45 years old and overqualified. They would rather take some younger and less educated.

      • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

        This is true, even if someone who is considered overqualified accepts a much lower salary their experience would garner, the potential employeer may not want to hire them. The fear is that they’d go through all the effort to hire and train them, just for them to leave as soon as a job in their field opens up. Hiring someone who most likely won’t find something better than Dunkin Donuts (based on their qualifications) is a more sound investment.

        • BonzaiSamurai says:

          I hear people try to make themselves sound better than they are in their resumes so why not try creating a resume and under qualifying yourself?

          • aloria says:

            And when they ask you to tell them about your last job and provide references, what do you do? Lie?

            • kellkell says:

              For a job at McDonalds, yes you lie. She hasn’t worked in nearly 2 years she could easily say she was a housewife and now needs the extra income. In her situation I think lying to get a job at McDonalds is excusable.

              • TouchMyMonkey says:

                Ask yourself, “what would Barbara Ehrenbach do?” She actually did some of these jobs for her book, “Nickled And Dimed.” Required reading for anyone who thinks people can get by on minimum wage.

                • prizgrizbiz says:

                  She should follow her example. Look at all the jobs she got, in many places, to write her book. Apparently they can be had. Even now.

                  • Maniacmous says:

                    I read ‘Nickel and Dimed’, and while the book itself was informative, there was a huge flaw in the premise – she came from a six-figure salary (which she could return to when she was done writing the book), and started herself off with seed money to get a basic place. Most of the people in such a situation don’t have that sort of seed money and certainly don’t have the comfort of knowing they can leave that situation for a much better life on a moment’s notice, so I really don’t think the book quite captures all the true pain and despair someone living from paycheck to paycheck on the edge like that would experience.

              • TouchMyMonkey says:

                Ask yourself, “what would Barbara Ehrenbach do?” She actually did some of these jobs for her book, “Nickled And Dimed.” Required reading for anyone who thinks people can get by on minimum wage.

              • trentblase says:

                I think lying may make sense, but there is a downside. If they find out, and you are fired, then you will not get unemployment insurance (fired for cause). Of course, at this point, she cares less about future UI and more about not starving right now.

            • myCatCracksMeUp says:

              Ditto what KellKell said. In this case I would not consider lying a bad thing. Say you’ve been a housewife, but worked in fast food in your teens and twenties, which is long enough ago they can’t verify, but will hopefully help you get the job.

        • ovalseven says:

          Right. Employers also don’t want to hire anyone smarter than they are. Someone with more skills or education could end up a threat to their own job.

    • aloria says:

      Places like fast food and retail do not want to hire people like her, like my father. They already have problems with high turnover, and they know that someone overqualified is going to hit the road as soon as a job in their field of expertise becomes available. It’s not like a construction worker is going to be loyal to a gig at McDonald’s if some actual construction work is offered to him.

      • sweaterhogans says:

        Yep! I’ve had this happen to me a lot. I’ve had to lie on applications stating I was just a high school grad in order to even get an interview. Wegmans even admitted to me that they are nervous about hiring me because I have a bachelor’s degree. Unbelievable. Having a college degree seems to be very hurtful nowadays.

        • Robofish says:

          Wegman’s didn’t hire me for that reason either when I was looking. I was kinda suprised to be honest.

        • dg says:

          I walked into a Home Depot a few recessions ago while I was launching my business, and the manager asked me why I was there. I told him “I’m here because I need some money and insurance while we come out of the recession.”

          He said “Well then you’re just going to quit when things get better so why should I hire you?”

          I told him “I’ll work where ever and whenever your greatest need is. You don’t have to worry about me calling in drunk or just not showing up. I can handle most of what you need without any instruction and I’m self-directed. I can train other employees, and I can talk intelligently with customers to fulfill their needs, AND I can help you grow sales by suggesting other things to the customers that they may need. Yeah, I’m going to keep my eye out for a job in my field – but the way things are going, I’ll be here for a few years and during that time – you don’t have me as a worry in your mind.”

          I started in the parking lot collecting carts a few days later and worked there for a few years – even after the manager left. I rewrote the training manuals – they still use my techniques years later. Having worked my ass off to get my business of the ground, I don’t work there any longer, but I still have friends who do. And I know that if I ever have to go back, I’d be hired in a heartbeat – freeze or not – because the staff and managers there know that I’m someone who can be counted on.

          The woman in this story is a sad luck case – but honestly, if you were going to business school, you’re probably not a moron. Stop moping about, get off your ass and DO SOMETHING to make some money. Get some cards made (there’s lots of free sources) and pass them out to everyone you talk to. Offer some kind of services that people need. Identify a problem and solve it. The money is there – but you have to go find it. This “Oh I need a job because I gotta eat – so an employer owes me a job” meme is bullshit. Running a business isn’t easy – it’s a job in and of itself, and no one is owed a job. You want a job – make yourself valuable. You want a business – make yourself valuable. If you’re not doing that, then you end up like the person in this case.

      • tdatl says:

        Agreed. I’m always stunned when people tell educated people to “get a job flipping burgers.” I’m guessing they’ve never tried. It’s almost impossible to get hired for jobs if the company knows you’re gone at the first opportunity.

        In the last recession I took a job in my field at a >40% pay cut. I met a guy there (now a close friend) who had taken a >60% pay cut — he was H1-B and was about to get shipped back to India, so they really lowballed him. We both were gone within a couple of months, and I was told our boss was not too happy about it. We just needed a job, any job, to get another. It’s so true that it’s much easier to get a job when you have one. My colleague had an unemployed friend of his replace him. Apparently the company learned their lesson with us & paid him a competitive salary so he’d stick around.

      • Griking says:

        Of course people will eventually leave burger flipping jobs. Do you think that the managers really think that all of their associates are looking for a long term career in the fast food industry? I mean, they don’t even give associates full time hours, how can they NOT expect every associate to only be there temporarily?

        • u1itn0w2day says:

          It puzzles me to this day with the employee turnover in industries like fast food why not just hire the first available body. Even as a customer you can tell when a place is in transition breaking in a bunch of new employees so why not hire the first available body and make the transition time from old to new employees that much smoother. It’s not like they’re offering the high school a career path to a corporate office or offering 40 hours a week let alone benefits.

          And I don’t buy this everyone will jump when they get a better offer. Yeah maybe a HIGHLY skilled & licensed worker might jump back to their official field but alot won’t especially without the latest certifications and courses. In tech in particular unless you are really up on the lastest and greatest and various certifications you’re basically done. You might of functioned and even thrived in your old company that was just worried that you learned enough to the job but to sell yourself as a ‘professional’ with licenses,certifications and licenses is fool hardy. I knew people going for their masters in accounting but without an accounting certification she worked as temp book keeper,clerk, receptionist, typist, secretary etc actually making good money(50k a year), she was just as happy doing that every occassionally regretting not making bigger money.

          Point being many job hunters know to get back in their previous field/job will take alot of work so they won’t be going anywhere fast. Many will not do that work or spend the money to make themselves paper pretty. Many realize they had a once in a lifetime job and now it’s time for something else(this is where I think many loose out passing up many a different job in hopes of finding a gig like or super close to their old one). And many HRs who don’t come from that industry ASSume an applicant can or will go back-eh they should have no trouble finding a job.

          Between HR logic, corporate greed and computers getting a simple job is like a pain in the butt now a days.

    • dragonfire81 says:

      dude I work retail right now and we’re NOT hiring. Payroll has been VERY tight and we have people with college degrees in looking for work all the time. It’s NOT as easy as you think.

    • watchwhathappens says:

      putting credit cards on hardship = they lower your bill for 6 months. doesn’t help all that much

    • TouchMyMonkey says:

      You’re kidding, right? $7.25 an hour part time pays rent, utilities, groceries, and gas? Since when, 1983?

      And that’s assuming a lot, like the probability that McDonald’s will hire a 45 year old who tries like hell not to show how over qualified she is. I know if I went there looking for a job, and they saw that I had a bachelor’s degree (probably more than the store manager has), they’d turn me down flat.

      • Munchie says:

        So keep the degree off your resume and move into a group living environment. There are options for minimum wage, they just suck.

      • AngryK9 says:

        Most fast food places around here aren’t interested in hiring anyone over the age of 18. Apparently older people have a stronger sense of fair play and are more likely to complain when treated like garbage by managers.

      • mac-phisto says:

        or maybe they’d make you a store manager.

        all i know is that when i hit “living in a hotel room paid for thru charity” status, anything is worth a shot. $7.25/hr is still better than $0/hr, right?

        • RvLeshrac says:

          McDonald’s doesn’t often hire management, they promote.

          Well, until you get to the jobs that actually pay a decent wage, *then* they hire out, but you don’t have much of a chance at that unless you know the people hiring!

      • woahmelly says:

        When you make 7.25 an hour you qualify for other subsidies (electricity, food stamps, medicaid section 8 housing.)

        • BuyerOfGoods3 says:

          No, you don’t, The poverty level is around 10,279/year — If you make that or more, you are NOT qualified for any federal or state assistance.

          Do your research.

      • SillyMama says:

        She is single and has no dependent minors to care for. $7.25 isn’t the worst she could do. It would pay for her motel room and some decent food. It’s not owning your own home with a cat in the windowsill but it sure beats the shit out of begging friends for spare change to keep you afloat.

    • MNGirl says:

      I agree, I just quit my job at a retail store a month ago, and I already have a new one at a large chain drugstore. They actually hired 3 people the same time they hired me, and it pays in the double digits. I obviously wouldn’t be able to live in the metro area and be able to afford rent, so my husband and I moved outside the city where rent is half, and then I commute to work. My husband has been laid off 4 times in 3 years, and each time he gets a new job within a few months, he doesn’t make the $40 an hour he use to, but $12 for working in a factory inst bad, especially when it’s combined with my income. You know how i found a job? I wasn’t picky, and I submitted an application EVERYWHERE, and left off my college degrees on the applications.

    • macoan says:

      Exactly – if you are even somewhat trustworthy, then go get a job – Go to a temp agency – I was laid off, after being off work for 3 months I decided to go to a temp agency – told them I wanted full time hours, and an office type of job (not really the heavy labor type of worker) – had a job within a few hours – full time hours, with a pretty good chance to be hired permanently once the company takes off the “hiring freeze” they have right now. Only about $14 an hour, but in an area where cost of living is not too high – it is a lot more then unemployment. (I say only $14 an hour since it is less then what I use to make, but then again – much more then min. wage.)

      • u1itn0w2day says:

        The problem with temp agencies in particular job markets is that they are simply another version of the corporate HR rep that won’t hire you. And that’s because they’ve been given the same criteria that the HR or manager would use themselves. Decades ago temp agencies were great-they did find you something but now they are just as fussy about experience and/or skill sets as the company hiring. They want to be able to categorize very easily. You could do many of the jobs they have to offer but the same old story applies- without the key words/skills/certifications and or degrees you will be overlooked by the agencies as well.

    • jedifarfy says:

      Gee, that sounds great. Except, try finding a place that’s hiring. Found one? Nice, now take that minimum wage and multiply it by 10. That’s how much you’ll make in a week because payrolls are low this time of year and they can’t spare to spent more than that on new PT employees. Now take out 10-15% for taxes and live on it.

      The best she could do is maintain her lifestyle IN the hotel with the food she has. Retail places don’t hire you to be a manager unless you are already one at that time or can work for several months to a year on low minimum wage before they advance you, if they ever do.

      Retail does not equal livable wage. At all.

    • Conformist138 says:

      Yes and no. I’m trying to find a second job, just something parttime to boost my miserable income from my normal job, but the places hiring are being extra picky. I saw a small diner wanted a morning server a couple days a week. They wanted nothing less than 3 years waitressing experience. Say what? Some nothing of a diner wants someone for about 15 hours a week and they want someone who’s an old pro?

      So, yeah, even though I’m trustworthy, too many people have a lot of experience in those low-paying jobs. So, these “easy” jobs go to people who have been doing it for 10 years and people squeezed out of their previous industry have a harder time “breaking in” to an entry level position.

      Remember, different areas are hit at greater and lesser severity than others, and the size of the town/city you are in can also impact the possibility of finding a job. It’s not just “I’m a good person, someone will hire me”.

      Oh, and I make $9/hr and I cannot afford even my own studio apartment. I can barely find a shared place that I can afford. I don’t qualify for a dime of assistance, but can’t go to a doctor unless I stand in line with the homeless at a free clinic. I’m trying and not giving up, but it’s too easy to just tell her to take any random job. I doubt she would have turned down an offer if she had one.

      • Conformist138 says:

        From the article: “She has applied for everything from minimum-wage jobs to director positions. “

      • chucklesjh says:

        I usually don’t read individual comments or comment back on them, but you say you can barely live on $9/hr in a studio apartment? I live in a decently large apartment, and make $7.90/hr. I still have enough money to buy food and an occasional PS3 game.

        It sounds like you live in a much more expensive place than I do, stuff in Ohio’s pretty cheap.

        • Karita says:

          I have a client here in CT who just found a job at $8.50 an hour after 2 years of unemployment. There is no way he’s going to be able to survive on that income. It’s heartbreaking, because his full-time job for the past 2 years was to find a job – I’ve never seen someone work so hard to find employment. He FINALLY has one and it’s almost as bad as having no job at all. Minimum wage is worthless for many people.

    • kataisa says:

      Low-paying jobs like McDonald’s will barely cover her rent and nothing else. She’d have to work 2 or 3 jobs just to break even.

      I highly recommend reading Barbara Ehrenreich “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America”. People need real jobs that pays salaries you can live on, not part-time slave wages.

    • anyanka323 says:

      Most of the local fast food places don’t hire younger employees. Most of the employees at the McDs by the office are older in their 30s or 40s. Probably most fast food places think working around high school students’ labor restrictions and schedules and college students’ schedules are a pain. It’s easier to hire older workers with more availability and who they feel will be more grateful for a job. Plus, if they’ve worked blue collar/minimum wage jobs and have a basic high school education, they might be more maleable and easier to take advantage of than their teen and early 20something counterparts.

  4. c!tizen says:

    I would feel sympathy for her, but in case you guys didn’t notice “NYC Wants A Grocery Store, Goldman Sachs Wants A Glorious Ballroom”. How can I feel anything for this poor woman when all of my sadness is currently focused on all of those poor souls at GS who may have to deal with a … community grocery store. (I threw up a little in mouth just thinking of this injustice)

    In all seriousness, it’s infuriating to think that most of the people responsible for this melt-down are somewhere enjoying their wealth while people like this are microwaving ramen noodles in a motel paid for by their friends.

    • tbax929 says:

      I agree that it’s infuriating. But it’s always been this way. There have always been people living hand to mouth. I just think nobody cares until it starts to affect people who resemble themselves. It’s easier to look at a homeless person and think they must have done something to bring about their circumstances. It’s harder to see someone who at one point seemed to have it all and lost everything.

      • dolemite says:

        Yes, there have always been people like this, but not to the stunning degree it is now. All because of the financial meltdown caused by reckless people in the finance industry. Those same people are throwing tantruns over finance reform, but not many of them have lost their jobs or suffered any hardship, because we bailed them out with tax dollars. And studies show they are buckling down and saving while reporting record breaking profits, while the same people that bailed them out need jobs.

  5. Torgonius wants an edit button says:

    I was in a similar bind at the end of 2001.

    Of course, I avoided having to eat ramen from a bucket by going out and getting a day job in a convenience store and a night job sticking shelves at a supermarket. The two jobs didn’t come close to replacing the salary I made before my company went under, but it kept me in a cheap apartment, kept gas in my car, and kept food going down my cake hole.

    Don’t tell me there are no jobs. I see dozens of help wanted signs every day. There are just no jobs that you are willing to do rather than leech off everyone else.

    • pax says:

      RTFA. “Last year she moved to Brentwood, Tenn., south of Nashville, in search of work. After initially trying to finish her M.B.A. program remotely, she dropped out because of the stress from her sinking finances. She has applied for everything from minimum-wage jobs to director positions.”

    • badachie says:

      Did you read the article? She has applied to fast-food jobs, but they won’t hire a 45 year-old grossly over-qualified woman. Someone younger and stupider makes much more sense to them.

      • Orv says:

        And the worst part is, when she goes to get a job in her chosen field in the future, they’ll probably turn her down because of her poor credit score.

        • pot_roast says:

          “they’ll probably turn her down because of her poor credit score.”

          Sad but unfortunately very true. Even if she comes into a pile of cash and pays everything off tomorrow, it will take a few years before her stupid FICO score recovers.

    • aloria says:

      Fast food places and the like are usually wary to hire someone who will likely split the moment a job in their field opens up.

    • myCatCracksMeUp says:

      There are a lot of places where there are no low-paying jobs unless have an in – as in being a friend or relative of someone already working there.

    • brinks says:

      I’m a 12-year retail manager who can’t even get a job as a peon salesperson or at a supermarket. Hiring managers are not interested in someone who is overqualified. As a former hiring manager myself, I can guarantee you that it’s true. Sometimes you get lucky, but most of the time these applications are tossed aside in favor of someone less qualified.

      • APriusAndAGrill says:

        I had the same experience… I have 6 yrs retail management and wanted a change. No one would even look at me. Finally I stopped putting the words manager and bachelor degree on applications and got a AM position at staples.

      • u1itn0w2day says:

        I’ve seen this personally. They’re either afraid you’ll leave once you do find a job in your field or they assume you should have no trouble eventually finding a job in your field or that someone else would be so lucky to have a person with your resume. And in retail in particular many managers want people they assume to be hungry and/or they can box into the job since they apparently can’t find anything else. The logic doesn’t necessarily work if it did there would be no service complaints on this board.

    • paulthegeek says:

      “Don’t tell me there are no jobs. I see dozens of help wanted signs every day. There are just no jobs that you are willing to do rather than leech off everyone else.”

      hrumph*hrumph*hurmph …Back in MY day… hrumph*hrumph*hrumph …bootstraps… hrumph*hrumph*hurmph …Specious subjective thinking… hrumph*hrumph*hurmph …Complete lack of perspective… hrumph*hrumph*hurmph …Poor reading comprehension… hrumph*hrumph*hurmph

    • Bernardo says:

      Ok really aren’t we supposed to be reading this site and commenting on this site to help each other? Why do you feel the need to just spew venom and make yourself feel better? Yes its nice that back when you went through some financial hardship you were able to find the work to get by. But other people aren’t so lucky. And if you read the article before you just made a snide remark you would have understood that the person has tried.
      I know people going through this myself and its heart breaking. I myself have helped a few friends out who needed help with rent and whatever else I could have. Its not leeching if people know your trying and see you need help. In some areas yea there are help wanted signs everywhere but some employers are charging less knowing people are desperate. And others like what was mentioned by most of the people who commented don’t want someone who is overqualified.
      How about instead of being cold to people who are trying we try and help them. Maybe if you knew this person was in your area and was willing to work, to take any kind of work to make ends meet would you help them or would you just be angry at them for having to accept the help from the people who care.
      And speaking from experience, its harder to ask for help for a lot of people that to suffer alone.

    • Xay says:

      There are lots of places where they are no jobs. I am grateful to be employed and in a field where there are jobs because if I had to count on retail right now, I would be SOL.

      I’ve been trying to help my niece find a better job. She works retail right now but she can barely make enough to make ends meet because her hours have been steadily reduced over the summer. Her boss doesn’t want to pay full time benefits to anyone, so he splits what could be a 40 hr/week job between 2-3 people. The same thing is going on in the restaurant industry and other hourly wage fields because we are in an employer’s job market.

    • TouchMyMonkey says:

      And how old were you in 2001? OP is 45.

      • TouchMyMonkey says:

        And furthermore, we were still at full employment, more or less, in 2001. McDonald’s would take a 45 year old applicant because they had problems finding enough high school seniors to fill their positions. They wouldn’t like it, but they’d do it. Now they don’t have to, help wanted signs or not.

        And if you’re at all familiar with the industries that employ lots of low-wage labor, a common trick to keep them in line is to wave a large stack of applications in their faces at mandatory meetings. Just because they’re taking applications doesn’t mean they’re actually hiring.

    • Griking says:

      I sometimes feel the same way but then I consider that the job market in a small town in Tennessee may be a little different from the job market in Connecticut.

    • omg says:

      The fact that HELP WANTED signs may exist does not mean that a person walking in the door can actually get hired. In this economy employers can be, and often are, more picky about whom they hire.

      I am unskilled and have been out of work (last job was in a convenience store ) for two years and even McDonald’s doesn’t want me. Ever notice that you don’t see older people flipping burgers?

    • anyanka323 says:

      I moved from Michigan early this year where I was working in retail with a BA and some graduate coursework. In all of 2009, I had two places call me for interviews for positions that were either full time or part time with benefits in the local area.

      The job market was just awful and employers could be chosy about who they hired. Most people regardless of their age and education settled for whatever they could find. My 2009 income was down from my 2008 income by about ten percent because of hour cuts. The only time I got over 30 hours was in the summer. If we complained about our reduced hours, my jackass manager threatened to replace us with someone who would be more “grateful” for the 24 hours a week that I and others were getting. I had been so close to getting full time hours and status but the recession hit in full force. I know it’s worse now there based on what co-workers have told me. Even the full time people are feeling the cuts, which didn’t happen last year. The part timers took the cuts while the full timers and management kept their hours and benefits.

      I’m in South Dakota now and there are jobs available. It seems like local employers have trouble finding motivated and competent individuals for most positions ranging from retail to factory work. If you can pass a drug test, have a minimal or no criminal record, have some experience, and practice basic personal hygeine, then you have no problems finding a job.

  6. NarcolepticGirl says:

    Yep. Luckily I have a massive Irish-Catholic and Mexican family, So all of our family members who would otherwise be homeless, always have places to stay.

    It’s unfortunate in times like this, that the people who are paying her motel rent aren’t offering her a place to stay.

    When an address is required for online applications, She could either give the address where she resides. The motel, a shelter, a relative’s address, a friend’s address, whatever. it’s not some legal document… it’s an application.

    I’m wondering if she is living in rural Tennessee – there are pretty much zero jobs in the town I was living in. We had to sell everything from guitars, books, dvds and clothing. We had to borrow money from family members. There were times where we didn’t have anything to eat except for rice for weeks at a time. We ended up getting jobs about 50 miles away in the city.
    Miraculously, I ended up with an employer who has benefited from the American Recovery Act despite my “not knowing anyone on the inside”.

    My boyfriend settled for about half the salary he was making at a job he hates.
    But now we can eat proper food.

    • ekthesi says:

      The article (somewhat confusingly) noted she was currently living out of a motel in Brattleboro, Vt., where the job market is only slightly better than rural Tennessee. (I say this from experience)

    • Blueberry Scone says:

      “It’s unfortunate in times like this, that the people who are paying her motel rent aren’t offering her a place to stay. “

      In all fairness, we don’t know what *their* situation is. Maybe the friends have already taken in other family members and friends, and really cannot afford to have one more person living under their roof. (Although, I do want to know why this woman’s sons can’t take her in…)

      • AnonymousCoward says:

        The author of the article said in the comments section that one son is in Venezuela, another son is also unemployed and living in a tent, and the third son has been estranged for many years.

        • Blueberry Scone says:

          Ah, ok, thanks. I read the article, but I didn’t get to the comments (they just about broke my heart).

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      “Yep. Luckily I have a massive Irish-Catholic and Mexican family, So all of our family members who would otherwise be homeless, always have places to stay.”

      You hit on something exactly correct that in this country, we’ve basically destroyed the family fabric to the extent that when we are in trouble, we have no one to help us. For large families like yours, it is becoming rarer in this country to be able to have family help. My ex’s family in Europe is such a family and most Europeans and Asians always have a family to help back them up. Not so in this country anymore.

      Our misguided approach to “hear me roar, we’re independant” has come back to bite us big time and has evolved into the family fabric to where our families are broken. Everyone in this country just has to be independant no matter what to the extent of sacrificing family.

      My ex used to love coming back to the states after a vacation with her family. I always told her she doesn’t know how lucky that she is to have them because they were always there when she needed them, no matter when. If she ever lost her job, she’d have a place to live and food to eat. Me? I’d be where the girl in this article is.

      • Verdant Pine Trees says:

        A lot of us with splintered families have forged family-like connections with our friends, precisely because of this lack.

  7. Chumas says:

    Thats it.
    Frak this mess.
    I’m bring a pitchfork and a 3 gallon can of diesel. Lets go roast us some Sachs weenies.

  8. sagodjur says:

    She should just get a credit card and pay off the balance every month and then reap the benefits of the reward points like I do!


  9. Thyme for an edit button says:


    I liked this comment on the article:

    “I guarantee – I absolutely 100% guarantee – that the haters will flood this thread with their vacuous comments and “she should haves” without reading the article.

    They will say “she should have upgraded her skills.”

    The article says she had gone back to school and gotten her BA in 2003 while working full-time.

    The article says she was working on an MBA but couldn’t afford to finish it after losing her job. (And no, student loans are a lousy option because she already has a huge amount that will be very difficult to pay back before retirement. And no, grants do not go to older adults for grad school. And no, Pell grants do not go to grad students.)

    They will say “her kids should support her.’

    The article says none of her three adult sons are in a position to help her. (And no, there is no law that makes adult children support their parents.)

    They will say “She can go on welfare”

    The article says (correctly) that welfare is not an option, because she does not have young children

    They will say “she can go live in public housing or a homeless shelter.

    The article says she contacted a local shelter but learned there was a waiting list. (And in fact the wait lists for subsidized housing are years long and closed to new applicants in virtually every state.)

    They will say “she should have had enough money saved to live on for at least 1 year”

    The article says she made $56,000 a year and has $92,000 in student loans. Granted she may have taken a package vacation or two to Mexico or other places but those are only a few hundred dollars. The real question is who, but a complete loon and nasty selfish individual, would think that anyone could say 1 -2 or more years living expenses out of a $56,000 in the 5 years (’03-08) where she made that much??!! Any saving she had pre-’03 would have went to getting that degree.

    They will say “she should have started her own business.” While the article doesn’t address this, before bablling vacuous advice, consider:

    (1) 50% of small businesses fail in 2-3 years and 70 % fail in 5 years; and

    (2) more importantly it TAKES MONEY TO START any kind of business or self-employment. And when you are unemployed, money is the last thing that you have.

    They will say “she should have done this”, “she should have done that” “she should have cut back on the food – look at her weight” — and they will even say “she should get rid of the cat” who is her only companion and whose food only costs $5 or so a month.”

    They will say all these things out of spite, vindictiveness and fear that if they admit it could happen to someone who did everything she should (more education, move for jobs etc), it could happen to them.

    In fact, the group with the longest average length of unemployment ARE the over-45s with a BA or higher.

    In fact, the percentage of the long-term unemployed who are over-45 with a BA or up is 42% higher than their numbers among the workforce or all unemployed.

    They didn’t get “out-dated’ on their skills just because they are 49 instead of 42. They didn’t become less educated just because they are 49 instead of 40. Their fault is in being over 40 or 45 years of age.

    They are not turning down work because it is ‘beneath them’ or no applying for any job that would give them some money. They are hearing from employers “over-qualified”, “not a good fit”, or any of the other excuses used to cover the fact that

    (a) employers do not want workers over 40 or 45 years of age if they can get a younger; and

    (b) employers will not hire the person with a lot more education for jobs that require only a high school or associates degree because they figure that person will be gone the minute they find something that is more commensurate with their education.

    And for all those who will post the comments about “she should have done a, b,c or whatever’, well, you have a reason to be afraid and blame the victim to mask your reaf and pretend it can’t happen to you. It can happen to you simply because no matter what you do, no matter how many degrees or certificates you get, you can NOT stop the fact that one day you too will be over-45. And when you are over-45, you are at higher risk of losing your job during a cutback than a younger worker, and once you are out, you are out forever.”

    • pax says:

      AMEN. THANK YOU for calling attention to the fact that MANY people have “done everything right” and still find themselves unemployed. IT HAPPENS, and those people deserve help and understanding.

      • AnonymousCoward says:

        Agreed. Most similar articles we read are about people who’ve gotten where they are by screwing up in some major way, and it’s hard to feel sorry for them. But this woman may not have done *everything* right, but she’s done a lot more right than she’s done wrong, yet here she is. I do feel bad for her, and I don’t know what the solution is.

    • BettyCrocker says:

      Great post.

    • milrtime83 says:

      “Granted she may have taken a package vacation or two to Mexico or other places but those are only a few hundred dollars.”

      I doubt a few hundred dollars would even get you a flight to either of those places and back let alone an actual vacation.

      • ExtraCelestial says:

        Well then you are not a very good shopper. (I say this as someone leaving from DC, I’m not in a border state)

    • smo0 says:

      Agreed…. not to go on the “she should have’s” but my suggestion that she expand her searches to all 50 states…. I have a wide network of friends across the country.. and, in the past, I’ve moved to a new place for a job… so… hope it works out for her!

      • MrEvil says:

        I had to move too. At least out of my city. Relocated from Amarillo to Austin to hunt for work within a month of relocating I found an awesome job. I stayed with a friend until this weekend when I moved into my own place.

    • ConsumerPop says:

      Best comment on an article ever?

    • pantheonoutcast says:

      That’s really a great post. You should reproduce it on the many sites which are highlighting the plight of the (formerly) middle-class, middle-aged American citizen. All great revolutions are economic in nature, and it’s high time for one in this country.

      (Except the part about the $92,000 in student loans. There’s no excuse for spending that kind of money on undergraduate school. And with a $56,000 a year job, she’d be dead before she’d be able to pay it off. Sorry, but it’s true).

      • sonneillon says:

        luckily there is a program where after 30 years (10 in public sector) if your loans are not re-payed they are discharged.

        • pantheonoutcast says:

          What program is that? Bankruptcy? Death?

          • Thyme for an edit button says:

            It’s the Income Based Repayment (IBR) Program. After 25 years of payments under IBR, any left over debt is forgiven.

            The 10 year thing is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. It can occur in conjunction with IBR, but after 10 years of “qualifying” employment and payments, any leftover debt is forgiven.

            Loans MUST be owned by the federal government to qualify.

            • HogwartsProfessor says:

              Thanks. As a 45-year old who makes way less than this woman did, I’m going to look into that. I don’t have $92,000 in loans but it will still take me until death to pay them off unless I hit the bestseller list or the Publishers Clearinghouse man knocks on my door. At this rate, I’m thinking the only fateful knock I get will be the Grim Reaper.

              • Thyme for an edit button says:

                If you are in qualifying public service work then qualifying payments could go back to 2007 since that is when the College Cost Reduction and Access Act passed, which created Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

                • Thyme for an edit button says:

                  Check out the “Equal Justice Works” web site for info. The site is geared toward people entering the legal profession, but the info is really generally applicable to anyone and is fantastic. They may even have some webinars about it available.

                  • MagicJewball says:

                    Seriously, so many people have no idea about IBR. I didn’t even know until Arne Duncan (the sec’y of education) spoke at my school and happened to mention it; suddenly, everyone was taking notes.

                    Consumerist should do a PSA about IBR. #tips

        • slyabney says:

          Seriously I have massive amounts of loans and haven’t heard of this and I’m 1/2 way to this mark.

    • blogger X says:

      +1 million.

    • zibby says:

      I wanna know where you buy cat food – that could be a Consumerist article right there…

    • MeCatLikesMeHamSanwich says:

      Sorry, but I disagree with your idea that it takes money to make money when you start a business. I am a self proclaimed IT pro who started my career by using my library card taking out an A+ Comptia Exam book and studying the heck out of it. I then printed out some fliers offering my services to people leaving BestBuy, CompUSA, and MicroCenter or by sticking the flyers on windshields (yes, I hate it when they do it to me too) but it got me a few jobs. That money I made I paid for my gas, insurance and saved the rest for a 1″ x 1″ ad in the Thrifty Nickel. That brought in a bit more money which I again reinvested in more advertising. To make a long story short. Everybit I made that was not absolutely essential I saved and reinvested. Yes, it took me about 2 years before I could buy full page ad’s in Yellow Book. But, doing so created a substantial customer base that I can live off now.

      Too often people will make these mistakes in starting a business:
      1) Start spending their money that they earn on trivial things that can wait (vacations, new car, bling, etc). I am not saying don’t treat yourself everyonce in a while but maintain proper perspective.
      2) They take out a loan (SBA or otherwise). This is really bad joojoo. Why pay interest and spend money on things that may not produce (and you still may owe if it fails)? You are going to make mistakes. That’s the nature of doing business.
      3) Don’t get a brick and mortar store until you are absolutely ready. Most clients don’t really care where their computers get fixed if you need to take it in for something (my experience). The cost for a Brick and mortar store is astronomical and is the quickest way for you to go under.
      4) Hiring employees – all accountants and business owners will tell you that employees are their most expensive assets. If you can swing running your business by yourself then do it. Mind you that you will invest a lot of time. It is common for me to work 16 – 18 hour days sometimes.

      What you should do:
      1) Reinvest in yourself. In my case any extra money that didn’t have to go somewhere I used for training, books, workshops (MCSE/ MCITP training materials, exam fee’s, etc).
      2) Take a second job, even if it pays nothing such as a Summer internship. This will open the door for future employment for that same company (potentially), many companies provide free training even for interns which can be applied to your own business.
      3) Barter – I used this like a mad man for a couple of years and on a case by case basis I still do. I bartered with for my cars wrap, accountants, lawyers, barber, whatever. There are a lot of other small business owners out there that will jump at the opportunity.

      Granted, my career path has some opportunities with what I listed. But, this wasn’t my original career path either. I was an 0369 Staff Sergeant with our beloved Marine Corps of 8 years prior to switching fields (a very drastic change if you ask me). So anybody can do it.


      • RvLeshrac says:

        You “were” a Marine? So you’re not a Marine now?

        Then you were never a Marine.

      • jurupa says:

        And yet you proved your own point wrong that it doesn’t take money to make money. You took money to invest in your self and your start up to make more money. How is that not using money to make money?

    • Outrun1986 says:

      Wow, thanks for this. I don’t know anyone in life who is perfect and who has done everything right. I don’t think anyone is. You can say don’t spend on this, don’t spend on this, but if you have the money at the time why not, the economy wouldn’t be going everywhere if people were working and just spent enough for very bare necessities such as food? Even if you have emergency expenses saved up they do run out. Even if your life is perfect, you can get thrown a curveball if you lose your job, like everyone else says, it happens.

      If she lives in NY, she can apply for a free cell phone from I am sure there are other states that have this program as well.

      Retail isn’t hiring period here, like I said in another article I haven’t seen a hiring sign in at least 3 years here at a retailer, probably longer. Its not like it used to be when you could pretty much get a job at a retailer or a fast food place should hard times hit you and if you got desperate, now you can’t get those jobs, and there is more competition ever for those jobs so they are screening applicants more severely and only hiring who they want to if the place is even hiring at all.

    • Marshmelly says:

      “(And no, there is no law that makes adult children support their parents.)”

      No, but its basic human decency…and if there was ever a situation where a child (or even a friend) was able to support a parent or friend who is destitute and trying to get by day by day, then they’d be a huge jerk not to do that. Of course, in this woman’s situation, her son seems to be just as poor as she is…so its understandable.

      Agreed with your points though.

      • Blueberry Scone says:

        I am blessed to have a great relationship with my parents. If they were in this woman’s shoes, I’d let them live with me, and I wouldn’t even think twice about it. Ditto for my husband’s dad.

        Unfortunately, there are folks who would not do that for their parents for a lot of reasons. I have a friend who no longer speaks to her mom (and for good reason, belive me). Hell would *freeze* before my friend took in her mom.

    • myCatCracksMeUp says:

      Without even first reading the other comments to you post, let me take the time to say “THANK YOU”!!!!

      Your post is so very well written and so extremely sensible, that anyone lame enough to begin the “she should have done….” are truly showing their extreme ignorance and arrogance.

      So again, I thak you for writing your comment.

      Signed: (an over 50, educated, professional, making very good money (and saving lots of money)) who is intelligent enough to know that what you say is true.

    • Thyme for an edit button says:

      Just want to reiterate that this is from the comments in the original article. I liked and agreed with it, which is why I posted it here, but I take no credit for writing it.

    • hmburgers says:

      “Granted she may have taken a package vacation or two to Mexico or other places but those are only a few hundred dollars”

      Please let me know where I can get a Mexican vacation for “a few hundred dollars” that does not involve timeshare or me on the receiving end of midget porn video production…

    • watchwhathappens says:

      Thank you for saying this. The haughtiness of a lot of people who make the assumptions you’ve laid out is just salt in the wound. I suppose it makes them feel better, but in the end, it’s misinformed and mean. No, welfare is not an option unless you have children you can’t afford. Then there are a lot of services available to you. I’m in a similar (not quite as dire, but fairly bad) situation right now. I’m 44, degree’d, tons of skills (including a lot of technical skills), entrepreneurial, interact with a lot of people younger than me for my (substantial) volunteer job and various other things (aka not out of touch). I’ve been going from interview to interview, only to be turned down when I do get the interview. Last week, went into an interview for a job that was absolutely perfect for me, would utilize my very skill set/s, and we had a good rapport. Didn’t pay fantastically and was part time, but I would HAPPILY have taken it. Left talking about what a good fit it seemed, etc. Heard later that day they would not be hiring me. When asked why, I was met with silence. The ONLY thing I can think was that they met me and decided to discriminate based on age. But ultimately, I will never know. I only know that I’m throwing resumes into the world at a very high rate, and not getting work. Not sure what comes next…

      • jurupa says:

        Does being not employed for 99 weeks suck? I have no doubt it does. But what was this woman doing in that time? Did she go to any temp agencies? Was she apply for job every day? Did she even get any interviews in that time? The article is a bit lacking in details here.

      • jurupa says:

        Does being not employed for 99 weeks suck? I have no doubt it does. But what was this woman doing in that time? Did she go to any temp agencies? Was she apply for job every day? Did she even get any interviews in that time? The article is a bit lacking in details here.

        • ExtraCelestial says:

          Temp agencies are also overloaded. Most are not accepting new applications and the very few that are, you have to have a super stellar resume just to get a foot in. They have a lot of very qualified people, and not enough jobs to put them in. They have to pay out benefits, so they can’t afford to just collect applicants and not get paid in return.

          I have no doubt that she has done everything that she can. People don’t choose to eat ramen noodles out of an ice bucket

    • Pax says:

      >> The article says (correctly) that welfare
      >> is not an option, because she does not
      >> have young children.”

      Also, most State’s Welfare programs are limited to the Elderly and the Disabled, and “mere” inability to find a job, is not a disability. Not in THEIR eyes, anyway.

      >> (And in fact the wait lists for subsidized
      >> housing are years long and closed to new
      >> applicants in virtually every state.)

      I would like to back this up with some first-hand corroboration. I and my partner live in public housing, right now. We were on the waiting list together for SIX YEARS before getting this apartment. And I was already on that waiting list alone for EIGHT years, before that. Yes, you read that right: it took fourteen years from the day I first applied, until the day I actually got this apartment.

      That was six years ago; the situation has certainly gotten WORSE, not better, in the intervening years. And even twenty years ago, when I applied … they didn’t _take_ applications from the “merely poor and unemployed”. You had to be Elderly, and/or Disabled, or they wouldn’t even hand you an application to LOOK AT, let alone fill out and submit.

    • omg says:

      I’m unskilled and can’t afford to go to school to get skills, so how would I upgrade my skills?

    • Forty2 says:

      Anyone commenting on her obesity needs to realize that cheap carby food makes you fat. If all you can afford is ramen, rice, etc cooked up in a microwave, then yeah, you’re going to get fat.

      All the haters in this thread have never been in her position. I’ve been there. STFU.

      • FredKlein says:

        Eating too many calories makes you fat.

        • Pax says:

          As does eating THE WRONG KIND OF CALORIES.

          1500 calories, only 300 of which are from fat? Good.

          1500 calories, 900 of which are from fat? Not so good.

          SAME total number of calories.

          • FredKlein says:

            And if I burn 1500 calories, it doesn’t matter where those calories came from- fat/carbs/protein.

            of course, there are other health problems with a too-high fat diet…

    • Doughbuy says:

      She should have gone for an engineering degree…

      No joke. After being laid off in December of 08, I found another decent paying job in just a few weeks…

    • runswithscissors says:

      Awesome post, whether you wrote it or not.

      The thing to realize too is that commenters here saying “she should have” are really saying “I would or will” so that they can feel safe that this will never happen to them.

      It is a defense mechanism. Read about something bad and then dismiss it with the faulty logic of “but if I don’t make any mistakes, that will never happen to me so I’m safe!”.

  10. pax says:

    My sister is also working on year 2 of unemployment: college-educated, has a little experience, has applied even for grocery store jobs. Still nothing.

    • dolemite says:

      See, the college education actually hurts in some instances, as they won’t hire you because they know you are qualified for something much better, and as soon as that comes along, you are out of there. Instead, they can hire a 17 year old that’ll hang around for 2 years until out of high school at least.

      • milrtime83 says:

        That’s why you need multiple resume’s. If you are applying for a job as a cashier at a grocery store, a degree in anything is mostly irrelevant and something you can probably leave off that resume.

        • wenhaver says:

          That might get you an interview, sure. And then you show up for the interview, and they can see you’re 45 and then you’re “not a good fit”. Getting in for an interview by having an short resume does not translate into getting hired.

          Ageism is illegal, yeah. But you can’t prove it in a lot of cases. And if it comes to light that you’re misrepresenting yourself by appearing underqualified, you’re not getting hired anyway as it smacks of dishonesty.

          • TouchMyMonkey says:

            So dress young. I might not help, but it couldn’t hurt.

            Men, lose the facial hair. It makes you look even older than you are. Bald? Get out the clippers and take it all off. Trust me on this – you’ll look better than if you tried the combover bit.

            Women – easy on the makeup. Too much, and you give yourself away. Have a professional do it, if you can swing that.

            And while I’m generally against dying one’s gray away out of principle, I’d do it if I thought I could pass myself off as 30 or 35.

            Finally, if I were applying for some bullshit retail job, you better believe it I’d lie about my age on the application. Sure, I was born in 1980…or something like that. What are they going to do, fire you? You wouldn’t have gotten the job if you didn’t lie, so why stand on principle? It’s just silly.

    • kellkell says:

      Maybe this is just a stupid question but if having higher education on a application is a problem, how about you leave the higher ed off? If you need a job to eat then perhaps you should just omit the obstacle from the application. In the past I have omitted jobs or experience either on accident or because I didn’t think it would matter for the job I as applying for.
      I realize that this wouldn’t necessarily get them the job but it would remove an obstacle.

      • Me - now with more humidity says:

        Then they run a background check and find out you lied by omission, start wondering what else you lied about, and don’t even call you.

        • kellkell says:

          Then what’s the difference? They run a background check and find you lied so they don’t call or they see your history and don’t call. I have a cousin that is a manager at an Arbys and they don’t do background checks for their cashiers so I wouldn’t worry about it either way. At least omission gets you a possible chance. After 99 weeks I would say it’s time to try a different approach.

  11. Chumas says:

    You may see all of those signs, but there a a bunch of us who are all going for those jobs. What’re we supposed to do? Off the other people applying for the job? Wake up and smell the vomit, smart guy.
    There may be jobs out there but when you have 10 people going for the same job, 9 of those people are going to get fucked without a kiss in the cheek!

  12. You Can Call Me Al(isa) says:

    If all she currently has is a car, it might be possible to search for jobs anywhere and everywhere. She really has no ties to the place she is currently in. So, move again, maybe?

    • AnonymousCoward says:

      If you rtfa, she just did move.

      • You Can Call Me Al(isa) says:

        If you read my full comment I said “move again.”

        • leastcmplicated says:

          and where is she going to get gas money to keep moving from place to place. not to mention $$ for things like changing the oil in her car, what if her car breaks down, let alone keeping herself alive by eating and keeping herself presentable for any interviews.

          • NarcolepticGirl says:

            I did it.

          • NarcolepticGirl says:

            “let alone keeping herself alive by eating and keeping herself presentable for any interviews.”

            How is she going to do that now?

            She could live cheap near a large city but not have to live in it (although, I always lived pretty cheap in Boston – more so than I have in Florida and Tennessee because I didn’t use a car). I had friends that lived really cheap out in the suburbs of MA and took the commuter to work, so that would be an option, too.

            Springfield is only about an hour south, maybe she’ll find something there.

    • Chaosium says:

      “If all she currently has is a car, it might be possible to search for jobs anywhere and everywhere. “

      It costs money to reestablish yourself. Your privilege is showing.

  13. NarcolepticGirl says:

    I think the problem is that she’s moving to small towns in search for jobs.
    If she’s willing to stay in shelters, why not find one in a larger town or a city and then look for employment?

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I finally did cave and read the article. It’s not as depressing as I thought it would be, mainly because I asked the same question you did: Why is she in small towns? Large cities would have much more opportunity.

    • dolemite says:

      Probably because cities cost a fortune. There might be more jobs, but if your expenses are 3x higher in a city, and you still can’t find a job, you are really screwed. Or even if you do find a minimum wage job, what good is it if your apartment is $2,500 a month?

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        But she’s willing to live in shelters, and she’s already living in a motel. If she moved to a city with a good transportation system, she could sell the car and just use public transportation or buy a used bicycle.

        • Chaosium says:

          “If she moved to a city with a good transportation system, she could sell the car and just use public transportation or buy a used bicycle.”

          It’s not always possible to find a job that close, and that doesn’t mind you coming in smelling like sweat, or that will let you change into different clothes. Cities with good transportation systems are expensive, generally.

          • NarcolepticGirl says:

            It’s probably better to go looking for a job in a larger city than in the middle of nowhere – is the point.

          • pecan 3.14159265 says:

            You mean the thousands of people who live in cities and commute by bicycle are somehow unable to manage?

        • NarcolepticGirl says:

          Yeah, that’s basically what I did. I lost my car in a fire and therefore couldn’t get to my job (no public transportation). I was unable to get a job near me in Florida.
          I had nothing tying me down, so I ended up moving back to Boston and sleeping on a friend’s porch until I became employed (took about a month). Then I took the subway/train/bus to work and back.
          You also don’t have to be rich to live in a city.

          • pot_roast says:

            “You also don’t have to be rich to live in a city.”

            But it helps if you know someone, like you did… this person might not be in such a position. And with gas prices going up AGAIN, it’s going to be harder for her to move around a lot.

        • Sir Winston Thriller says:

          Yes, and if she moved to the country, she could hunt and trap and live off the land.

  14. montusama says:

    This is sad. I’m sure she is trying very hard to find a job to get back into a “normal” life.

    On a personal note, you can also try to apply almost anywhere, be uncomfortable about a job you taken because under unemployment you have to accept a job offer. It doesn’t work and be denied benefits. (Of course that’s not the full story and shouldn’t have applied to telemarketing in the first place)

  15. Cicadymn says:

    Summer of Recovery consumerist. Summer of Recovery.

  16. zibby says:

    Can’t we just make unemployment benefits indefinite? What would the downside be? We can just print the money, I know a dollar doesn’t cost a dollar’s worth of paper and ink to make, so that’s pure profit. The government is so dumb.

    • Bob Lu says:

      I am not sure if you are trying to be sarcastic?

      I hope not because I believe the government is considering this (printing more money I mean). Actually, the government is worrying about not printing money fast enough.

      Your debt don’t go up with inflation. Imagine what if a gallon of milk cost $100000 dollars? If you had some money in your hand it sucks. But if you are under water? Pay the bank two gallons of milk and you mortgage is gone.

      Currently the whole US is in huge debt. An aggressive inflation will save billions of money and f*ck China (who is holding a huge amount of will-be-garbage US bonds) hard.

    • aloria says:
    • dcamsam says:

      The government could extend unemployment; it simply hasn’t. Why? Because the conservative minority in the Senate – every Republican and a few Democrats – have either filibustered or threatened to filibuster any such extension.

      And the reason that minority has gotten its way is because a majority of the Senate – every Republican and still more Democrats – believes that the privileges of the Senate are more important than the dignity of the unemployed.

      • jurupa says:

        And how much into the red you want to go? Beside that little detail, what would be peoples incentive to get off unemployment if its infinite? But if we made unemployment infinite might as well put those people that are on it on normal welfare then and call it day and let more people be a drain on already stressed out system.

        • dcamsam says:

          Whatever. The very conservatives who claim to oppose an unemployment extension because it would increase the deficit nevertheless support the extension of Bush’s deficit-financed tax cuts, even for the richest 5% of Americans. So the question isn’t whether there will be more debt but whether that money will go to the wealthy or to people like this woman. Since that is the real choice, I prefer the latter.

          That said, if we really did live in the teabagger fantasy world, and the question was whether the government should spend – even go into debt – during a recession, the answer is yes, it should. The government should generate deficits during a recession and surpluses during an expansion. Any economist worth their degree will tell you that.

          “what would be peoples incentive to get off unemployment”

          Unemployment is nothing; it provides a subsistence, if that. The notion that it provides a disincentive to work is yet another teabagger fantasy.

  17. Bob Lu says:

    Just curious, is living in a motel usually cheaper than renting a bedroom?

    • Bob Lu says:

      Sorry. Don’t mind me. I didn’t read the linked news when asking this.

      OK OK I will try to always read the link first in the future!

    • AnonymousCoward says:

      Someone renting a bedroom will usually want the first month’s rent up front, and some assurance that there’s an income stream to pay for future months. This woman doesn’t have the first month’s rent, much less any steady income. So she’s stuck with places that rent by the day or week.

    • Torgonius wants an edit button says:

      I was able to stay in a hotel that cost $199 a week, which translated into $800 per month.
      Crappy apartments started around $1k in the area. After 2 months, I found a roommate and we took a $1200 apartment for half each.

      Of course, then I lost the free porn channel the hotel had.

    • Blueberry Scone says:

      In terms of upfront liquidity, yes.

      As mentioned above, someone who is renting out an apartment probably wants the first and last month’s rent, and perhaps a security deposit. If you only have $200 upfront, you don’t have enough to cover two months + deposit, so you stay in the hotel.

      • omg says:

        For privileged readers not used to poverty, note that the above is just one example of the many diseconomies of being poor.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      in addition to the info from the previous posters, hotels include water and power and often internet. roommates generally want a share of the bills on those

  18. Hi_Hello says:

    mess up kids. the article didn’t explain why her adult kids can’t help her out. How much does it take to have your mom sleep on the couch? or even on the floor in the living… or even in the same bedroom. hell, or even in the tub.

    are they in prison or something??

    as for friends… same goes for the friends but not as bad since they are just friends and probably have their own family to deal with.

    anyway, worse case, be a bum and ask for money, come up with some good stories. I heard bums make some good money. Or do what the mexican does, work under the table.

    As for over qaulify, you don’t need to less all your work experience. Just submit a resume that deal with the job. It will be a small resume. I hear stories about engineers becoming a pizza delivery guy. Some delivery place don’t pay the drivers, the earn their money through tip. Doesn’t cost the business any money, and the driver get paid.

    • Thyme for an edit button says:

      One of her sons is out of the country. One is unemployed and living in a tent. The third is estranged and has been for many years.

    • AnonymousCoward says:

      The article author answered the question about the kids in the comments….Son #1 is in South America somewhere. Son #2 is also unemployed, and living in a tent. She’s been estranged from son #3 for many years. No help there….

    • Hi_Hello says:

      thanks for the info about the kids. I didn’t read the comments.

  19. menty666 says:

    It doesn’t help with the job situation, but a google voice number could forward it on to wherever she needs to.

  20. failurate says:

    Temp agencies. I have yet to meet a person who couldn’t find some sort of work via Manpower or Kelly Services or any of the other many many temp agencies. Yeah, no benefits and the jobs might be very short term, but work is work.

    • blogger X says:

      Although you personally don’t know me, I’ve tried temp agenices and I didn’t get a job through them; hell, I didn’t hear back from them! It was like I was sending my resumes into a black hole.

    • PunditGuy says:

      I tried that in 2001 after a long bout of unemployment, and they wouldn’t have me (even though I’d been a Kelly Temp years before). Too many people chasing too few positions, just like the regular work force.

      • Verdant Pine Trees says:

        Ditto, and I had worked a lot of temp positions prior to that, and was often offered permanent positions by the temp employer. After 2001, though – they didn’t want your resume or for you to come by and get a test. They want to pre-screen you by phone.

    • brinks says:

      You have to have good computer skills for any temp agency I’ve spoken with. I’m college-educated and learned the MS Office basics years ago, but I’ve forgotten lots of things and can’t type fast. I never needed this stuff in any job and now I’m having to teach myself all over again. I’ll catch up, but until then, the temp agencies aren’t interested in me.

  21. Torchwood says:

    And here I am enjoying a much-needed day off FROM work.

    What ever bothers me more is a recent story where businesses were basically telling recruitment agencies not to send anyone unless they were already employed. That prompted my response of, “Hey buddy, some of these folks who are unemployed was because it was NO FAULT of their own. The company they worked for either laid them off, or closed up entirely.”

    Lets add some more insult: Many businesses will skip over people who have been unemployed for over six months. Not good when, in September, 2008, the economy tanked and many businesses were running for cover to conserve cash. Most yanked all open positions and implemented a hiring freeze which lasted for months. And many discovered that they are doing just fine with smaller staffs, probably because the employees started chanting, “More work, same pay, no bonus, no raise. Thank goodness I have a job.” Some were even so fearful that they would rather let their vacation/PTO cap out rather than take time off work and be seen as a target for the next wave of layoffs.

    So, what is happening now? Companies are reporting profits because of all the cost cutting, and are still hesitating to hire people.

    • AnonymousCoward says:

      I think it was just yesterday that I read an article (I think also in the NYT) that said that companies are getting rich off of this recession, because they cut way more staff than business conditions should have warranted, and even though business is picking up, they’re still not hiring.

      So our rich overlords are getting richer, and workers over 45, like this woman, are suffering.

  22. swarrior216 says:

    I feel her pain. I’ve been out of a job since August of last year. I’ve applied at so many places and still got nothing. I even applied at Mc. Donald’s and told them I’ll take whatever they had available. I had an interview with them. They didn’t hire me but instead they hired a 16 year old kid and I’m 30. I even tried to apply at the sheriff’s office but they are on a freeze. I also applied for a garbage man and the water utilities plant and still nothing.

    • brinks says:

      I hear ya. Been out of work for a few months myself, my boyfriend’s been out for a year and a half, and a good friend finally got his first interview after a YEAR. Doesn’t matter if you’re over- or underqualified. People just don’t call back.

    • Jedana says:

      I’ve been out of work since March of 09. My husband has been out since May of 09. If it wasn’t for his disability, we’d be in serious trouble.
      Neither one of us can get a job anywhere here, even McD’s or Walmart. They opened up a Wmart up the road from us last year; the first day they opened up for applications, they received 10,000 applicants, for 1,000 jobs.

  23. golddog says:

    Meg, no fair posting this on the same day as the “What’s your most expensive hobby question”. Even though I didn’t need the reminder to know how fortunate I am, and sleep soundly knowing my socio-economic karma is in balance, I feel like a dick.

  24. verbatim613 says:

    Yeah! Let’s raise taxes even more, so companies can do even LESS job creation and hiring.

    • PunditGuy says:

      Explain to me again how raising personal income tax rates stops companies from hiring people. Also, explain away how having the lowest tax rates in half a century has led to our current state.

  25. brinks says:

    I lost my job that paid pretty well. I’ve been applying to jobs I’m overqualified for, but they won’t even talk to me because of what I was making. I know this is true because I was able to get through to a couple of hiring managers and they were honest with me.

    The worst part is that I used to be a hiring manager…and I did the SAME THING when I saw overqualified people. I just assumed they’d bolt as soon as they found something better. The sad thing is, now I know first hand that there ISN’T anything better.

    I’ve only been on unemployment for a short time and I have a few interviews lined up. I’m hopeful, but this could EASILY be me in the future.

  26. chenry says:

    I find it hard to believe that her THREE adult sons are in no position to help. THREE of them can’t scrap something together to at least keep her cell phone from being shut off?

    • chenry says:

      nvm, i should read the comments before i run my mouth.

      • brinks says:

        I was wondering that myself until I read everything. Still, though…I was the best off out of my siblings, and then I lost my job. If something happened to my mom, I’d have a couch to offer her…but I couldn’t pay for her phone, and neither could her other kids. And who knows how long before I have to sell my couch?

  27. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    When unemployed from a higher income in nys, any income counts towards reducing your benefits. If I earn 1 dollar while unemployed, it counts as 1 day’s labor, which will reduce my benefits by 25%. 4 bucks over 4 days = no unemployment. Until you run out of benefits it is significantly better to spend your full time looking for work in your field or at a similar level of compensation than getting a cheap job. ESPECIALLY if you have a child involved. Daycare costs are a real killer.

  28. El_Fez says:

    This isn’t a “SHe should do this!” or me blaming her, but I know what I would do if I were in this position: wander the country!

    No, seriously. Ok, at 99 weeks and no money it’s probably a bit tough do to, but a year ago? I would have stripped my possessions to the bare minimum, thrown them in the back of my car and driven around the country. See the world, meet people, experience life – perhaps find a job along the way.

    I like my stuff way too much to do this, but if I ever lost it all, I would so hit the road!

  29. Sword_Chucks says:

    Ok, at somepoint, about 79 weeks ago, you have to say to your self, no job is below my current needs. Remember, its only temporary, your not stuck working in the food industry forever. Sign up for a staffing agency, you have to have some clerical/receptionist skills. You were in school for business, you cant be old enough to not hire. Join the military, theyre hiring, thats what Im doing. Except if your smart enough, you can get yourself into a decent job. Im going into the nuclear field. She has a college degree, shes already in as an E-3!

    As far as her concerns
    Get a google voice number, its free, check messages from the library internet, and a pay as you go cellphone. Schedule a meeting and borrow a friend/family’s landline or cellphone for interviews. As at the motel for use of the phone, maybe they’ll work with you.

    I don’t feel bad for her, at least she had a job out of graduation. Its only been an uphill fight for me right off.

    • failurate says:

      Pretty sure the military won’t take her. To old, too heavy.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Off Topic a bit, but can you forward the Google Voice to the prepaid phone? That way if she can’t get to the library she can still check messages. Is that possible? I don’t know anything about Google Voice.

      • evnmorlo says:

        Of course. You could even get away with no phone at all with Google sending all calls to voice- mail, but prepaid phones are pretty cheap.

  30. areaman says:

    The saddest thing about this is the people on this site who didn’t read the article, which states Ms. Jarrin applied for minimum wage jobs, and then post about how great they are because they worked a fast food job in the same situation.

    The next saddest thing is Ms. Jarrin has three adult children that are in no position to help her

    To add insult to injury, I think one of them posted on here to say his/her mom should get a job at McDonalds.

  31. thewriteguy says:

    Man I’m actually craving ramen noodles now.

  32. al says:

    I dont get it. Ive been working on getting a state job in CA for about a year. Had to go take a an entrance test and after that i must have gotten over 100 letters in the mail with job offers all over CA. Im currently waiting for a response to an interview right now. Its an entry level job and all you really need is basic office experience. How is it all these people are dying for jobs.

    • Xay says:

      Do you have any idea how many people applied for the job you are waiting to hear about? Just because you got an interview doesn’t mean that opportunity is there for everyone.

      I work in state government and we receive hundreds of applications for each open position. Out of those hundreds, 75-80 are qualified. From that point on, it is based on subjective criteria and the likelihood that we will be able to hire someone. I’ve seen applications from PhDs and MBAs applying for clerk and data entry positions that pay $19 – 22K per year.
      Federal government jobs receive hundreds of thousands of applicants per open position.

  33. Aphex242 says:

    Meanwhile the top 400 wealthiest families saw their personal wealth go from around 800 billion dollars to 1.3 trillion during the Bush years alone.

    Our country is fucked, and the November elections, if the early word is any indication, will only make it worse.

  34. EZ says:

    Sorry, but people ARE hiring. If this woman is anything like the one in the article that was posted on CNN a few months back, then this woman really doesnt deserve the tears. The woman on CNN was approaching the end of her unemployment benefits and was searching for some sort of managerial+ position.

    People… if you are unemployed, and you’re not able to get that CEO’s desk, suck it the heck up. Go to Mickey D’s, work at the Dress Barn, get a job at the food court. I know for a FACT that places like this are hiring.

    Downsize yourself.

    • Thyme for an edit button says:


    • areaman says:

      Downsize yourself.

      Was that a joke about Ms. Jarrin’s weight?

      Probably not, that would mean have have read the article.

    • El_Fez says:

      I know for an iron clad FACT that McJobs don’t want me. I’ve submitted my resume to dozens of just-barely-above-minimum-wage jobs that I am *VASTLY* overqualified for, and I never heard back from a one. Not a single McJob offer. Want someone to clean the toilets? Hell, I’ll do that in a hot second if there’s a steady paycheck in it.

      Now admittedly I wasn’t as bad off as her, I’m only out of a job for just over a year – but even McDonalds isn’t an option.

    • brinks says:

      McDonald’s and the local supermarket don’t want someone who has had a real job and is likely to leave. They want a kid with little to no experience or a housewife that just wants to kill some spare time…people who will work for minimum wage and have no complaints and are likely to stay on board for a few years. I lost my managerial job and can’t even get the damn supermarket or coffee shop to return my calls. As a former hiring manager, I can assure you that this is the case unless you get lucky.

      • u1itn0w2day says:

        Exactly, I’ve noticed alot of people in retail or customer service job tend to live pretty close as well some only a mile away. I’d venture to say once you hire someone over a few miles away or not near public transportation they’d might shy away from an adult who has to drive.

        They want the local who can make it in in a jiff without time or transportation issues.

  35. icntdrv says:

    I have had a friend in a similar situation. Even though wasn’t comfortable moving in with me, I let them use my address on applications, and set them up with a Google Voice number. GV was a godsend since she wasn’t able to otherwise maintain phone service, but she was able to forward calls to other phones, or send calls to a professional sounding voicemail box.

  36. hmburgers says:

    I’m so sick of the NY Times (and the papers owned by them) with these stories about the mean government that won’t help these poor destitute souls who are hard working, honest, yada yada…

    I suppose maybe she has INSANELY bad luck, but really? What do you think?

    A few choice quotes from the article:
    “She has applied for everything from minimum-wage jobs to director positions.”
    Honestly, she has been applying for and not found minimum wage jobs? I’ve seen signs at McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, Staples, etc all say hiring… so she can’t find a retail job anywhere?

    “The only help I’m going to get is from myself,” she said.
    I’m sure it’s not meant this way, but it seems like she’s giving the brush off to NINTY NINE weeks (nearly TWO YEARS) of unemployment, nope those weren’t help… how about that $200 your friend wired you?… Or the gas cards given to you by the church? Or what about the “several months” of free time you spent in your apartment that your landlord had to eat before your eviction while you weren’t paying? Or the free time you’re currently getting with the car you haven’t been paying for? Let’s not forget this one either: “And last Thursday, she got her first miracle, when an old friend from New York sent by overnight mail $300 in cash, enough for another week in purgatory”… exactly how much help is one person supposed to get? 2 years, hundreds in cash, months of living w/o paying, months of car w/o paying… I mean seriously?

    “She says none of her three adult sons are in a position to help her.”
    Granted, we don’t know their situations, but I’d be interested to know the back stories… are they destitute as well, or do they just not want to help ol’ mom out? I have a few relatives who I’d turn my back on as well, ok, maybe not my mom, but if I saw her pissing away opportunity only to then hold her hands out I might not want to deal with her either. I’m not saying that’s what’s happening, just putting it out there.

    She lost her job in March 2008, she lost her unemployment in March 2010. It’s now August 2010 and the story is talking about her living a motel after “several” months before an eviction… her car on the verge of repossession (so you figure at least 2+ months of missed payments)… We’re only 4 months out from her last check! So she pretty much shut the taps off right when the unemployment went out.

    So what we’re talking about is a person who was living completely paycheck to paycheck. She’s 49, apparently no retirement savings, no emergency fund, nothing. It’s very sad… but I get a tad irate when in the same story I see lines like this tossed in: “It is a sickening plummet, considering that she was earning $56,000 a year in her old job, enjoyed vacationing in places like Mexico and the Caribbean”

    You know what? I’ve never been to Mexico or the Caribbean… why? Because I’m financially responsible, I believe you make your own life and a “safety net” (mentioned in the article) is something you NEVER use. So I’m not going to spend money on a vacation when I don’t have a pot to piss in.

    Honestly, what is there to be done when you have situations like this? You can’t just keep handing people money, if you create a minimum that is comfortable you’ll develop an entire class of people willing to simply live on the minimum and the rest of society is forced to haul their baggage.

    • evnmorlo says:

      Sure she’s gotten a lot of help, but just enough help to keep you alive is justifiably easy to overlook. 2 years of unemployment will crush anyone no matter how financially responsible they are.
      Vast increases in productivity and out-souring of labor to the third world as well in-sourcing it through illegal migration will indeed lead to sizable unemployed class. It’s either some sort of welfare program or homelessness, criminal employment, incarceration, and death for millions.

  37. lawgirl502 says:

    My story outdoes that story easily……. I don’t have food stamps

  38. stottpie says:

    it’s true; it’s ridiculously hard out there. after graduating with a bachelor’s in math in early 2009, i spent about 4 months looking for “real” jobs, until finally giving up and searching for a mcjob. went to a mall nearby, and applied to no less than 20 different stores. absolutely no call backs. a little later, the manager at a Borders called me back and offered an interview for part-time. needless to say i accepted it and was very appreciative. a few months later i found a proper “real” job, but shit’s hard yo.

  39. the_Jenkins says:

    She should move to Dallas. We have a booming economy. Also, if she’s that desperate, why not just work at Wal-Mart or a fast food joint? They’re always hiring.

  40. quieterhue says:

    I feel like this article was incomplete. I would’ve liked more information about the group of 99ers as a whole — how many are there? where do they live? are most of them overqualified like Ms. Jarrin? It’s very sad to hear that someone with her qualifications can’t get a decent job, even in this economy. Hopefully that interview with the non-prof pans out.

  41. denros says:

    One thing I’d do immediately, if I were her: Get a google voice number, and immediately start using that.

  42. BryDawg says:

    Lots of comments mention that she’s ‘overqualified’ for a low-pay fast-food type job. If she’s ever granted an interview for one of those jobs and they state she’s overqualified, a great response is “oh, so you only want minimally or under qualified people for this organization. What does that say about you, working for this company if that’s the standard hiring practice?” Obviously, don’t be mean about it (your tone will say a lot), but when you put it in that perspective, it gives the hiring manager a lot to think about.

  43. AngryK9 says:

    The longest I have ever been unemployed (so far, thankfully) was 9 months. It sucked. I can’t imagine how bad it sucks being unemployed for 99 weeks and longer…Ugh!

  44. dougp26364 says:

    She still has a cell phone and is worried it will be cut off?

  45. khooray says:

    For anyone who has the ignorant “get a job at McDonalds” comments….
    A LOT of people have lost their cars or have no way to get to a job, gas and insurance costs a LOT of money too.
    I’m lucky enough to have a car, but I missed my payment last month because I had to pay ebay seller fees (extra money made to get by, but it costs money to sell!), and I had to buy groceries and buy flea meds for my cat.
    I have a daughter who just had a birthday on sunday, and I wasn’t able to buy her anything because I literally have NO extra money, I put a few dollars at a time in my gas tank, and I only drive if I absolutely HAVE to.
    I’ve been eating beans and rice for months.
    It’s not just an easy matter of going out and getting a job anywhere. I have a kid at home. Retail and food wants me to work nights and weekends. I don’t have anyone who can watch my daughter, and these jobs don’t pay enough for me to afford daycare…plus, there are no evening/weekend daycares around here.
    Tell me how to live on $7/hour with a kid.
    There are a LOT more things that are involved in life besides just saying someone’s too lazy to work. There are a lot of other circumstances that negate retail and/or food jobs.

    • bethied says:

      Ok, well THIS woman has NO dependants, and she does have a car. I know a woman, in her 50s, who shares a bedroom with her teenage daughter and she has to take the bus at least an hour each way, to get to her two jobs, one of which is at McDonalds.

      The economy sucks, but your situation is very different from this woman’s. I am traditionally not one to blame the victim, but 99 weeks? That is more than two years. I cannot and will not believe that this woman did everything in her power to get a job for two years and came up empty handed.

  46. plj says:

    Somewhere down in TN is a person who is out a few months rent, because of her they maybe in a bind as well.

  47. YdoUthinkURright says:

    This is sad…but I have to agree with one poster that commented that she should be working at any place she can. Go for any job…McD’s, 7-Eleven..whatever and at least cover the essentials. Places like that can’t wait to hire good people that actually work and can be trusted. I know that it’s a hard pill to swallow but making something happen from the ground up is better than nothing.

    99 weeks is a long time to not find any job to help get the ball rolling.

  48. SabreDC says:

    Yet, on, Brattleboro, VT, a town with the population of about a college football stadium, has 277 job postings for everything from customer service to housekeepers. Some of these jobs were posted 2 months ago and are still looking for people.

  49. tbail25 says:

    I would say you sometimes have to suck it up and go where the money is. I wanted a local job, but instead after six months of not working, I finally found a very steady well paying job. The catch? I drive 53 miles one way to work. It isn’t the best situation, but I’ll gladly deal with it to make double what I was earning in my city.

  50. u1itn0w2day says:

    This is sad, sounds like she just wants to work.

    Everything that seems to be happening to her I’ve seen or experienced including wasting time on education, the lack of respect for education, the lack of respect for not completing a 4 year degree right out of high school, have seen the sticker shock for education the first few years after graduating, have seen age discrimination, have seen the ‘overqualified’ for entry level jobs and have been tight highly competitive jobs markets/local economies.

    The education thing still bothers me. I have had jobs where my supervisors and local management had the unmitigated to not only question why the heck am I continuing my education but went out of their to impede with things like scheduling and policy.

    This point being NEVER let a senior employee or manager at your current place of employment lead you to believe that you will get a 30 year career,retirement,ranch,dog,white picket fence etc. At the sametime NEVER let a school lead you to believe or do things like take out hundreds of thousands of dollars under the premise ‘it’s for your future, you can pay it off when you make all that money etc’.

    The ” American Dream ” is not a reality or entitlement it is exactly what it says- a dream. Be happy have A place to sleep and food to eat. And anyone who preaches this should be treated as such- a dreamer.

  51. Extended-Warranty says:

    I’m sorry, but 99 weeks? The economy is tough and jobs are hard to find, there’s no denying either of those statements.

    I know so many people who just got new jobs. Sure this comparison doesn’t mean much, but there ARE open jobs. Some people just feel they are too good for certain positions. I’m sure she didn’t try hard enough.

    Having $92,000 in student debt from an undergrad business school says a lot about her business sense.

  52. Carlee says:

    My parents owned a business and eventually lost it. They both had to find jobs later in life (late 50s, early 60s). For my dad, it was a bit easier as he was an accountant before and was able to find a job without too much difficulty.

    For my mom, though, it was was tough. She didn’t have accounting skills, had to get job training to learn to use computer software like Word and Excel, plus is a woman and looks older (gray/white hair). Was able to find some temporary government jobs, and eventually was able find a permanent county job. It was really depressing for her – she would go to interviews and they wouldn’t result in anything. (I told her she didn’t have to work, because my dad, me and my sister all have full-time jobs and she could afford not to work, but she was convinced that there must be a job out there for her).

    I’d suggest for the OP to try the civil service/government job route. In smaller cities and towns, it tends to be limited, but if she could get near a larger metropolitan area – there can be a lot of opportunities. Also, there are sometimes seasonal government jobs (such as working for the county registrar office during an election year) and that type of stuff. Even if it’s just a part-time job, it’s still something. There are budget cuts and hiring freezes, but some (like Los Angeles county) still do some hiring.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      I’m a firm believer that education is a life long process if for no other reason you might need something you learn for a new job one day.

      I think part of the problem with continuing education besides money is that many non degreed courses carry a stigma as ‘oh you weren’t good enough for college’ and yet just a few courses out of your major or adult continuing education given just to teach and not for grades can be very usefull such as the Excel course. It also shows you are willing to learn and learn as an adult on a regular basis.

      I know someone who stopped going to college after they got their associates and spent all their spare time recreating as a white collar professional instead of taking college part-time for his BA, he’s suffering in this job market even with alot of experience. They didn’t even pick up an time quality management type course which many companies look for.

      If its course even at the local high school and you have the time and money never be afraid to take them. It could lead to something else one day.

  53. FrugalFreak says:

    it is sad, and sad to say a very similar thing is happening to my sister. Her mental illness caused her to have a severe panic episode last summer and resulted her getting fired from USPS. She had worked 11 years with a stellar record but because of the manic episode, she has lost custody of children, has been ordered to pay $1000 per month child support, lost her house to her ex husband, and any assets she had. It is so sad because she has always been the type to believe in hard work since she started working at 14. She currently has to live with ex hubby because she has no other choice, she is pretty much his slave and has to bow down to him or else she would be on the streets. He doesn’t understand her mental health issues and doesn’t care. She stayed with me awhile, but she went back to his house just so she could be with her kids. Where do you go when all you know how to do is deliver mail and work retail and retail won’t hardly even pay for the child support. She doesn’t deserve the situation she landed in.

  54. shufflemoomin says:

    She could find ANY paying job in 99 weeks? I’m sorry, but even in a harsh economic climate I find that hard to believe. Throw away any pride you have and take any paying job you can come across. It might not get you fully back on your feet, but it’s better than living off charity from friends.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      I must admit after almost 2 years not even a job at Walmart? Charity from friends? But on the other hand once you’re over 40 you do get discriminated against. And if she doesn’t look fit or has a lot of grey she’s even more screwed. Or doesn’t have the experience or education for a specific job you are done in a market like this.

      I’ve seen several other people sit on their unemployment in that they assume in time they’ll get a job in their desired field. Early on I can see this logic BUT after a certain point even with unemployment you have to get into the mindset I just need a job. What happens is that when you do start looking for A job or any job is that the potential employer assumes/thinks why the heck weren’t you looking for a job months ago- meaning they’re assuming you don’t want a job you still want a career and you’ll leave the minute you find a job in your field. In other words they’ll hire who they percieve to be the hungriest(not necessarily qualified or best candidate, especially at the entry level) and the most needy/not likely to leave an ruin their turnover stats.

      One of the big things as well you cannot look you age. You have to look fit. Not anorexic meaning is she at least walking and not popping out of her suit, looking tired and/or unhealthy? Same for guys. You cannot go into an interview looking out of shape and old because there is age discrimination among others.

  55. mrchuck85 says:

    Once you hit 40 you fall into a “special group” and along with the potential for suing an employer for a variety of reasons a new one becomes available.

    At 40 you’re now able to sue for age discrimination – hiring someone 40+ to work an entry level position especially the food industry when there are younger applicants available doesn’t make sense from a liability standpoint.

  56. goldilockz says:

    Wal Mart is always hiring. If you’re completely unemployed for that long, it’s because you refuse to take a job you feel is “beneath” you.

  57. kobresia says:

    What I see in this story, as well as some of the comments, are a lot of excuses. I’m sorry, but excuses, even ones that are compelling enough to be considered valid reasons, still do not make for a job, they just sort-of justify the hopelessness of the unemployed individuals’ status quo.

    I have some difficulty understanding this mindset. What do people who have been unemployed for nearly two years do all day? Yes, for this particular woman, there was attending college for a few months, but what did she do after that?

    Further, why is it always up to “someone else” to provide job opportunities? At what point should someone just come to terms with the fact that their skills maybe aren’t marketable, and find some product or service to offer? Sure, most small businesses fail, but if everyone felt that way and refused to even try, everyone would be unemployed. Job opportunities do not just make themselves.

    There are also plenty of little things someone can do to make money that require little overhead. I’d think there’s much more dignity in curbside shopping and selling usable things on Craigslist or eBay than just sinking slowly into an indigent lifestyle. There are also service talents that may not pay well, but they will pay, and most people have at least one skill that would fall into that category. Someone who is smart enough to be well on her way to earning an MBA degree should make a fantastic part-time personal assistant or administrator for a small business. There’s not as much security, salary, or benefits in such a job, but it’s better than nothing.

  58. u1itn0w2day says:

    One of the kickers now is that I know people and states that have to keep a log of the places the unemployed applied for a job. A faxed or mailed resume counts.

    The killer is many of the employers in these states know this so they assume many applicants are just applying to get there 3 applications a week in and won’t hire you. Many states have done this for years, actually in many states you are supposed to look 3 places a week from day one but they rarely enforce the 3 a week/keep a log rule right away.

  59. someoneblank says:

    Luckily I am not currently in your position but I have been there. I wouldn’t even be able to get ramen noodles or white bread because I am gluten free (food which costs 4x’s the amount of normal food or day-old stuff)… needless to say many of the alternatives people have done included gluten (flour, wheat, starches)…. that would essential make me sick AND broke. Get a job at a nearby mall. I had to do it, it’s not a time to be “too proud”. I myself have a 2 degrees and make 50 cents less than I did 10 YEARS ago.

    • areaman says:

      I’m going to guess a lot of 99ers wouldn’t mind having the same mall job.

      Also, some rice gluten free?

  60. bethied says:

    Not to be a huge bitch here, but come on. 99 weeks is more than enough time to find a job. She’s obviously not being smart about her job search. Like many people have pointed out, being overqualified is a huge red flag for potential employers, it would be wise to omit that. I mean, really, at the end of the day, there is ALWAYS work to be found in fast-food joints. I rather suspect that although she may have applied for some minimum wage positions, she probably considered many positions beneath her. I am fortunate to be employed right now, believe me, I know, and I have had my share of troubles finding work in my life. But when I was desperate for income, I was always able to find a paycheck in fast food.

    And again, not to be a bitch, but that woman does not look like she is in any imminent danger of starving to death.

  61. Nick says:

    I’m there.