Five million Americans are among the long-term unemployed–those without a job for 27 weeks or longer–according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Another 7.3 million are looking for work, while the unemployment rate sits at 7.9 percent. Numbers aside, individual stories illustrate how America is affected. To see how joblessness hits home, Yahoo News asked unemployed workers to share their job-hunting stories. Here’s one.
FIRST PERSON | My name is Mike. I am 56 and a Vietnam era veteran who lives in the San Diego area.
I have been unemployed now for more than four years. My day consists of searching the internet for jobs. I am a member of several job search engines. When I get up in the morning, I immediately go to my email. I apply to the ones I am qualified for and the ones I have some knowledge in.
On average, I put in approximately 10 to 20 applications in a day. I do have an associate’s degree in science, and I am currently in school working on my bachelor’s degree. I do have a blemish on my record. I was scammed in 2008 to being a part of money market scam. I still had to do some time since I did handle the money. My judge assured me my record would be expunged when the time arrived. I was also released from restitution and the rest of probation, which does not show on my background check. As I have a current copy of a background check done on me, I am worried when the expunging is done in December. It will take forever to get it taken off the national registry. And I will still be unable to secure employment.
There are others with more severe records acquiring employment, and my blemish was my first ever, so why am I still being punished for a single mistake? When others have made several mistakes and are acquiring employment.
I am basically homeless; I jump around from place to place. My current residence is with family. But I only have a few more months here from the time frame I was given to get a job and my own place to live. I have even asked the VA for help, but unless I am disabled there is no help. I did manage to get medical care from them. This is another area, where lack of help is a part of my life. I was diagnosed with PTSD, given some pills. And that was it. I have not heard from them since. I call and I get the run around. Upon researching it, I found out that civilians are basically running the VA. What is up with that?
No wonder it is hard for us veterans to get any help, especially we Vietnam veterans. I am not looking for a hand-out. I would like a job, period. If a hand-out is someone giving me a job, so be it. They will not be disappointed. I am a very hard worker, I need to stay busy while on the job. I am not one who stands around thinking and waiting to be told what to do. I will ask what is next. Thank you for taking the time to read my story.