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November 27, 2014

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Killer Pink Slips

Screen shot 2014-02-10 at 10.23.02 AMLast week my husband’s dear friend and life-long colleague died at age 64.

The coroner said it was a heart attack, but those who loved Jacques le Sourd knew better: it was a pink slip that cut him down.

After serving as the theater reporter and critic at a Westchester, NY, newspaper for 35 years, he was abruptly laid off at age 60 from the only job he knew. His identity and paycheck were replaced with disbelief and deep depression.

After reading my book, The Shift, Jacques sent Peter a beautiful note of praise, yet one graph stood out big time. He wrote:

I certainly don’t have Tory’s stated appetite for life.
“I want to live a long, long time,” she wrote on Page 129.
I deeply do not.

That’s the extreme toll job loss can take on the psyche. Jacques couldn’t conceive of a professional Plan B.

“My next assignment was on the Depression hits Broadway,”
he told another colleague when he received his walking papers.
“I don’t have to do that story now. I’m living it.”

It’s so easy for the rest of us to pipe in as armchair advisors:

  • What’d you expect? The newspaper industry is in trouble!
  • Expand your horizons!
  • Start a business!
  • Go work at a coffee shop or retail store!

In essence, reinvent yourself. But let’s face it: reinvention is more myth than reality for most.

While there are plenty of slackers among the unemployed, the vast majority of out-of-work people I know are very eager to find a job. In fact, they hate being without a professional purpose and paycheck.

Suzan Fruchtman has an MBA from Duke and collects food stamps. After spending 15 years in marketing and finance at several Fortune 500 firms, Colgate eliminated her position in 2010. Despite daily diligence to find permanent work, she hasn’t had a full time staff job since then — just a handful of temporary roles. Now at 43, she has burned through $60,000 in savings and is on Medicaid.

“The reasons — replaced by technology, cost cutting, restructure — are unimportant,” she wrote in an email to me. “This is not the life I imagined for myself as a straight-A student who thought working hard was enough to succeed. I do not have a husband or rich parents. I would like nothing more than to get back to work. I am willing to take a pay cut, but I’ve been told I’m a ‘flight risk’ — the assumption is I’ll jump when a better paying job comes along.”

She ended her email with chilling words.

“We all have that fear of being the bag lady on the street, and if I don’t get a job soon, when my retirement money runs out, that could be me,” she said. “I’ve had those thoughts that nobody wants to discuss, but sometimes it seems like there are no other options. It pains me to think that there is no place for someone like me in the working world of 2014.”

For several years, poignant emails fill my inbox every day from highly capable people like Suzan whose jobs have evaporated.

But what floored me most about Suzan’s email is that it had been more than 25 years since I heard from her — ever since she and I graduated together from Miami Beach Senior High School. I thought: We all could be Suzie.

From Hawley, PA, Marissa Stopyra says that her part-time job can only do so much to support her kids and husband, Keith, a national sales manager who was downsized twice in recent years.

“Keith would scrub floors if some place would hire him to do so,” she writes. “Our kids seem to do ok most days, but you can tell when the stress is high, their faces show it. My 10-year-old said, after overhearing a conversation, that he wanted me to go to the bank and take all of his money out of his savings account. When I asked why, he said ‘Because Daddy needs it more than I do.’ It broke my heart. ”

And in Buffalo, NY, veteran banker Tracie Hill, who was downsized after 20 years, says she feels like she’s gotten the short end of the stick.

“I’ve done everything right. I went to college, worked hard, always had a job since I was 13 and had good opportunities in my career until now,” she says. “Looking for a job these past 15 months has been the hardest and most stressful thing I’ve ever had to do. It has made me question everything about myself — my skills, my career choices. I’m applying for jobs that I don’t even remotely want just to try and get something.”

My small talk — stay upbeat, follow up on all submissions, get out of the house daily, maximize social media and face to face networking — feels shallow. I know it only goes so far.

There’s no safety net for millions who are invisible as they barely hang on. Great people with solid work histories like Jacques, Suzan, Keith and Traci.

Hiring managers routinely tell me, “There’s a reason she’s been out of work for so long” — casting doubt on someone’s worth and totally dismissing the candidate based solely on a gap in employment.

What does it say about a society that kicks people to the curb in the prime of their lives, with solid work histories and proven track records? They are all around us. Do you see them? Who among us has their backs?

Chime in. Let’s hear YOUR thoughts. Use your voice on how long-term unemployment has impacted you or people you know. Tell us below.

Comments

  1. Wow Tory. First, I am so sorry for the loss of your good friend. You have written a beautifully honest piece honoring your friend and brining awareness to the reality of job safety and how easy it can slip away. Thanks for the insightful post. I will definitely be sharing.

    • Hi Tory,
      Condolences on the loss of your friend. The message from your email was so profound that I shared snippets in today’s post in my website, onpointpress.net. It is a matter of necessity for all categories of the work force to adapt to the new way things are done, if we aim to survive and thrive.

    • Christine Myers

      Tory, what can we do? I kept a blog for myself when I was downsized on November 14, 2008. I spent the next 25 months (going through more than 60% of my retirement account)in various jobs, Census bureau, nursery school in someone’s basement changing babies’ diapers on storage containers (talk about back breaking). I can’t recall how many times I was told I was over qualified. I landed a job (through a colleague) on December 21, 2010 to only lose that job in November 11, 2011, I have now been employed since July 2, 2012 but not a day goes by that I don’t express gratitude and carry a modicum of fear that if I step the wrong way, I could find myself unemployed.

      In the beginning, people would say “oh don’t worry, you’ll get something soon”. I was fortunate enough to attend several of the Women for Hire job fairs and really appreciated that. I did network but oddly too many friends said, “Oh I don’t really know of anything”. It became as though I were a leper and folks were beginning to shy away even though I never spoke about it. That’s what happens you tend to keep it to yourself,the fact that you’re unemployed. When you live alone, you don’t have the luxury of a “down day”. You just can’t afford to allow yourself to fall into an abyss. Taking a pay cut was tough to say the least and in all honesty crappy. We have worked our whole lives, showed up when no one else did and there’s very little to show for it. It was my faith and determination to not go out like that, mine was a political firing and oh how naive I was because I assumed I’d get a job in a month so I refused to sue my institution for ageism.

      I can sympathize with your friend, my only saving grace was even though I’m in fund raising I never tied my identity to what I did. It was merely a way that I supported myself and my child. When will we look out more for our neighbors.

      It can be anyone of us so for anyone listening, help the unemployed by searching your connections an hour a week and never, ever whisper “oh that poor soul whatever will he/she do.” It could be you and there’s no disgrace in losing a job or even two. When as a society we will hold corporations and non-profits accountable for their behavior toward their employees.

      My prayers and thoughts are with his family and friends.

      Thank you for this information, my heart goes out to Suzan and so I sympathize with the fear, I don’t think I will ever feel secure in a position again.

      Sincerely,
      Christine

  2. Nancy Vasquez

    This is very sad. It reminds me so much of myself. I get handed down a pack of temp jobs and then firms do not want tempers. I am glad Obama suggested he is going to put a policy in place (so he says) sorry to include the politics that employers do not discriminate against the long term unemployed. That yet remains to be seen. This is all discrimination. Over qualified sure they have to pay the bucks and benefits. Now with Obama Care firms have no incentive to hire. Let Obama take care of you. That cost too much for some people. This is heart wrenching and so many like myself have fallen victim of the same thing. I just hope that something gives soon. I had to give up my apt., and live in a room of another apt., with no place or space of my own to breath, walk around freely and privately, sharing a bathroom and following the rules of others. It is terrible.
    I am thinking of relocation checking into other states if they are open to relocation because most often they want people who are local. I had to donate my furniture and things I really liked because the cost of a move and storage is too much and it is money in my pocket. Furniture that I got many good years of use from I had to donate to a church and got some money for a few other things. Agencies submit me for everything they possibly can and nothing happens. There is always an excuse. Too much temp, not enough of this or that. Big deal it is only an admin., job. I am starting to apply to Baltimore, Maryland and Chicago with a firm I use to work with in NY. They might help with relocation. I can’t take this much longer. Always looking for places to sit at and use Wi Fi, running here and there, going on LinkedIn, meeting with agencies I am sick of them too. My heart goes out to those I read about. May this gentlemen rest in peace and look over those left behind struggling to find employment.

  3. Thanks for putting it out there so eloquently. The fears,the emotions,the facts.

  4. This makes me sick to my stomach. What a sad commentary on our country and ourselves. When did we lose sight of the human qualities and beliefs that we are trying to raise our children with? There has to be an understanding of the value of humans in the workforce and the importance of technology as well.

  5. Amanda Noble

    The entire job application process has become completely impersonal. Electronic applications that go into a black hole with no opportunity to talk to single person. You call a prospective employer and say “are you hiring?” they say “YES, fill out an application online”, you say “I did” they say we’ll get back to you”. Resumes are filtered by education, years of experience (which means you might make too much, location and Do I Know You?. Employers are looking for well educated but inexpensive resources, that means hiring a foreign national could be their least expensive alternative. The system is very broken and globalization is not helping the growth of jobs at home. We need a major fix or US citizens may have to leave the country to get a job they could have filled here.

  6. Stephanie Williams

    Tory.. My heart is breaking for his family and friends!
    But, the sad part is I TOTALLY understand the feelings he was going through!

    My husband was in corporate America for 30+ years.. He was a exec.VP in the wireless industry. Due to mergers etc.. he got bounced around and eventually he was bounced out! He was unemployed for 4 + yrs. Taking a job for a retail company as a GM only to be let go due to a heart surgery and when he went to go back to his job they let him go sighting erroneous reasons… This has been DEVISTATING to him! He is working (2) PT jobs and barely making ends meet.. He continues to interview for positions that he is MORE than qualified for but always gets the GLORIOUS REJECTION emails ..Sometimes NOT even getting the chance to have a F2F with the company! .. He is very professional and KNOWS the technology industry and is an AWESOME mgr. I leave for work daily and wonder if he is going to be ok and alive when I get home ! SOMETHING OR SOMEONE NEEDS to HELP these people that are 55+ THEY want to WORK and have the EXPERIENCE second to none! .. There is SO MUCH more that I could go into in his job search! Thank you for DRAWING ATTENTION TO THIS ISSUE!! ..LOVE YOUR ATTITUDE and BOOK! Regards!
    SG WILLIAMS

  7. donna wetrich

    we are in this same boat. I am 60, have 2 MAs in education and counseling, and was downsized due to NCLB, and statewide budget cuts–it’s been 4 years for me. Few educational institutions are hiring, and they want younger, cheaper employees. My husband, an award winning new home sales rep can temp for $11 and hour, no commission, but no company will seriously consider him because he’s 62 and it’s OBVIOUS that age is the ONLY consideration in every group interview. We are at the end of our savings, and ‘retirement’ probably will be in a box. We both worked hard as loyal, well regarded employees, and it didn’t matter.We lived frugally and had no credit card debt. NO statistic explains the pain, horror, UN hopefulness of these last few years. What is wrong with a country that throws people away so CORPORATIONS can make their Wall Street predictions??? I have little love for this country anymore when our priorities are so convoluted. I want my life back, I want to feel like I am making a difference in the high risk kids I used to work with. I can volunteer all day long–BUT that doesn’t pay the bills and is kind of disrespectful that I’m only competent enough to give my skills away!!!

  8. Susan Busch

    I know their plight only too well. I worked in a career I loved for 17 years, to be laid off in 2008. I had gone back for my BS degree and received a month before being laid off, I had several good leads did mt. Due diligence and numerous interviews with the same company even receiving tours of the office, to be told they hired from within. I was finally hired by the county to be a jailer. I loved the fact I got my foot in the door, but the hours were not the best, then a breakthrough, I was found by a company who hired me in the career I had known for 17 years, to again be laid off a year later. I bounced back the next time a little faster, but having so many jobs in a short amount of time is looked at poorly by a HR dept. They do not look at our job climate change which is very unfortunate, but our new reality. I love where I am currently, but re-organization exists, so I am ever aware and watchful. No longer is it to work hard and receive what you deserve. Our society is ever changing, and we need to be in a position to change with it. End of story…

  9. Denise Hamilton

    I too was let go 3 months before my 35th anniversary. Before that I had nowhere to go in the company because now you needed at least an associate’s degree for ANY position. I too took a job to have a job – insurance sales. I have never in my life been treated so badly in 2 different places. I was so stressed it was hard to look for another job while I was still working. I am again unemployed, and remain hopeful that there’s something I can do that will indeed be a real job!

  10. Kristie Wilder

    I’m also sorry on the loss of your friend and the plight of folks who have done nothing but work hard their whole lives and, at least for now, have nowhere to go. I will pray for opportunity in their lives, or for an entrepreneurial spirit where they find the strength to blaze their own trails. Thank you for this sobering and enlightening article.

  11. Tory,

    I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. It’s sad that this is happening to people all across the country. Personally; although I own my own business, I would also consider myself to be part of the long-term unemployed. I was laid off due to company restructuring in 2009 and I haven’t been able to find permanent placement in my career since that time – only temp jobs here and there and even those are scarce. It’s odd to me because I constantly get compliments on my skills, resume and personality. So when business is slow for my company, I think about returning to work and that’s not exactly on an upswing either. It’s a sad state of affairs and although I once did, I no longer define myself by what I do.

  12. Tory, So sorry for your loss. We could all be those individuals in the blink of an eye. That is where compassion comes in. I thank God for a supportive family and an acumen for entrepreneurship where I can try to create jobs for people like the ones you mentioned above. I am a product of Flint, Michigan and the automotive industry so when the nation got a cold…we got pneumonia…I am thankful that I found your group and that I understand the importance of not tying my worth to my title…my prayers go out to all those in need today.

  13. Karen

    It seems as if those who are 40+ are given pink slips in a lot of fields then those companies want to rehire at lower pay. Or your forced to reinvent in ways you never thought of.
    It’s not about so much getting a college degree but the ability to learn about many types of work, conventional and unconventional.
    Think outside the box.
    Unemployment is a joke. You go for help and you have to be so destitute or have a connection to get the help you really need by pulling teeth.
    The additional problem is for those with background issues such as felonies and misdemeanors …where can they get help? Especially if falsely accused?

    Tory you rock!
    Karen

  14. Hi Tory. Sorry for your loss. Prayers are with you. Wow, I’ve had a few jobs since being laid off as a Project Analyst for a major brokerage firm. I am currently working from home since being laid off in 2011. It can be tough some days, especially like you mentioned in your story, when you haven’t been working since age 13. But I know God has a plan and purpose for me. Trusting and believing he will see me through.

  15. Ginger harbin

    Condolences on the loss of your friend, Tory. A High School mate of mine was laid of from the newspaper he put his life into. He is 64. Fortunately he has been doing some freelance jobs. My husband, a General Contractor for 30 years, was forced to close his business due to the total lack of construction in our area. Fortunately he was old enough to collect SS. I still watch the effect it has had on him. There are countless people like him that suffer a loss of who they are. Especially when you get to an age that employers feel you are “too old”! Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?

  16. My heart breaks to hear Jacques’, and Susan’s and the other’s stories. Addressing the emotional impact of job loss is paramount… and also impossible to be solved with a one size fits all solution. That said, maintaining human connection seems to be the central theme in bridging the gap from despair and paralyzing depression to being able to network into a new role of gainful employment. Over the weekend my husband shared this TED talk link with me and I found it inspirational. I think it is a great launching point for anyone struggling with the stress and disenfranchisement of being unemployed. I hope it helps those in need of job support and motivates those with the skills to lend a helping hand. http://www.upworthy.com/a-whole-new-way-to-think-about-stress-that-changes-everything-weve-been-taught-2?c=reccon1

  17. Thank you for such powerful words. We need to be telling these stories louder so the media hears it, but it may not help turn the tidal wave back. I heard a talk by a housing expert who was talking about the FL housing crisis. He said something that haunts my mind: “Generation X was decimated by the recession. They lost their jobs, their homes, their savings, their credit ratings and their future. There will not be jobs for them at the top and the younger generation with new skills will take the lower level jobs. By the time they recover themselves, if they can, there will not be time for them to re-enter the real estate market. It is too late for them, so you need to shape your housing plans for the Millennial generation.”

    As a Gen Xer myself, I can totally relate. I was laid off due to budget cuts and started a company while I was on unemployment. I am watching my colleagues in past field get laid off all the time, and then they too try to start companies in order to generate some kind of income. I don’t think there is any going back to my old career for me. I will have to find something else totally different if my company doesn’t work out. Not many good full time jobs for experienced professionals, but for women, especially if they have children, the outlook is worse. Between the recession and the surging of digital technology, we are witnessing a tremendous shift in our work world. I’m not so sure it is for the better. Certainly not for Gen X. I suppose we could all become missionaries and at least our lives in eternity will be glorious.

  18. I agree the loss is heart wrenching…my family tree has been affected by depression and it’s like trying to change the course of a hurricane.

    As the owner of a small and growing company, for many reasons, I would love to hire from an older demographic. Mainly to gain industry knowledge and insights whereas a larger company typically hires younger for their obvious reasons as well. If there was a way to connect start ups to the knowledge and experience of an older candidate at the right price…it would be a win win in my book!

    • Jennifer

      Angela – I agree with you – there has to be an effective way of connecting that needs to occur.

  19. This article and the comments ring home to me as well. The hand wavy comments, “you know the economy is just so bad’ do nothing to offset the rudeness and discourteous behavior on the part of many employers and recruiters. I see jobs filled by others, how did they get the job? and then that same position be open a year later.
    The application process, no phone calls, we’ll get back to you if we are interested serves neither applicant nor firm, far too many people find themselves being ignored.
    It is truly a sad state of affairs, but I have no idea how to change it.

  20. Andrea

    We are frequently reminded of how commonplace the unemployment scenario still is for too many hard working, capable members of our society. That was my story six years ago, when the company I helped found and built for almost 20 years threw me from the sinking ship in a last ditch effort to keep it from sinking. Six years and a sudden, coincidental case of high blood pressure later, I find myself solidly underemployed and embarked on a brand new career path. And reminded that in spite of it all, I am one of the lucky ones. Today more than ever, it seems hard work does not qualify one for any measure of success. It’s more about pedigree, contacts and good old fashioned luck. May all those who are struggling to find their financial footing be strong, stay positive and keep moving forward…

  21. Doris

    Tory -

    I usually don’t post comments but I wanted to thank you so much for this email. It was so refreshing for someone to finally tell it like it is. I too have been downsized and have had trouble finding a job. I was a Director in one of the top financial intuitions my whole department was eliminated. So how talented you were, or how dedicated you were didn’t matter. You were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. I have tried to take a lesser position and people feel as soon as I find something better I will leave. I no longer want to be CFO I just want to pay my bills and known I can go to work each day and would be happy with a lesser position and would be a bargain. When people tell me to reinvent myself I liked who I was and now I am supposed reinvent to what?

    Thanks for making my day!

  22. Michele Horaney

    Thank you for sharing this powerful and personal piece. And thank you for sending to many of us separately as an email. Many people need to read this and think about it.
    I have another nine years to conventionally work before conventional retirement. I am doing my best to “reinvent” myself as a consultant. That is not my natural inclination. But I am persevering the best I can. I recently realized that so many of us dumped out here on the “other end” of the Recession are having experiences that are, yes, like those of people who came out of the Great Depression. We also have had experiences much like those of people who were caught in war zones and have fled to other places and start all over. We are refugees. What do we do now???? We all need to somehow, someway pick up, try again, do our best, and hope to god that someone is noticing and we’ll get a break, any break and move on and up again, bit by bit, if possible. The political deck seems stacked against many of us at this point as Congress does its best to cut training and retraining, education, infrastructure replacement projects, as well as foodstamps, unemployment coverage and other assistance. And yet it is fairly silent, complicit about benefits for megacorps that still offshore work, jobs and manufacturing. How shall we assist each other on the long walk back to what many of us hope will be “the place I used to call normal” in our work and personal lives?

  23. Debbie Botos

    When are we going to come to grips with this as a nation? Why aren’t companies receiving incentives to hire the long-term unemployed and those over 55? I hear so much publicity about people leaving the workforce, and what a terrible thing that is. Do people really think the long term unemployed want to be that way? Don’t people realize how demoralizing it is to be rejected time after time, in spite of your experience and education? This is a national disgrace.

  24. My sympathies to your family Tori! I read your email and just could not stop reading…although this is not my personal situation at present, it WAS my situation 11 years ago. I went to college, got my degree and found the corporate job I thought I would have until I retired. However, upon having kids and realizing the “real world corporate ladder”, it wasn’t my “dream” job! After almost 3 years, I was let go…but I thank them every day!!! I have found the best “J.O.B.” in my direct sales business with PartyLite! While I am not here to force this upon anyone, I do want to SUGGEST that you reach out to those type of companies that you are passionate about their products, and look into become a consultant/distributor/representative. Some cost money to join, some are FREE (PartyLite is!), but it’s the BEST thing that has happened to myself and my family! Sometimes the corporate world is not the answer…so look at the alternative…it may surprise you! Good luck to you all!!

  25. Sandy Recard

    I understand where they are coming from. I’ve had several jobs lately because of funding on two jobs. I can’t find full time so I’ve been working with temp agencies or part time. I’ve also moved to different states for work. So when employers see my resume they don’t want to hire thinking I just quit jobs. It’s so depressing I want to go back to school for a business degree but is it worth it? Also I have over 25+ years in customer service and they want to pay 10-12$ an hour. It’s like you can’t win.

  26. I’ve always lived in fear of ‘getting laid off,’ so I lived very frugally. No new car. No credit card debt. No mortgage. I’ve also always kept a ‘side job’ as a marketing consultant while working a full time job in sales and marketing. When I was laid off in 2007, I decided it was time to start that company I always wanted to start. I didn’t even look for a full time job after getting laid off. I contacted all my consulting clients I’d had over the years and asked them if they had any special needs I could help them with as an independent contractor. I developed a personal branding strategy and spent 18 months building my brand as a marketing consultant via webinars, on site training sessions through various chambers, and blogging. Today, I have own a small, but successful marketing firm. My son used to complain about not being able to find a job. I always told him to MAKE one. He’s now in cosmetology school with a plan to own his own barber shop someday. Self-employment isn’t easy and it’s not for everyone, but I don’t think I could ever go back to being someone’s employee.

  27. SLS

    This is a sad epitaph and I am so sorry for you loss. I retired after working over 35 years in 2 large corporations. My hopes and dreams for myself were always beyond the corporate odors. So after working for a 30 and 40 something bosses who really had self centered goals and were corporately focusing upward and
    clearly no vested concern or interest in me, my career or family or financial well being. I decided to read the handwriting on the wall and gladly retired early. I had always had the eagle in the chicken coup reality burning in my bones and having to work in that atmosphere propelled me to take the leap. I am so glad that I did. monetarily I will have some challenges but I will not even put that in a regret category. I retired early to pursue my dreams professionally, socially and spritually. I was confined and constrained in that environment. Now I am pursuing other things, professionally, taking self improvement classes, dance classes, journaling, writing a book and yes looking for work in a different area. something that I have a passion for. I do worry about my financial future but when the doldrums come I remember that God is my provider and that he does not give a vision without provision. I keep my calendar and note pad handly, set goals for the day and week and what i need to work and follow up on. Then I just have to get up every morning,get out of bed and step into my desired future.

    • Freddie

      You are right about being given provisions for vision!

  28. Tory, I’m sorry for your loss! It’s sad to be in a country identified for its call to freedom and living dreams when so many are unable to do so. It’s even sadder when we work so hard to help others outside this country while so many within are struggling. Here in Phoenix, I see people standing at intersections and highway off ramps with signs asking for some sort of financial assistance. Some I have even see with their children standing alongside them. My heart aches because I feel helpless to make enough of a difference to matter. Then I think that whatever I do matters to the one person I help. Praying for you and yours!!

    Erika

  29. Tami

    This is a really sad story but so true for a lot of americans. I work for a non profit organization that does job placement and pays for training and the only advice I can give is; employers are looking for skilled workers so people who don’t have the skills employers are looking for should go to http://www.illinoisworknet.org to look for the jobs that are in demand first and receive training for those job(s); agencies like ours can connect you to employers that we have long term relationships with after you receive training; we also pay for the training so you don’t have to worry about the cost. On http://www.illinoisworknet.org you can find an agency in your area who can help with job placement and training and it is free to you as long as you are low income. I pray that this helps somebody.

  30. Hi Tory,

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend, and thank you for sharing his story and many others like his. I’m a real estate agent, so during the recession business was waaaaaay down but I wasn’t completely out of a job. I did have something to do every day, if only to follow up on leads. I have two good friends who were laid off 4-5 years ago. One of them has yet to get full-time employment. She’s doing freelance writing and editing but I know she’s not making enough money. The other one has had a couple of contract jobs but nothing feels permanent for her anymore. Unemployment helped these women keep their homes and keep food on the table.

  31. Tory sorry to hear about your friend. This touched me. I will be laid off april 1.2014. I am being replaced by sending my job to another country that will save the company money. As for me — after 12 years of working thru pain with all my sickness and being on time — that didn’t matter and now i have to reinvent myself at the age of 54 and only thing i have is my experience in the corporate world. I think they are so cold and don’t care to lay you off when ever they want but i wont give up life is to good. God has a plan for me.

  32. Tory,
    I am sorry for this loss and sad situation you and your husband encountered. I wish I could fix things. I am very grateful to have found steady work this past year, after many ups and down. The stories are so similar. I am also grateful to have attended Spark and Hustle and surround myself with many positive people like yourself and Jack Nadel. Sales is difficult to perform during these times because I know there are so many people with challenges and cannot buy. Thank you, Tory, for being positive for everyone. Advice, count your blessing instead of sheep and keep visible with the people and help them when you can. And, take walks. (I saw a older woman fall while crossing a busy street, I stopped my car, hopped out and and checked to make sure she was okay.)
    And smile – it does help.

  33. Hi Tory, How very sad. My immediate reaction upon reading your post was that of a very heavy sigh. Not hiring someone because you feel they will leave when a better offer comes around, really, that to me sounds like a big fat copout. People do not turn down jobs because they are concerned that the employer will find a “more qualified” person and be able pay them less. You hire someone who is qualified and even if overqualified, better for the employer (at least that is my thought process). I am two years into a Network Marketing Business, which I started to earn income to help put my kids through college without ending up in debt that would be devastating for my husband and I in the future. I have recently ramped up my cold market prospecting in order to reach out to a larger audience. What I have found has been so very sad and disturbing. I have met so many (amazing) people from all walks of life who are struggling to just pay their electric bills and put food on their tables. I thought I was “worldly” but I guess I do live in a bubble of some sort, because I am truly at a loss for just how many people,of all backgrounds, do not even have $300 to start a business. I am not implying that $300 is nothing, I am just in shocked disbelief as to just how widespread this unemployment issue has become. It saddens me because so many of these people I meet truly want better for themselves and their families. There is something very, very wrong in our world right now, and I am not sure how or when it will get better. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and Peter for the loss of your friend Jacques.
    Jodi

  34. Having been without steady employment for the past five years, I am well versed on the worry, frustration, and pain that accompanies this situation. I have known people who couldn’t handle it any longer and took their life. My faith in God keeps me strong, believing this difficult season shall one day pass. I pray for all those who are going through these tough times and for our country to one day soon return to being the land of opportunity for all.

  35. I echo everything Jacques, Suzan, Keith and Traci said as I have had all those feelings since being “downsized” from my ad agency job at the age of 51 in 2004. After 5 years of being a marketing consultant (read unemployed ad person) I tried the “start your own business” approach. I identified a viable, unfilled niche and became a Certified Mastectomy Fitter. I opened the only ABC Accredited Mastectomy Boutique in downtown Chicago. I have worked both hard and smart to build my business. I even attended Spark and Hustle a couple of years ago. But having just completed my 5th year in business I am facing a scary reality. I have spent everything I had saved for retirement on a business, that while emotionally rewarding and very necessary, just doesn’t generate enough income to support me. As a smart, previously successful, single woman, staring at age 61, I can’t believe I am on the verge of bankruptcy, losing my home and everything I worked to build over the past 35 years. Women entrepreneurs and small business owners are extolled as the future of the country, yet it is just because I am that, that I don’t have access to unemployment benefits or SNAP cards or any of those other safety net benefits. I can’t help but feel a little bitter as I lie awake at night wondering where I went wrong and what my next step will be.

  36. This is so moving, so upsetting. I still have a job but the future depends on what money I can save myself, and staying healthy, staying current. It is scary because 60 isn’t old enough to retire and the workplace can be cruel to an older worker. Add to that needing benefits as we get older. I know I am not alone in this fear, and I am writing and producing a little web series about women my age who lose their job and face various fears. I’m finding new friends and new connections and I don’t feel nearly so alone as I face my future. I guess the only thing I have to fight with is writing about it, and yes, laughing about it.

  37. Julie Evans

    Hi Tory,

    So sorry for your loss, but I must say that I can totally relate to how he must have been feeling.
    I did everything I was supposed to. Although I married young, I raised my kids and then returned to school to get both a bachelors degree AND a masters degree. I worked the entire time I was going to school and barely made enough to cover expenses. When I graduated and got a promotion, the person I worked for became the “Wicked Witch of the West” and made my work life hell for several months until finally she spent an hour yelling at me and telling me how I didn’t know how to do my job (the same job I had been doing for 7 years with no complaints!). I was devastated and left. I was told my the Unemployment folks to at least take a part time position while I sought work because “it would make me look as if I were really trying”. That concept really backfired, because at the time (2008), with the downturn of the economy, if you had even a part time job you were luck! Well, I did have one, and that along with some temp positions kept me in my apartment, although during the next year and a half I would end up being evicted from two apartments. So, in 2010, with 2 evictions on my record, I moved to another state and essentially off the grid to try and get my head together. I was depresse, broke and totally disappointed in myself. I stayed with a friend for 6 months and then decided to re-enter the working world. Another move to yet another state and a stay in a motel while I searched for work did yield a job – but only when I got to just about the point of living in my car. The job started out fine – good hours and decent salary (although about half of what I was previously making!) but a great perk was a place to live. Since all my stuff was in storage, I saved for a year and when I had enough money, had everything shipped up to my new home. I thought I was homefree, and then my hours were cut. I could deal with this. I found a part time position to fill in and make up the difference. Then the owner thought he heard that I had said something about his daughter and came into the store where I was working. He proceeded to yell at me like a child telling me how stupid I was, and how (again!) I didn’t know what I was doing. I was floored. He fired me and I had to move off the property.
    I still had the part time job, but finding an apartment was difficult because of the two prior evictions. I applied for unemployment and for food stamps. I took an apartment with my oldest son and his wife and between the three of us we were able to cover the bills. After 4 months they moved out on their own, but I was still able to meet the bills. Then my unemployment got cut at about the same time my foodstamps got cut.
    My part time job is only about 15 hours a week, unemployment decreases what I receive based on how much I work. So, I am getting roughly a total of $250 a week and only $15 a month in food stamps. My rent is $800. Then there is electric and cable/internet, gas, insurance – I’m sure you can see that there is no way my income and my outgo are anywhere near close to each other. My younger kids have been paying my rent for the past couple of months, but they can’t anymore, so I am really in a spot!
    I’ve had several interview of late, but none has really amounted to anything. They tell me I have great skills and experience, but I am not getting hired. Could this be an age thing? That is a distinct possibility.
    I’ve begun seeing a therapist to handle the depression I am in. I know that it is partly a medical thing, as I had thyroid cancer and had my thyroid removed, so all of metabolic systems are awry, but this job situation is probably the straw weighing most heavily on me. I have even begun the application process for disability to see if that is an option.
    I HATE feeling like this!!! I am very into positive self talk and the belief that the right job is out there – somewhere – for me. I believe that I would not be in this positon if I were not supposed to be. But at the same time, I hate being in this position!
    All I really need is to be able to get on the job and show people what I know. I’ve developed an inability to leave the house, primarily due to the depression, but that makes it a REAL EFFORT to even go out and handle my part time job. I have to do a lot of self talk even to get out of bed some mornings.
    I don’t know if this is the type of missive you were looking for, but it is my reality at the moment and it is not pretty. I’m told this will pass and that others are in very similar positions and that depression is normal when you are unemployed. I don’t like this normal. Having to deal with the student loan people, bill collectors, “robbing Peter to pay Paul” the stress and depression is really taking a toll and I know that I can’t be alone in this.

  38. Wendy

    I was laid off in Nov of 2012 form a sales job that I had made the most money I had ever. The company that laid me off (I was not the only one) said that I should not feel bad about myself they just were doing away with the sales team.

    I was very lucky. I am married and we could get by on my husband’s salary and unemployment. But that is not what I wanted. I was someone who contributed to our income.

    I applied for jobs and could not a call back.. It is so hard when they tell you to send your resume and oh, don’t contact us we will call you if you are interested.

    I finally took a job I thought I wanted and it did not work out, but through networking I have a job that I like. It does not play what my old job did but I am happier.

    That being said nothing will take away how hard it was to start over.

  39. My husband and I were almost one of the sad stories you wrote about when we were 40 & 41. We had left the uncertainty of the “secure” corporate world to start our own business. Two and a half years later we were on the verge of bankruptcy with two young children and did not know which way to turn. We did however find an answer in an industry we had always been skeptical of and spoken out against, network marketing. We were able to apply our good work ethic and rebuild our lives and our income. Now we help others to do the same. I’m thankful that we did our due diligence and found an ethically sound company. Now here we are 20 years later and no one can take our security away from us.

  40. Ronne Mendelson

    People over 35 in this country are considered disposable. I’ve seen too many intelligent, talented people get “phased out” due to their age. The only jobs available are labor jobs or service jobs that pay too little to even exist on and older people are not hired for these anyway, leave alone those with education and experience.

    So, I wish I, too, could be encouraging, but the past few years have shown what’s really going on. Hmmm…wonder how politicians would deal with their jobs being “eliminated” and they had to make living on an assembly line – IF anyone hired them!

  41. Karen Rogers

    I got laid off in 2010 after being with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for over 29 years, yes I could see that the newspaper business was failing, but what do you do when that is all you know. I have tried a few things but I haven’t been offered a single job.

  42. Thanks Tory for sharing these stories and starting this dialogue. As you may know before starting my business, I also was downsized twice within a two year period. A difference then (circa 2002), I believe, was that it almost was a badge of honor to wear your pink slip proudly. There didn’t seem to be as much of a backlash and many of us landed or bounced into new roles relatively quickly. Although then I do recall meeting others who were dumbfounded like the people in your article, having been let go after 10-20 years. Even for me it was a hard lesson the first time that led to lots of self-reflection and soul searching. Those experiences motivate me to help others. Our personal and professional reinvention are ongoing processes to create the lives we really want — even though it can be tough along the way. Ideally, we are proactively doing them before transition happens and we have our support systems to help boost us afterwards.

  43. Powerful piece. I own a Staffing Firm in Boston, MA. I refer to “unemployment” to many candidates that it’s like a “death in the family” for many. At first you are in shock, mourn, are incredibly sad and over time the grief may turn into anger, but over MORE time it WILL get easier. You must move on to stay healthy for you and your family. Unless you have been unemployed or have observed first hand the consequences of unemployment, like a death in the family only until it happens to you, can you believe the impact it truly takes on the human soul. You are NOT alone is something you must understand. It happens every day like death and life insurance runs out eventually, like unemployment checks. You must prepare for unemployment without depending on unemployment checks and/or any savings. Consider “losing a job” as a gift for a new life because unemployment is not a death, you’re alive. For those of you who are a “resume first responder” – remember when it’s your turn at unemployment – judge only as you would want to be judged. A gap on a resume is not always a “red flag”, but perhaps the only time in that candidate’s life that they lived and did so without a paycheck. Why don’t you try it and see if you can survive?

    • Freddie

      Deidre, well said!

  44. Deborah

    Tory, I am sorry for your loss–God bless you all.
    Well, I can identify with job loss. I lost my job in January 2008 and was subsequently hired at another organization in February 2010. However, I was hit with another loss in August 2010. Since that time, I have not found solid employment. I have work a 6 weeks seasonal position twice and have been volunteering about two years while seeking employment and networking. This has not been an easy road. There have been days when I don’t even want to crawl out of bed. Yes, sometimes I experience those emotional feelings that make you cry and cry and say why. But my outlet is the support of my husband, family and friends and most of all the good Lord. I know that he has my back and that he is my source. I think about all of those individuals who are unemployed and continually pray for them. Yes, I would love to be employed again, but until I find something, I’ll keep searching. Oh, by the way, I am a successful individual with an MBA and extensive experience in business management, budgeting and accounting. All I can do is to keep moving forward and preparing myself for better things. By the way, I am in my 50s.

  45. Rebecca

    I owned my business for over 4 years and then I had to close it because it was losing money. I worked a part time, minimum wage job that was no where near what I was making. I was accepted in a truck driving training program and had to leave when a cyst burst in my knee. It’s been almost a year since I made enough money to pay all my bills. I’ve gone through all the savings, I filed chapter 13 in order to save my house. I am going to have to sell my house and move my family into an rv to have a place to live, if I can sell the house for enough. I am scared. I get food stamps. The amount I get is for a family of three $150 and it’s not enough. I’ve signed up with almost every temp agency in town and have gone on 3 interviews in a year. I find myself at the age of 42 valueless in this society and it hurts. What happens when you become worthless in society and then become homeless? I don’t want to find out but I’m heading that way.

  46. Elle

    I have having been crying since reading this. I know the pain of losing a job along with it my identity. I got laid off in 2001 in the wake of the dot com crash. I have a bachelor degree and was making close to six figures. I have had jobs since, but never quite the right fit. I was laid off again in 2010 and still have not found a full time position. It is amazing how I can be over and under qualified all at the same time. It is just so hard to keep going. It is amazing how many so called friends you can lose along the way because they do not understand why you can not a find a job. Why do they feel they need to tell you that you must not be trying because haven’t you seen the news, the recession is officially over. I ask anyone reading this that has a job to reach out to your unemployed friends and relatives, let them talk, complain whatever but do not offer unsolicited advice. These are smart people and they are doing whatever they can to find a job.
    To anyone in a hiring position, these are the people you want to hire. After doing without a steady income, these will be your best employees because they never want to go back to the “unemployment line”.

  47. Marcia

    Dear Tory my hear breaks when I read the story had tears in my eyes.I can relate to that; everday I would go out and look for an opportunity but to no avail I was on public assistance for a whole year. I worked for the city and was told they liked my work ethics and was told to apply for the position that I was working tirelessly. I took their advice tweaked my resume so many times. Well I did not fill the postion. I was down filled with pity asking please Lord find a way for me. Finally I got a job so so happy it helped me to stay afloat to this present day. I applied to several positions I was told I was over qualified all I wanted was a chance because I know in my heart that I am excellent at what I am doing I put in 150 percent of myself. But today I am still working praise God.

  48. Hi Tory,

    Thank you for writing about a very scary topic. I lost a dear friend to suicide 4 years ago. He, like your husband’s friend, had lost his job in marketing and found that trying to get another position at age 53 was impossible. I had thought this was just the age thing, but my 28 year old son lost his job right before the holidays and had to move back home with his fiance who is working 2 part-time jobs. Both of these college graduates did everything right with building a strong resume and getting excellent grades, but the jobs are just not there. Hope things improve soon. So very sorry for your loss. When I had to do the eulogy at my friend’s service I was struggling with his suicide over a job, but 4 years later I have seen more people who are deeply depressed because of this economy and I finally get that my friend felt he had no other options.

  49. Kelly hanlon

    So so sorry about your friend. It is so disheartening that the despair people feel and how what we do defines us in everyday living. I got sick due to other peoples negligence at a job and my career as a nurse and my health ruined and it was all I knew and loved. Often I wonder how would we define ourselves when a big thing is removed. I live vicariously through others and make the most of each day but being forever changed I have learned we have to only get through one day at a time and not look at the big picture. My heart is sad that your friend passed heartbroken and defeated and people feel that daily. I hope and pray that each day we all look beside each other and remember there for the grace of god go I. We need look out for each other. God bless your friends family.

  50. Kim Moore

    I am an employment attorney. I have been hearing from more potential clients calling about age discrimination than anything else. No one seems to care. It is sad. Legally, Age Discrimination is difficult to prove, but we know it is happening in companies on a daily basis. Companies want the young and the cheap to get; Experience? Life knowledge? They don’t care. I am only in my late 40′s and I am glad I have my own firm so I don’t get the same treatment in 10 years or even less!

  51. My heart goes out to the family of Jacques and to so many professionals who find themselves easily tossed away and find it difficult to re-invent themselves.

  52. Sharon Feuer

    This could be my story. After building a successful career in media/buying and planning for 25 years, my position was eliminated in 2010. I have been unable to secure permanent employment, lucky to pick up short term freelance assignments and some of my own one off consulting gigs over the past three years. However, all of this time of under and unemployment has resulted in my having to pack up my life in NYC and move down to South Florida in November to live with my mom because I was no longer able to pay my rent, or bills or day to day expenses. So, at the age of 51, I have to rely on my brother to help me pay down the debt that 3 years of unemployment has caused and try to find a job in a marketplace with fewer opportunities than NYC. To say that I am stressed and anxious almost every day is an understatement. I am tired and exasperated of reading tweets and articles from job search experts with their conflicting suggestions about what to do, and how to do it. The reality is that our generation of experienced workers is getting squeezed out of the job market and there are not enough opportunities to go around. Quite a few of my friends are in similar lack of livable work positions without any confidence that our situations will change any time soon.

  53. Dinine

    Dear Tory- I am so sorry for yours’ and Peter’s loss. I am sorry for Jacques. To be disconnected from what was once your life’s breath and passion is the equivalent to being imprisoned. To feel unproductive when one yearns to make a mark, is maddening. I have spent the better part of 10 years’ raising children, but through out that time have contributed significantly to non profit organizations and even retained associations through co counsel or project management of large scale litigation cases. I had hoped that by this time, all of the things I had done to stay relevant would help me pursue a full time career. However, I am constantly being questioned “You have a J.D.–why do you want to work here?” And the second question is always “You’ve not maintained full time work for some time- are you sure you could handle it?” Handle it? There isn’t one thing that I’ve seen anyone else do at any other job that I can’t handle. I am committed to excellence in everything I do, but I must say- this isn’t a quality people see initially when they are trying to “weed” you out as over qualified.

  54. Jackie

    I am so sorry to hear about your husband’s longtime friend. I pray for the bereaved family and friends that they will find comfort in each other. May the knowledge that their loved one was a good, hardworking man console them during their grief.
    I have witnessed associates and friends suffer thru long term unemployment. They have had to downsize, relocate more than once; humble themselves and ask for loans from family and friend; accept handouts; and worse, lose everything.
    Tory, thank you for shining a light on the very human aspect of job loss. It’s personal, affects family, community; not to mention the nation.

  55. Barbi

    I am so sorry for the loss of your friend and you and his family are in my prayers.

    We are in the same boat here. my husband worked for the same company for over 25 years and has now been laid off for months. We are now hearing rumors that the company is going out of business. He is over 50 & it is hard to get a job in the construction field at his age even though he could out work a young 20 year old, plus he is very skilled from a life of hands on very hard work. That right there is two counts against him…his age & no college degree!

  56. PHW

    My condolences to your friends family. And while it is under sobering circumstances, I am glad that you have brought to light this very real issue. I have watched over the last few years very well qualified friends and family get laid off and then struggle to get back into the workplace at a full time, albeit not equivalent, level. The matter struck close to home when I was laid off from an executive level position due to changes in leadership. As the primary (and at the time sole) breadwinner in my household, there is nothing like the shock of being cut off in your prime– I am in my forties. I started a consulting business to fill the gap and four years later, I am still on my own. It has not been easy, and we still have some challenges to overcome. But there’s nothing like a major job loss to help you re-evaluate what is truly important in your life and to teach you more about yourself and the will to survive than any book could ever do. For those in like situations, all I can say is don’t give up hope. As one old saying goes “Hope ever tells us tomorrow will be better.”

  57. Emily Woodward

    Thank you for writing this, Tory — hopefully between you and the President shining a light on the longterm unemployed, something will change. As you describe, hiring managers are creatures of habit, and can afford to be choosy (for no reason) these days. Let’s not even get into the resume-scanning software and devil-may-care gatekeepers in corporate HR you have to overcome to get in the door…

    I speak as someone who was out of work for 2 years after my maternity leave (I was let go the day I returned, nice touch), and who has hired for 2 positions at my current job — I was interviewing people with MBAs and 25+ years experience for a midlevel non-management $39k position. They were DESPERATE. Because of my own circuitous career path, I felt for them, but because they reminded me of my own parents, I was terrified for them…because of course I didn’t hire either of them, they were extremely overqualified and hesitant to take a 50%-70% pay cut while 5+ years from retirement…and who can blame them!

    Reading this the same day I find out Jamie Dimon got a 74% RAISE the same year the company he “leads” paid billions in securities fraud fines is….just sickening. I think Wall Street’s total dominance of our political system, it’s sway over corporate life and the organizing principles of our society, has to change, it’s unsustainable. Look at the AOL CEO blaming premature infants born to certain employees as “the reason” they cut back on 401(k) contributions…when he takes home $12 million a year! Greed and fear can only carry us so far, and it’s not pretty.

    Let me just add that volunteering at Spark & Hustle helped me tremendously during my job search — please keep up your message of inspiration AND compassion for those who need support!

  58. Janet

    I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. This trend hits home with me. In 2008 I lost a tremendous job. Because I spent my life following my husband, my resume makes me look like a flight risk as well. It’s not my fault that he moved every 23 months and I was able to stay under employed at a wide variety of jobs in sales, marketing and pr.
    I cannot find a stable job even remotely in my field that pays more than $10/hr with no benefits. My college degrees and years of experience are worthless. I am really over work right now – not worth going out to hit the pavement knowing that no one will even glance at my resume.

  59. Mary Blaylock

    Wow so sorry for the loss of your best friend. I would say that I have been unemployed for all most a year. I am beginning to doubt myself and the reason I am not getting another job.. I turn 60 in March. I feel like no one wants to hire me. I have so much ability but I just keep getting rejected. I go to interviews am very up beat and positive. Thinking I have the job but I didn’t get it. Those are my thoughts. Now my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family in this time of sorrow. Mary

  60. Marta

    I was laid off from a professional job in healthcare in 2006. I was unemployed for two years, and then under employed for two more. That was enough to cause my family to lose our home and my marriage. I spent the next three years jumping from job to job as a contract employee. No health care, no vacation just work. I couldn’t rent a place to live on my own or make any decisions involving finances. Finally at age 53, I was contacted by a small company looking for a technical writer. I got the job. I pinch myself still. I can’t believe I finally got a good job where my work is valued. It was very tough on my self-esteem. But I made it.

  61. Sarah Denby

    So, I’ve had the same experience as all you’ve discussed. Tory & please tell Peter how sad I am for him & his friend’s family…why does it always come down to money…it seems like every one has forgotten a whole generation of people who’ve always had good jobs,worked hard then all of a sudden are out & can’t get another job no how, no where…i think I have to move out of NYC where I’ve lived for nearly 50 years.despite rent control…don’t know what to do anymore having tried just about everything…the DOL even told me to redo my resume(the one you wrote,Tory)…I told them they were stupidly wrong…anyway…

  62. Patty Agresta

    I was downsized 3 times in 3 yrs 13 yrs ago. At the time we could afford for me to stay home w/our 3 children. I have since been in 2 different direct sales companies, not making much money w/either company. Now we are in a place financially that I need to get back into the workforce to help with finances. I have tried to find jobs…even part time to no avail. When potential employers and hiring managers say there is a reason for being out of work for so long, sometimes there is. Maybe instead of dismissing those people, they should look at the bigger picture and give people like that a chance. That is my 2 cents worth anyway.

  63. BP in Virginia

    Hello Tory, this is very sad and we are all saddened by the loss of your dear friend; and most importantly because of the difficulties many of our “fellow Americans” are experiencing in finding/locating a stable job after many years of dedication to one employer or another. Let’s put our heads together to come up with a dialogue for these hiring managers. We can name the problems one by one; but let’s really use the education, experiences and the rejections to come up with ideas on how to help people like your friend return to employment. Many of these companies rely on consumers and/or taxpayers. You are very creative – I’ve followed you for more than five years and I know there is a silver lining behind this cloud and you will help us find a solution to getting in the door; and landing the jobs we are qualified to work.

  64. Wendy DiCarlo

    Very sad – sorry for your loss. It does seem to be happening more and more. 5 years ago I was laid off from a job that I loved and unfortunately I am looking to switch jobs again because of an impending lay off. My job is my identity not that it should be. I enjoy working, I love the people I work with and I feel respected. I look forward to the next adventure. Even though I am only 45 years old it is increasingly harder to find a job at this age. I’ve been looking at changing careers but not sure how to jump from one to the other.

  65. Elaine O'Malle.

    Tory, so sorry for your loss. All of them will be on my prayers. I was laid off after 23 years of surviving 2-3 layoffs each year. I decided I was not going back to that and joined a power network marketing team of the industry’s best. One of them was just like Jaques. Laid off in his 60s. He found network marketing, made $40 million and now leads a very happy, active live at age 85. Now I’m helping others with their plan B and building a wall of financial freedom with lifetime residual income that no one can tear down. There are options but few people know where to find them or the support team to make them successful. I am blessed and now able to support others achieve their dreams. My prayers for all who are suffering. There is hope. Never give up.

  66. Cynthia

    So sorry to hear about your friend. Losing your job is a horribly My last great job ended in a budget cut. I received two months’ pay following the elimination of my job. Since then I have applied for so many jobs that I have lost count. At this point I have had to use all of my savings and any retirement savings that I was trying desperately to save. I have pawned all of the jewelry my husband gave to me before he died. It’s a constant struggle without end. Right now I am working as an independent contractor for a wage barely above minimum wage. Although Obamacare is supposed to provide subisidy for health insurance the premium is still more than I can afford. Things I took for granted like going to the grocery store or filling my car with gas are no longer possible.

    There are no easy answers–I completely sympathize with the woman who fears she may become homeless. I never dreamed I would be facing this reality but it is no longer the case. The confidence I once had seems to have left me. I have come to doubt my skills, abilities–even my Masters from one of the best communications schools in the United States–don’t seem to carry the same cache.

    God bless us all. Every one.

  67. Unsure in Babylon

    First I am so sorry on the loss of your dear friend and to his family. My heart goes out to them and as I type this my heart is breaking. i am not at the level of those individuals but I been working since I was 16 on Wall Street. The last 5 years was a zig zag but the last two years nothing. I am on the sliding scale where leaving the house just makes me more depressed. I cry when i come home feeling unworthy. I applied at supermarkets but again lost in the dark pool of resumes of maybe other similar individuals. The letter for the default of mortgage came in so another hit of reality occurred. I pray that everyone here finds some little lining of silver to bring them up you deserve it.

  68. Mary

    I echo everyone’s outrage and sentiment on what is transpiring. It is disheartening and terrifying. I have been laid off twice from financial institutions in the last five years. I have an MBA and an extraordinary track record and work ethic. I have done everything right and feel so wronged. I steadfastly work at finding employment everyday and am doing some consulting to keep a little money coming in. Thoughts?

    My thoughts and prayers go to your friend’s family.

  69. Rose

    I also am sadden by this story and am grateful that we are talking about it.It has been my experience that we are living in a disposable world. stop in any night class, any community college and we are all there.. Picking up pieces, trying to keep our families together after experiencing our financial worlds falling apart in our mid life.. for me it was a 35 year marriage where I stayed home birthing and raising children where I supported my husband and his career. At the age of fifty my husband prepared his departure and then left, I know , now that I look back I see the signs but while I was in the middle of the experience I did not ! He then hired a very good lawyer and spent the next five years proving he was out of work and had no money. I have no family ,no one to help me sort out all the craziness, at 64,000.00 I fired my lawyer and settled for a 10 yr. alimony of very little. I couldn’t take it anymore, once I did this my ex was able to pick his business right back up ,bought 4 Harley Davidsons, took international trips, and has quite a retirement. I, at the age of fifty seven , have herniated disk in my back, lost my house, and am struggling to start a career .The most difficult of all of this is how acceptable this treatment has become..

  70. Milana

    First of all Tory, I am so sorry to hear of such a tragic loss of your friend. What a loss on so many levels…and 64 is young!
    There are ‘biases’ in place that are re-directing the flow of opportunity AWAY from
    people 50 and over (although age bias is illegal it is almost impossible to prove); workers being UNDER-employed and deceptively counted as “employed” by the system. We already know women make 77 cents on a dollar compared to men, resulting in over a million dollar difference over a lifetime.
    I would like to start as fund to help people get on their feet, supplement an income or education to learn a trade. I have some ideas. I am coming from a place that people need hope, money, resources and not ignorant judgments!

  71. Thank you for telling it like it is. I was fortunate to reinvent myself as a transcriptionist. I like transcription and am able to get by (just) with my home-based business. My lifestyle is pretty bare bones and I do not enjoy a standard of living that I once did. What you do not touch on is that being “of a age” makes it even more difficult to impossible to get the type of positions open to a younger person. I am not saying everyone discriminates on age, but finding those who do not is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

    It is nice that someone understands that there are competent, creative, energetic, good people in the ranks of the unemployed who cannot catch a break through no fault of their own.

  72. Martha

    Hi Tory

    What touching stories. About seven or eight years ago I was let go from a job I enjoyed. It was at a law firm. Unfortunately my boss ran into financial hardship and had to close. Needless to say, I was devastated. I thought I was going to retire from this job. Having two young children, this was very hard on us financially. I fell into a deep depression, didn’t care about myself or much of anything to say the least. I am among those long term unemployed who has tried to reinvent myself many, many times but still can’t find a way to make the money I was making at the law firm. My experience with trying to find a job is that employers don’t want to take a chance on the long term unemployed for fear they will want a lot of money or are inexperienced. I can tell you that is false. All we want to do is work!!! Sorry for rambling but the employers have to see that we still have knowledge we want to share and get our lives and well being back.

  73. Tory, One of my best friends’ husband found himself in a similar situation where his entire self identity was centered in his job with a big corporation. He loved being with people and his job was to entertain them client. Everyone loved him and he was very successful. When he was laid off in his 50′s, nothing anyone said to him mattered and he ended his own life with a bullet to his head. Even more tragic, his oldest daughter of three found him when she came home from school.

    You’ve known me for a few years now and know that I tried hard with my own art related business but haven’t found success. What I’ve had to do is let it go and look in another direction that also has a sense of purpose and meaning, something that I know will benefit others and at the same time, not financially penalize my family in the process as the other business did . I lost over $250,000 out of pocket money in the 8 years I held on.

    Many people have an outdated, erroneous concept of network marketing, but a good company is a ready made business opportunity. A person can step right into a revenue model that produces a cash flow that can be used as a turn key business or as revenue to build their own business idea for less than it costs to buy dinner for two at an average restaurant.

    A solid MLM company offers training and upline mentoring, a built in website, products, branding, customer service, and personal development. This is why Guy Kyosaki, Donald Trump, and Warren Buffett encourage people to consider it. Add up the costs of all those systems necessary for business success and it amounts to a lot of money if you’re going it alone.

    I’ve seen my own daughter succeed from being laid off her job, being bankrupt, and now reaching an income that’s double the average income in the state.

    I passionately believe that network marketing is an absolutely sound solution for anyone who’s willing to make the effort and spend time to learn. Nothing gives me greater joy than to see others success and I’m walking the talk.

  74. Gee

    Tory,

    Your friends loss is so sad but the reality is that there thousands of us are living in the shadows without prospect of jobs, no income, raising children who are heading off to college and unable to determine where the next dollar is coming from. I am a single mom in my early 60′s and I count myself in that group. I don’t whine or complain and can’t share my plight with my friends because I am so ashamed of my current reality and I don’t believe it will ever change.

    Even with that situation, I do my best to stay positive and upbeat but after 100 interviews where I have been rejected because I am too old and 100 more where I am overqualified, though I don’t have any money or food to feed my family, I just try to survive. It is purely through the grace of god because when I look at my finances on paper there is no way that I can live off of what I have.

    I have taken jobs with prospective employers who undestand my despair and I didn’t make enough money to get to work. After giving it a good college try for several weeks, I spent more money on traveling to work than I made and I had to quit.

    I should probably take on this depressing situation in its totality but I keep believing that something will change and I have said that for over seven years now and nothing has changed, at all.

    I pray for your friends family and hope that despite the reality that America wants the long term unemployed to be invisible, they think we are lazy and have no ambition, I pray that opportunities will materialize to save families from the pain of this type of loss.

  75. Rita Madison

    Tory thank you so much for sharing this! When I saw this I knew that I was not alone. There are so many people suffering right now and it is not getting any better. The testimony that touched me the most was the one about the family where the husband has been out of work and the children feel it. My husband has been without a full time position for at least 3 years and we feel the pain. The message is stifling because this is the man that my son see’s every day home with not much hope and now even my son is suffering academically because this is the image that he is facing daily. A man without a real job. Just this week I was laid off of my part time position of 6 years, without prior notice with less than a week to prepare. It’s funny too because one of my side hustles is writing papers for college students and I just did a paper on Unemployment and how the government should go about resolving it! Starting a business is great if you are a person who has the witty ideas and creative inventions. But some of us don’t know that we have been built with ingenious ideas, and craftsmanship that would support a hopeful future as an entrepreneur. And it seems to be that no one cares about “us baby boomers”. No one wants the risk of providing benefits and adequate income. So we are left to scrape, and skim and go through early retirement and savings. IN ESSENCE… THE STRUGGLE IS REAL.

  76. Peg and I were at one of your own events (Women for Hire at the Hilton ..7 years ago),Tory. when it hit us that we were not going to get a job in the normal sense…that was 7 years ago. Peg coined the phrase: We were the 3F’S: Fat, Fifty, and Female. We had to look for a better way. So, we took all our retirement money and became our own bosses. We have a lot more job skills now, but we had money to infuse into the system to support ourselves while we learned new skills. Kaufmann Foundation offers a class on owning your own business. They felt like people were desperate to get back to work and were risking their retirement in hopes of a business working out…they wanted people to know of the realities of being in business for yourself. The skill sets you need for success are daunting, and you can not just dream up the kind of money it takes just to keep you alive while you hit your stride. The depression that hits when you were a working person and have no options is not helped when you hear your government say that they are not willing to push a big enough jobs program to make jobs happen, nor or they willing to extend unemployment benefits. How low can you feel when Representative Paul says you are being lazy taking extended benefits?

  77. Cheryl

    You hit the nail on the head! It’s not that easy! Thank you for recognizing and stating that! You are so full of ideas, zest, drive and motivation to others. But sometimes I wonder if you think it’s so easy to put things into action. Because it seems easy to you, I often wondered if you really do empathize with those of us who are not you. It’s easy to tell someone to get out there but we are not all cut from the same cloth!

    Tory…I am all of those people mentioned in your email article. I identify with every single one. I’ve been laid off twice since 2004 from two positions I loved. Downsized. Eliminated. Colleagues gave moved on to other work but they, too, have gone from position to position like leaves blowing in the wind. One colleague has lost 3 more positions in the last 4-5 years! Others have been able to hang on in their new jobs but wait for the ax to fall every day or are so miserable in their current positions but are afraid to move! That’s no way to live.I’m stuck. At 58, I’m also talented, hardworking, resourceful, look 10 years younger than my age, have a resume full of accomplishments and a drawer full of accolades and references. Yet, I feel defeated. I’m not the same girl who went to her local public library at age 16 3-4 times a week asking if they were hiring, until the head librarian was given the go ahead to hire someone and it was me. I think she was as thrilled about that as I was! I used that same drive to get every job I’ve ever had, every promotion. Where is that drive now? It’s gone. Well, it may not be gone for good but it is certainly buried.

    While I sit here and ponder all this I also feel like I’m running out of time. How many working years do I have left? Sure, I can work till I’m 66 or 70. I can go back to school and retrain. The possibilities sound endless. But not without roadblocks. Too old to be hired, too young for SS. I have been in and out of the job market over the past few years. But I feel as if I’ve lost myself. Now I am experiencing what my dad faced when after 38.5 years at GM they cut his position. He wanted so bad to make it to 40 years and retire on his terms. I don’t think he ever got over it. But he was a proud man of his generation where work was his identity. Fortunately for me, work is not my identity. At this point it’s a means to an end, i.e. bread on the table. But if given a choice, I’d much rather use my talent and skills in work that I’m passionate about and for people who appreciate that passion.

    I’m sorry to hear such sad news. I’m glad to hear that you ‘get it’. Your tips, tools, advice, enthusiasm and motivation are terrific; your compassion and understanding are a breath of fresh air. :-)

  78. Nancy

    Thanks for sharing this post. I have been reminded recently about what a dreadful time I had after I got fired from the last significant job I had before my current employment; how long it took to get myself back on track with a job I enjoy and working with people whom I like to work with and where I feel valued. I hope to God I never have to go through that again, especially not at 57 years old! This awful time was in 2008 & 2009 during which I endured multiple job losses, foreclosure and bankruptcy. If it had not been for the man in my life, I would have had to move in with my mother, who has since passed away.

    Looking for work is brutal, to say the least, and I know all too well what people go through who SHOULD have work and just can’t find anything. And then it seems that people who have secure jobs and who’ve never really dealt with long-term job loss are the first to make comments about what you should do to find a job and cannot seem to understand why you haven’t gotten anything yet. But along with so much competition for good jobs, there’s a lot of age discrimination out there, and with scaled down work forces, many business hire the newbies, of course and don’t want the older, more experienced ones. There’s just no investment in the work force anymore, it seems.

    Some folks, for a variety of reasons, are not able to cope with an unexpected ending to their career and all of their worth is tied up in their work, which is a dangerous thing. BUT when you’re facing the inability to pay your bills, it can send you down a road of depression that is very hard to come out of (but with help, it can be done.) Hopefully folks can turn to friends, family and whatever community supports that may be available. But there are no quick fixes and hearing the same old “why don’t you check here” or “why don’t you talk to this person or that person” can get really old and is not much comfort and only rarely gets you anywhere.

    Getting daily emotional support, at least, can truly be the difference between life and death for those who find themselves in long-term job searches and especially when the money is starting to run out. Again, no easy answers, but there is hope in community, family and friends. And then let’s just hope our government makes the best decisions to support the unemployed.

  79. My sincere condolences go out to you, your husband and your friend’s family. I read this and it nearly brought me to tears. Everyone knows someone who is INTELLIGENT, KIND, AMBITIOUS, AND WORTHY of freelance or permanent work. In my quest to add another career to my roster as a TV Host, I have experienced the rudeness and boldness of people that have told me, “I am not working hard enough,” “You have to pound the pavement,” “You’re not really looking! If so, you can go to Starbuck’s!!!!” I call it the Holly-weird syndrome!!! Everyone wants to be your friend when you are “working on a show!” If you lose your job for ANY reason….your phone will STOP ringing as soon as the announcement is made. A lady called me about a position and when she found out that I no longer worked for Michael Kors, she LITERALLY HUNG UP THE PHONE ON ME!!! Last week I posted that my church instructed us to pray for anyone and everyone during the month of February. I am willing to take it a step further. If you are looking for a job, inbox me and in my research for TV gigs, I will do a search for you. STAY ENCOURAGED. God Bless You.

    • Nathalie L

      wow. people are insensitive. I am looking Ms. Braxton, and any advice is appreciated.

  80. Nathalie L

    Tory,

    I cannot begin to say how distressing this email was to read. I have been working 15 years in my field and have the education and experience that make me an excellent candidate for a number of positions, and yet, i am not getting any offers or opportunities for interviews. I can certainly feel how your 43 year old feels. I have no savings to rely on, and I am one paycheck away from financial ruin. And while i have the advantage of versatility in my work, it is heart wrenching to hear this horror stories from capable, dedicated, efficient people. Not easy to stomach. Reinventing one’s self is not always possible.

    Thank you for sharing these stories, they remind us that we can all be in this situation.

  81. Lynne Ingram

    I have a college degree, am single, no support from anyone, mid-fifties, and am underemployed, making minimum wage, less than 20 hours a week. I was laid off in 2009 and I have been struggling ever since. No unemployment, etc. I am able to sympathize with all these people and your article. I am close to the end I know. I have nothing to give to anyone and no one seems to care. I am too fat and lazy and obviously too stupid to get a job – that’s what everyone says and quite frankly, I am beginning to believe them. I know I need help but with no money comes no help. Thanks for getting it and be inspirational. Your part of my very small support group. Do what you can. I’m still hoping – Thanks!

  82. J from No. CA

    I am currently looking to hire a senior administrative staff member. I was approached by a staffing firm and have decided to allow them to help with the process. When discussing approving the staffing company, I discovered that my Director and I have different views on the long-term unemployed. What I got from her is that “there is a reason they haven’t been able to find a job on their own,” referring to temp agency applicants. I remember feeling my stomach tighten and my neck stiffen during this conversation. I responded that there are numerous reasons why someone works for a temp agency and that I personally know of many qualified people who have not been able to find a job for a long time, so to be cautious when assigning blanket explanations.

    You see, I was among the long-term unemployed not so long ago. Like many of those before me, now and unfortunately others to come – I did everything “right.” I went to college, didn’t get the best of undergraduate grades, but I did fairly well in graduate school. I was laid off from my first job out of graduate school due to a dwindling industry. I was unemployed and did a few temp jobs for about a year. Then I picked up a 10 month contract with a county government agency solely as a result of having the right contacts. After that contract ended, I was recruited into an executive leadership program at a Fortune 8 company. I was successful there and lead one of the regions in setting the foundation to launch new products. The processes and relationships I forged were adopted and applied in others regions for the company. Each year I achieved over 130% and then over 200% of my numbers….. Then I was then laid off. No matter what the reasoning they gave us, it wasn’t rocket science to figure out that everyone getting a pink slip was either just short of reaching their 30 years of service or was like me – just short of being vested at 5 years. After about 9 months of looking for work I was offered a contract-to- permanent role with the same county agency that I had done some previous work with years before. Though it was not what I was looking for and was far less money than I was used to, I took the position knowing that I needed a job, I could make a difference in that role and I liked the people in the agency. Additionally the position was supposed to turn into a permanent one, but the permanent position never came and my contract was terminated after 14 months. That was in 2010. I was jobless for 3 years until last year. I had a couple of temp jobs, but nothing that really meant much other than enough money to do the bill juggling dance. The depression was real. The feelings of failure and worthlessness were suffocating. And though people meant well, I often envisioned placing my hands over peoples’ mouths with every utterance of “Keep your head up,” “Something better will come along,” or “It’s their loss” and simply saying, “please just SHUT UP because you have no idea what I’m going through.” The ONLY reason I was able to get through it was with the support of family and through the kindness of friends who allowed me to live with them during that time.

    I made a point when speaking with the staffing agency to tell them that I want to be sure to have long-term unemployed applicants included in the pool of applicants sent my way, and I will be sure to remind them of that when we have our final conversation this week. I had to explain to her (a staffing agent!!) why I am interested in employing the long-term unemployed which blew me away, but I will continue to have the conversation to drive my point home.

    • Cheryl

      You rock! I sincerely mean that!

  83. Abbie Marie

    My condolences to Jacques’ friends and family.

    I lost my job of 10 years in 2010 and have yet to find anything part or full time. I have only even had a handful of interviews. I am just 40 and evidently already “too old”, as the people who are getting the jobs I am interested in are just out of college. As others have mentioned, I am over and under qualified at the same time. Why hire someone with all this experience for a retail job? They’ll just quit as soon as a “real” job comes along.

    I eventually lost my car and home, had to file bankruptcy, and move back in with my parents. Thankfully they have been nothing but supportive, but yes, the mental and emotional toll of being “unemployable”, and therefor non-self-supporting is IMMENSE. It is a daily struggle to keep clawing your way out of a hole into which more and more dirt keeps being dumped in bigger and bigger loads. I am trying to start over, but there are no real options and I am not sure how or what I have to look forward to…

  84. John Scaturro

    After reading so many of these others messages and relating to what they’ve been through, I can throughly relate. I worked for a Israeli Bank here in Manhattan for 27 years and never took time off just because I felt like staying home and hardly ever called in sick. I managed to always make it in when weather was inclement and when others used it as an excuse. On January 14, 2014, I came to work like a normal work day and was a couple of hours into my morning task, when I received a call from HR. I was told they needed me to come down to their office, and since I’d been there so many other times over the last few months, inquiring about my Pension and other related documents, I just naturally thought it had something to do with that. It never dawned on me that my boss and his boss where already in the conference room in the HR department, but after working with my boss for 18 plus years, he just sat there and said, John, the bank is the process of redeveloping and your job has been eliminated as of right now. We’ll leave you now with HR. No thanks for your years of service, nothing. This whole process has caused me feel less confident in myself and I only needed 2 more years to get to full retirement. They couldn’t have let me slide for those 2 years? At age 63, I know feel if something doesn’t come soon, I’ll definitely have to re-invent myself to do Dog Walking Services or something in order to subsidize my income. For me, I at least have the comfort of my family members give the help and support where needed, where so many other do not. Still, I’m not even sure if I can go back under the pressure of having to relearn the process of another company’s process of doing things, not to say the daily pressure you can put yourself under. All of us who fall into this category can only stay positive and put everything in GOD’s hand, ’cause in the end all we have is GOD and we need Him in order to get through all this. Good luck to everyone, who like myself is going through hard times, but hopefully where one door closed, another opens.

  85. Cheryl

    There are some beautiful testimonies, ideas and I suspect very talented people in this thread. We need to harness this talent, energy and passion. How about a mini conference? A round table? A new ‘voice’ for the unemployed/underemployed older demographic? I’m in! Can we piggyback on some other organization doing this work and lend a hand? I heard about a group doing amazing work with the older demographic last year on either 6o minutes or Dateline. I think they were in CT or somewhere out east. I think I bookmarked it. But they were local. They had brilliant ideas and programs that need to go nationwide. There are all sorts of groups in churches, communities, unemployment offices, schools trying to help. But the problem is bigger than those groups are. Sitting around waiting for the President or whomever to fix this mess won’t fly. We, the people, have to take our jobs and lives back. But how? Yes we are all just trying to survive and take care of our families. But this issue is bigger than us. It’s time for a call to action, a movement. I have skills and passion as many on this thread do…what I don’t have are resources. Nobody knows me, lol. But they know Tory. There needs to be another SHIFT of a different kind.

  86. SH in Michigan

    Tory, I am so sorry for your loss! My deepest sympathies to you and yours as you grieve such a great loss. I can see Jacques will be missed.

    I am also very grateful for being on your email list. The email you sent today was eloquently written, I could feel your emotion with every word written, and must have been something I needed to read today. Thank you for sharing!

    It is very scary in Corporate America right now and this is why, in a way, I limit how high I strive for my financial goals within this specific boundary. Not to limit myself, however, to remain in balance. I have worked since I was 14 years old, sometimes 2-3 jobs if needed. In 2006 when I left a job due to an unhealthy/abusive environment I had NO IDEA I would begin to lose everything due to a recession that was lingering around the corner. I was out of work (other than part-time/temporary work) until April 2010. The only time I need assistance from the Gov’t and I was denied. Although I am thankful for my paycheck I know I am not being paid my worth. While finding my way I achieved my Masters degree because I thought that was the right thing to do and now I will be paying for my education for the rest of my life and probably never make the money I should be in a salary to have made the education worth my time effort and energy. Due to this time of losing my home, my job, being in an abusive relationship, etc. I have learned a lot about myself and about life in general. To anyone who may be struggling at this time, please keep the faith!! (whatever your beliefs, this is what I am referring to when I reference faith) I didn’t have a savings, I had mere pennies I was earning. For food and dwelling to live I was lucky enough at the time to have my mom and stepdad…however 4 months after moving in with them my mom was diagnosed with cancer and gone in two-weeks. There is much more to my story that would make your jaw drop…and I am happy to share, just not in this forum. (Tory, I am happy to share my store with you as it may benefit others if you’d like to write on me just email me and I will share it with you)

    My point for sharing this much so far…
    Is so many people are guilty of identifying who they are through their career or position within a company. Especially when they have worked so long and so hard to create a wonderful life planning for retirement. When this is gone many people are faced with a shocking reality that they have no idea who they are and may not be able to handle that feeling. (been there) I have had weeks of only having 33 cents in my pocket to last me 5 days….and the sinking hope I have enough gas to get me to the next down fall of money. I kept believing in me, my faith, and realizing I WILL make it through this. I always considered myself to be a weak person as others in past said that I was…however have learned through my own life over the last 7 years that it took a very strong, driven, individual to make it through all that I have and with such an amazing outlook on life. It’s no longer okay to put ALL of your worth in one basket providing it all to someone else. Save some for you, for whatever it is you want to use it for.

    Mind you, I may have a job, however I am still struggling to make it paycheck to paycheck. Key-I am doing it. I see the light and the dreams in my future. NOTE: This doesn’t necessarily mean a six-figure income….

    From my heart – Begin to identify with another path in your life. Step out of your comfort zone and believe that there is something else left for you to do, you just haven’t found it yet. It may not even be another job that will lead you to this path. Keep your heart open!

  87. Amanda

    The sad story of your friend is very similar to my own mother’s story. Sadly, she, too, passed away of a heart attack that we know was brought about by her employment situation. After working for 30 years in the same company and being referring to as a legend in the mainly male-dominated industry she was let go very unexpectedly, because she “made too much money.” She loved her job, was happy in her position and was good at what she did. After a year she found other employment but she was overqualified and underpaid. Depression set in, her health started to deteriorate and she slowly went down hill. Very sad indeed how top notch employees are treated now days.

    • Daphne Buck

      Sad to say this has become all to common in this here the United States of America. The same has happened in my household while my husband and I try to hold on to our positive mental mindset for the sake of our children. Losing EVERYTHING but each other we stress the importance of relationships. But to be honest I put up a good front but there are days depression has such a grip I feel as if I’m drowning. Who cares anyone does it takes someone dying to gain attention. I just hope for better for my children and their friends. I am trying to believe in that hope our fore fathers founded this country on hard work. Right now I feel my family is losing to greed and a less compassionate society.

  88. Ruth Leichter

    Tory, as a long time reader I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. Attended one of your seminars several years ago and hope you have not lost your positive attitude as you have helped so many people, and I’m sure you will continue to do so. I retired from my federal job four years ago, moved to Grand Forks, North Dakota from the metro DC area to be near grandchildren. Expected to get a job consulting in civil rights, my field for the last 20 years. It seems I’m one of the few who can’t get a job in this area; the consensus is that there is no discrimination here. I know different after applying for a few part-time jobs. “Overqualified” they all tell me. I think it’s because I’m now 67 and can’t stand in one place for more than a few minutes at a time. Not many administrative jobs here, but for those interested plenty of retail and further west lots of jobs in the oil fields of North Dakota.
    Unemployment for those of us with a strong work ethic can be devastating. Only with a lot of emotional and sometimes financial support can we make it. I’m one of the lucky ones I can get by on my retirement pay and social security, but I am certainly surprised at how life turned out for us baby boomers. Thanks for listening. We must all remember to be grateful for what we have everyday.

  89. Terri

    I am so sorry for the loss of your family friend. The folks on Theatre Talk (NY 1) mentioned his passing and spoke highly of him.

    Thank you for your article! It is an important topic and you make several significant points. Most of the millions of people who are out of work are desperate to get back to work for reasons of self-worth as much as for the money. They have exhausted all options for finding employment and have depleted their finances too. It is a dire situation.

    We are experiencing a structural change in business and employment. The government and the media continue to spin misleading data. Few jobs are being created and the jobs that are created require skills people do not have and cannot learn (Bio-statistician in Genomics). The Department of Labor checks the same box for a part-time $8.00 an hour job as it does for full-time $100,000 job. Employers will not hire older workers because it negatively impacts the cost of the company’s healthcare plan. The nation needs to accept the fact that this is a permanent change in the employment picture. Until we redefine the problem, we cannot begin to address it.

  90. Susan O'Brien

    Tory, You don’t remember me but I met you when you were starting your career work. I knew immediately you were the real thing, dedicated to serious help; since then I’ve sent many people to your web site and passed on a lot of your information. I was running my own career management company then, and I have helped many people to change careers. It is not easy; it requires a great deal of work, and a skilled interpreter of written analysis, to change directions. There is no doubt that age is a very negative factor in being able to find a new career or re-direct the past. Our government could really help by providing career counselors who actually know how to re-direct those now disadvantaged in the market. I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your friend; I have worked on a newspaper myself. These losses hurt everyone in our society.

    Thank you, Tory, for your good work to try to alleviate these terrible situations.

    Susan O’Brien

  91. Thank you Tory for bringing the human face of this to the media. Statistics just don’t tell the story in the way it needs to be told.

    I was a workforce investment board director who, because of politics, lost my job in March of 2008. I have not been able to find a decent job since then. Imagine how embarrassing it has been for me to have overseen the workforce system for two counties and to not be able to get a job for myself in five years! I went from overseeing the welfare to work system to becoming one of the clients when my husband and I had to turn to getting food stamps last year. I have two masters degrees..have done everything I was told would assure me a secure life…. And, when I found myself out of work, I did try to start a business… but starting a business takes capital that you just don’t have when you are out of work. My husband and I have not been able to pay our mortgage for years…the business he was working for had to lay him off because of the economy about three years ago. My husband is a very talented carpenter…one of those guys who can do anything…and he wound up taking a job as a handyman at a horse farm for 13.00 an hour just to get out of the house and do something. We have not put in a garden in five years because we are afraid we are going to be thrown out of the house at any minute. We have not put up a Christmas tree in five years because there just is no joy..and certainly no gifts. We did contemplate suicide last year…we even had a plan for how to do it…that is how sad and desperate we became. Family in other states who are doing well have abandoned us saying they are “embarrassed and ashamed of us.”
    People can be so cold and cruel when they don’t understand. The funny thing is that they are the “religious” people in the family…LOL! That is what is saddest of all…the lack of information getting out to the public is so poor…(I believe there are no journalists anymore, just bought and paid for spinmeisters), that it is causing the poor to blame the poor! The right wing factions of this country have been so duped (or bought off)that they actually have their “flocks” believing that this is a crisis caused by6 lazy poor people…rather than the truth that intelligent people understand (along with nearly every academic economist in the country)that the game has been rigged by the wealthy and the poor are not just getting poorer…everyone is getting poorer…unless you are ultra wealthy.

    The good news for us is that the horse farm my husband works for happens to be owned by a multi-millionaire who has offered to provide us with health insurance (we had not had health insurance in over five years!)..and doubled my husband’s salary because he likes his work. That has help immensely, but it still is not a salary two people can live on in Northern New Jersey. I started doing some consulting work last month…but it is spotty. The funny thing is that I am being asked to speak all over the country (for free of course)….but because of my outspokenness about how broken the workforce system is and how they need to be working more closely with economic development, I have become a national thought-leader! And still, I cannot get a job!

    I am a big fan of the work that Robert Reich is doing. It is a conversation that is long past due about what it means to be a US citizen. But I have even bigger questions. Ross Perot told us with his voodoo stick many years ago that NAFTA was good for him as a business man, but was a bad deal for the American worker. He said wages in Mexico would go up to 7.00 an hour and wages in the US would go down to 7.00 per hour. He was right. So some of the bigger questions are: Do multinational corporations now run the world? And if so, has the US lost its economic status for good? What is the vision for the US…ten years from now, 50 years from now? Will there be a United States of America…or one world government run by a handful of wealthy people. Is it too late for the US to turn this around and emulate what Iceland did in throwing out their government and rewriting the constitution?

    As a woman of faith, I do believe that this is a lesson that humanity needs to learn. That humans are simply not spiritually evolved enough and are therefore incapable of governing themselves. Because truly, even if we fix this economic crisis within our borders, there will still be billions of people in the world who are living in far worse circumstances. So, the big questions lie in front of us…not just what it means to be a US citizen…but what it means to be a citizen of the world.

  92. Tory & (Peter),

    Please accept my deepest condolences in your loss. No one should ever feel pain or that kind of lowly being — pink slip or not. But, in reality, it does happen. As a Transformation Life Coach and a survivor of 2 corporate layoffs and the loss of my fiance in 2011 to suicide, I feel their pain. No thing can prepare you for the days that turn into months that turn into years of not recognizing your life as you ‘planned’ it. Well meaning family, friends and others offer the necessary “keep your head up”, “I’m praying for you”, “something will turn around” type of pep talks. But, you and I know in the end, it does take a permanent decision to first LIVE and then to reinvent ones self. And it’s deeply scary, yet exciting all wrapped up in one.

    As I coach my clients on career transition, and various deep life changes – the one commonality that determines their “bounceback’ability – is their strong sense of HOPE that something is on the other side that is brighter. And that “something”, has no face or form…it’s just that…something. With “something” tucked away in your heart and soul, the path may still be painful, tearful and uncertain, but with every hopeful step, a new piece of you is born. So, it may not be easy. In fact, it won’t be easy. But, with support, a plan and “something” to hold on to – trust me, SOMETHING will form and it will be beautiful and it will be your new life.

    May you be brave enough to weather this storm – no matter the duration. I’m on the other side of my storm; and sure enough others are also. YOU can be too!

    Warmest regards,
    AS

    p.s. When I say I’m on the other side of my storm, that is indeed inclusive of the understanding that there may be another storm for me to face down the line. But hopefully, not with such a punch. Even still – I now remain even more hopeful that something brighter is on the other side. Blessings.

  93. Hmmm…All heartfelt messages. Thank You for sharing.
    A Reality Check…Proof that no one is “exempt!” We are ALL “in this” together, indirectly or directly. We are all vulnerable. If not today, possibly tomorrow.
    Consider one’s life experiences as a series of “character building moments” where some actually leave you speechless and without explanation while others catapult you to unbelievable “places.”
    Reactions to your messages will be as unique as the individuals reading them and the sooner we realize this the better “the action plan/strategy” will be that is implemented. “Cookie cutter reactions” to such life changing events do NOT make sense. Much like earning a college degree is a “false sense of security” – no one “HAS” to hire you but an education is something that no one could take away from you. It’s more about the “application” of the “theory learned” that will make the difference. There are, however, ABSOLUTE measures that one can take that will “increase your chances” of turning things around for the better. Operative phrase, “Improve your chances..” since there are no guarantees and/or entitlements in life for all of your accomplishments and operative word, “Unique!” There is only ONE YOU, so acknowledge, embrace and claim your valuable “unique human asset!” “Re-package” yourself! Highlight your talents, skills, contributions, accomplishments, acts of kindness, experience, education, etc., etc. like NO ONE ELSE CAN! Your presence…your being ALIVE… had a unique affect on “life.” Hint…the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life!” Take inventory of “your life!” Submerse yourself in who you are, what you have accomplished, where you’ve been, your passions, your ambitions, “desire to finish those things you started,” etc. There is no doubt, that along your journey of “discovering/re-discovering yourself,” you will experience an “epiphany…an…aha moment” that will show you the way…your next step, open doors, etc. Keep it simple and light, be patient, believe, keep moving, step out, take action, stay engaged with others and in life and success will find you. A newer and better life is truly a decision to “own it” away. Decide to…Discover…Act…and Succeed every time! And live the life you were meant to live.

  94. Viv

    I don’t think I can add anything to all these comments, except to chime in as one more caught between the too much vs. not enough experience. Being a middle aged woman, I never expected to be so terrified and lack such positive thoughts for my future.

  95. Amy W

    I am an RN in Pennsylvania who has been unemployed for the past year. I love when people tell me to start my own business. With what?? The unemployment checks I get that don’t cover the bills? This is the first time in my 51 years of life that I have not had health insurance, and forget Obamacare…..it would have cost me 1/3 of my income!! For a plan that covers 60% of any care and a $6000 deductible? Are there jobs, a few, however the local big hospital system never actually hires anybody, they just interview 5 or 6 times. After a while you feel worthless, depressed, unimportant, and the entire human resources experience is enough to put you over the edge. Every HR department needs to be shut down and re-invented. I would have loved a job, any job, however I was too experienced and educated to work at a walmart, kmart or local stores. I truly believe there should be legislation passed: jobs go first to veterans, then people on unemployment, then people who already have jobs are last in line.

  96. Tory- first, I am very sorry for the loss of your friend. What a tragedy for his family. Thank you for so eloquently and passionately describing the fate of so many. All I can say is – Shame on you Employers for being so callous and shallow to discard people for irrelevant issues. Shame on Congress for not doing way more to help.people reinvent themselves. These folks are our fellow Americans;they are our neighbors, families and friends. When did this great nation stop caring about our own citizens? Loosely quoting someone I can’t remember exactly who said ” it’s hard to pull yourself up by your bootstraps when you have no boots”
    Time for change America!

  97. Roxanne

    Tory, I am deeply saddened by your loss. My story is a little different. I chose to be a stay at home mom in the 70′s. I thought this would be a good thing to do. I planned to marry once, stay married to this man until we died. Not an elaborate plan. What I did not plan on was divorce with only a high school education and two teenage daughters to now care for on my own. Lived in the back of my truck,that thankfully was paid off. I lived in a college town and no one wanted a full time person, even if that meant feeding my children and not living in a shelter. They would only hire part time (which I was willing to take). I was 38, no home and no money. It is a horrible place to find yourself suddenly.
    So, I went to college got my AS degree, still no work. So, I went back to school and now have my BS and still no job. I am currently on Medicaid, my daughters are now grown and married. Now in my 50′s I still have no career job. No one will say it but no one wants to hire an older person. In shear desperation I started a hobby that might be a business. I just started doing what I know how to do. Sew. I teach sewing and make things to sell and alterations, custom, costume design, interior design. Anything to bring in money. I now need to narrow the work into one direction and maybe I will make more this way. I have been deeply depressed about not having a career. Enough money so I can breathe and not count every penny. I went through any retirement money I had, spent all my savings and now have a huge college loan to pay off.

  98. I had the perfect career-it was everything I had ever wanted in a career. About 1 year into it, pain entered my life. When I realized that the pain wasn’t going away, I said to myself, “I will Not let this pain take my career from me!!” I worked for the next 3 years with crippling pain every single day. I couldn’t do it anymore! I went into a 2 month long Deep depression ~ I didn’t leave my chair unless I had to, didn’t eat, shower or talk unless somebody made me. When the deep depression lifted I discovered PartyLite and being a Consultant has helped some, but I’m still depressed 7 years later! Having your job/career taken from you steals your identity, that’s all there is to it!

  99. Stephanie Maginot

    Tory
    Thank you for this article, you are absolutely correct about all of it. Jacques was my uncle, and I was more disgusted than I was pleased by the glowing obituary/article for Jacques on LoHud the other day. He WAS an amazing writer and a true journalistic asset to Gannet, and they threw him away as if his career was nothing. Of course he deserves all of the accolades he has received thus far and more, but you are the first public voice I have seen thus far who has pointed out that losing his career also meant losing his identity for Jacques.

    Thanks again.

  100. Valerie Brown

    Tory – first, my condolences on the loss of your friend. And, secondly, thank you so much for bringing this issue to light and writing it so eloquently! As I read this, my heart sanked because I’ve been in the same situation with my husband as he was laid off from the telecom industry back in 2002 and was unable to find comparable work for many years. It was very rough and I was a stay-at-home mom. He finally landed a government job in 2007 after looking for 4 long years with all kinds of rejection such as being overqualified and being a risk. And, trying to find ANY job doesn’t work! It is very unfortunate how this country has changed regarding employment and particularly towards the more seasoned and matured workers. I even fear for my future career as I move into my 50s in a few years where labor can be gotten for cheaper and the expertise isn’t valued. It’s really sad but I am trying to keep the faith and keep that glimpse of HOPE in my spirit. I agree, it’s time for a change America! Thanks again for writing such a poignant article!

  101. Heartbreaking and horrible. Please see my company’s web site – (bspllc.info – I own a recruiting firm called Barrante Search Partners, LLC in Upstate NY) – and the articles I have written in the site about discrimination against the unemployed and other “legal” forms of discrimination. I felt like I was going out on a limb to say the things I have said in my company’s site but now I feel more than ever that I am on the right track and do have my heart and mind in the right place regardless of what some potential clients may take offense to. Thanks for your time. Ray

  102. Tory
    Thanks for sharing your email about your Friend and others who have been pushed aside and feel lost after being downsized or replaced by technology, cost cutting, restructure or just eliminated!
    Many of us have also seen the writing on the wall as companies move towards better profits by hiring younger qualified people and pushing out aging employees.
    Having been in the airline business for 26 years, in 2005 I basically walked away, to me it was obvious that as a Flight Attendant it was only getting more difficult to give the service standard I had been hired in 1979 to give at Pan American World Airways. After being “acquired” in 1991 I was constantly reminded by my “New” Airline that acquired me how “lucky” I was they chose to keep me. This was after I was told I would be an asset to them because of my second language they needed.
    However 3 months later without any reason, I was told if I dropped my language I could go back to my original Pan American base in Los Angeles and fly domestically. ( I had been forced to commute and be based in New York when hired by this airline) This was a pay cut and step down in my world. However with a 4 year old daughter the thought of not having to commute to New York was so much more important. By the way I had also lost 6 years of seniority. Another thing we had been promised was a “fair and equitable” integration of seniority. As a Flight Attendant seniority is EVERYTHING, and I lost more pay this way.

    As the years passed, I watched this company go through more downsizing and cuts of service. Bottom line it always affected my PAY Check and didn’t give me much if any security for my future.
    In 2005 I made the decision to take a small early out package. No medical, No Buy out, just a promise of stand-by FREE flying for 26 years. This turned out to be a “yield fare” and keeps changing, it is impossible to get on flights and almost as expensive as buying a full fare ticket unless I am trying to Fly International , however even that now means paying Airport taxes…which start for some cites at $200 per person.
    I will tell you, I loved my career with the airlines, I am not bitter, I understand it is a business, however people like me are not replaced easily, yes there are NEW Younger Flight Attendants, are they the Flight Attendants I worked with at The World’s Favorite Premier Airline Pan American? No they are not! For me it was easy, when I knew I was becoming unappreciated and could be replaced and not missed because my expertise and dedication was not needed or appreciated, for me it was time to find new horizon’s.
    Fast forward to September 2006, after my business partner and I decided opening a “Fancy” Top Of the line Bed and Bath shop might not be such a great idea with the economy slowing down, I was introduced to a NEW Network Marketing Business.
    I am now in a business I love, I make my hours and answer to those that appreciate my time and energy, my TEAM and I are building a residual income, by working together as entrepreneurs.
    Is it easy? No. Has it taken lots of work? YES, anything worth doing takes time and energy. It has been so worth it. I am now meeting people from all over the world again, this time with a business I really love, I get paid to share and eat Healthy Chocolate Products, that are changing lives with benefits for Anti-Aging, and Disease. The science is out there and so my expertise is now educating and spreading the word while helping others to be successful!.
    I know Tory Johnson tells the story of how her life changed and how she reinvented herself, however she was also open to connecting and learning. I feel so sad for anyone who has lost a career they love. All I want to share is that anything can be possible if you keep an open mind and are willing to get out of your box.
    With time our parents and grandparents all had to adapt to change. I chose as did Tory to reinvent myself. We all have many special talents and we just need to be still and listen to our inner voice. What is it that we are passion about? Tory found helping others with her story which led her all the way back full circle to being on TV!
    I love working with people and my passion is Health, not medical Health but true Natural Health. With our Healthcare changes and Baby Boomers aging I find people are looking for the solutions of staying young and healthy.
    Anti-Aging and Health is set to be a TRILLION dollar business, so reinventing ourselves while helping others be healthy is a winning solution!
    What a blessing to know that I am helping with health and Wealth, because in 2014 and beyond, Health is the NEW WEALTH!
    Be open, Be positive and Network like Tory! There is hope as long as you do not give up!

  103. Jeanne

    My friend had been arranging care for her demented father and then staying with him her self at night. When after several hospitalizations he needed to stay ing long term care facility but the money was running out she found she would have to take him back home and quit her job to stay with him. She gave notice but her father died Monday before her Final Friday. She immediately called her employer to say she was rescinding her resignation but was told her position was eliminated and that she was not to return. No good deed unpunished: Her marriage is still on the rocks and she went unemployed for more than two years until she was hired two levels below her previous achievement with a different company.

  104. Like most of the comments above, I can relate to this on so many levels. Being “downsized” when you are the oldest and most paid on your team makes financial SHORT term sense (okay, I admit I had to say this to myself to feel better some days). What doesn’t make sense is that you get replaced with younger, less experienced people who end up costing the company more in the long run. It can make you feel worthless if the only way you identify yourself is with your career/job/position. I had an inner battle that left me feeling irrelevant on some days and other days unstoppable. That battle was one I thought I was prepared for when I got the news about losing my job. I was wrong. It’s much harder to pick yourself up and dust yourself off than you think it would be. However, I learned in my 21 year career to FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT. I applied that as often as I could. Pretending to be “alright” was a daily practice. I guess the difference to me was having my plan B in place for years – so I didn’t have to go find it. I cut out a step and probably saved some time brooding over being let go in my prime. Your plan B isn’t the saving grace though. Your attitude and fortitude of being the captain of your ship has to be the deepest burning desire you’ve ever had. I don’t ever want to feel the way I did when I was let go. I’m my own boss now and though I’ve not replaced my income YET, the bigger picture is way more appealing to me. There are REAL opportunities out there. Find yours in spite of yourself. Dream big. Do the work it takes to tap into your most potential and don’t be afraid of the unknown.

  105. Debbie

    I left the corporate world when I had my daughter. I went back to school to become a teacher. They didn’t tell you at the college that it would be difficult to find a teaching position. So what are the options for Baby Boomers? I cannot find a job as a teacher (I’m assuming because all of the wonderful changes our govenor has changed) and I cannot go back to corporate because I have been out too long. So what do you do. I’m 57 too young too retire and too old to get a job!

  106. I also have much sympathy for your dear friend. Unfortunately, in my own personal life, have experienced the same kind of work denial. After working dilligently for the last company I was employed with for ten years, I was abruptly called into HR and fired for sending out a complimentary report to a potential client. The intent was to generate more work once they saw how great the report was and how much it would mean to their company. Yes, in all the years employed, since the age of 17, I was totally devasted and embarrassed to think that after working so hard I would be fired. If I were late for work, drank, smoked or caused trouble I could see why; but not for trying to generate work on their behalf. Yes, please, can we do something about this? Almost out of all 401K money and may end up on the streets as well.

  107. I just finished a radio program yesterday “Tell Me About Your Work”. I discussed the bad parts of jobs, and a professional “Plan B” along with Career counselors and agents. I discussed setting up career groups for people to use, the same as people used to start job hunting groups. I wish I had had this article before I finished recorded it. It will run on http://www.intentionradio.com/Workplacesthawork and airs every Wednesday at 6:00 PM Pacific.

    Can I use these examples in one of my programs? In addition to the career “Plan B” groups, I am advocating full time 4 hr shifts for people approaching or at retirement age.
    Phone 778-481-4883

  108. Kay

    I too am so sorry for your loss, but I can identify. I was a VP in a Bank Trust Divsion working with the operations side of stocks and bond settlement for 13 years then left to work with my Husband for 22 years with our own contracting service to the Motorsports industry. I had to leave that in 2006 to care for my Mother who had beat colon cancer only to develope Alzheimer’s.(we relocated to a different state to care for Mom) I worked in a kennel for a year but Mom became 24/7. She lived on SS. In Sept 2011 it all became too much for my husband(we were married for 32 years) and he took his own life followed by my Mother’s death December that same year. I have no confidence left and have been out of the workforce for too long. I never had to apply for work until 2006 as opportunity came my way too with hard work and dedication. I am struggling with only a portion of my husbands SS as I am 62. I understand how people feel and it is so devastating to be in this position. At this age they don’t even give you the opportunity to interview most of the time. I too feel worthless. If it was not for my resuce dogs I would not get up in the morning. I also have a badly curved spine and not able to do what I use to but turned down for disability. Not much purpose to life most of the time. I have two older Aunts that I am here for but that is it. Being secluded with Mom for all those years makes me feel so alone now. I pray for those struggling. We were raised to work hard and gave it everything. We do not want hand-outs. I am trying to find my way but it is tough. Mom raised 4 girls mostly on her own and never had help of any kind but never complained either. It was a different world. Glad I was raised then and not now. May God bless everyone who truly struggles and tries to do things with pride and dignity not wanting to just take.

  109. Tory,

    I am very sorry to read about your friend and angry to read your article and the comments, the many comments. My husband is like your friend, being laid off at 53 almost killed him and he never found another job. I was laid off the first time at at 41 and after struggling for two years looking for work, took a temp job and when it fizzled out in three years, decided my grandmother was right. She had raised me to never buy into the “corporate” vision of working for one company to guarantee safety. So I honed my skills of owning a business and doing it from no money out of the pot, took contracting jobs to pay for what we needed until the business started making money.

    The one thing I really regret is the lack of training and education we receive in our educational institutions on running our own business. I had to learn some things the hard way. But in the end, even though I’m now 60, and don’t plan on “retiring” ever I will be able to make my own way and a way for my husband as well.

    Kudos to the woman who sews, I wish she lived in Texas, I need some things made but it’s always hard to find someone who’s good.

    Blessings to all and hopes they find that open door or window and not pass it by.

    Sara in Dallas

  110. Brenda Hoffman

    Hi Tory, So sorry for the loss of your dear friend. While reading your article I started to cry…this is our story. At age 50 my husband lost his job, without warning of 20 years due to downsizing. 15 months had passed and only three job interviews, countless phone interviews and still no job offers. Our three young adult children live with us making us ineligible for any kind of assistance because their income (little as it is) put us over the limits. I thought how are we going to handle all this? Take each day as it comes. More than half our income was gone and so was are health coverage. My job pays under 16,000 a year and health benefits are not an option so I got a second job and used retirement funds to pay the mortgage. Both jobs totaling 60 – 65 hours per week. My husband went through bouts of depression, anxiety, worthlessness and not knowing how to exist without a job. I danced around the question, “how’s job hunting going?” because I could see that my hubby’s soul was only partially intact. Finally, a job interview with an offer. 2 1/2 months have passed and hubby is working, for much less and we have health coverage…..if you can call it that. I’m still working both jobs and have been able to cut my hours to 55 a week. My second job is working for a retail store and I have met 10 women between the ages of 40 – 65 who’s story is similar to all the above. I don’t know what any of us can do, but we all should be sending our letters to the President or Congress or someone because this is unacceptable and a change is needed. Missed the President’s State of the Union speech but the next day on GMA one of the news anchors asked Joe Biden something about jobs in our country and his response went something like this….they are abundant, everyone should have no difficulty finding a job, What world is he living in????

  111. Arcelia

    For all of those looking for a solid and reputable opportunity, I would encourage checking out Stella & Dot. Click on events if you wish to learn more in person. A wonderful, flexible entrepreneurial opportunity!

  112. Terri

    Tory, I am a downsized banker in the Buffalo, NY area. I was laid off in June, 2013 and started a temporary position (11 month contract) one week after my unemployment ran out. I am fortunate, as some of my co-workers are still looking. I am paying for COBRA because my husband is recovering from organ transplant surgery, and I am wary of changing health insurance plans with the continuing battle over the Affordable Healthcare Act endangering changes to mandatory coverage for pre-existing conditions. My husband is self-employed and beginning to make money again, but our savings is severely depleted and my only hope is to work long enough to rebuild our savings and earn more unemployment benefits before the next layoff hits. The bank that I am working for now has a hiring freeze. I am continuing to look for permanent employment, but I don’t believe in long-term employment anymore. No person’s job is safe in the current economy.

  113. Delia

    Your email arrived on a day when I could barely get out of bed because I just don’t know what else to do. My heartfelt sympathies for your and Peter’s loss. It is a tragedy that we all must know more than one person who died because of a job loss. And it is not so much about the sense of what do we do now? because I think we can all do something with our time. It is that we lose our self-confidence, our reason for being, our purpose. So many books – and I’ve tried to read many of them – tell us that when we know our purpose, the world conspires to help us. But after 30 years of working with purpose and drive, I don’t know what else there is. When I lost my job two years ago, I did the network marketing thing but there are so few people with disposable income here that my profits were low even though I enjoyed the work. At the heart of the matter, though, is loyalty. I used to think it was a badge of honor. I was loyal to Maria Shriver, her husband and mother, whom I learned so much from and loved dearly. I worked at Special Olympics, my dream job, but got laid off. I moved to California and worked until I decided to serve the Schwarzenegger administration. I thought I did a great job but when it was time to leave, I got nothing, not even a thank you. Others seemed to find cushy jobs but when Maria was asked for a recommendation, she ignored it. It doesn’t cost her anything to support me after I gave my blood, sweat and tears to her family for 22 years. This defines what we are facing today. Our loyalty means nothing to the bottom line. It doesn’t matter that we are much better educated, have proper manners and our work ethic is impeccable. I have no answers. I’ve tried everything: books, seminars, temp agencies, online applications nationwide, webinars, networking and now I am at the brink with no more money to pay my meager bills. People say, never give up. But I say, when will someone with power rise out of this country’s mediocrity and help us?

  114. Kim E

    I can relate to being long-termed unemployed. I know how depresed, angry and worthless you can feel. I credit my acension in attitude to the support I have received from my spirituality and a really good friend. Some people have walked away like I had some contagious disease called “umemployment”. “Don’t Give Up” Love those who show you love, your family, friends. Life has changec but for many of us for the better. I can now look back and see my lay-off in 2010 was a Blessing. Open Your Heart to All the Great People and Things in Your Life. Life Changes, But Love Endures — That is Love for Yourself.

  115. Tamara

    Tory
    My condolences goes out to you and your husband for the loss of your friend. This reading really touched home. I was just terminated from my employer for putting myself in harms way attempting to protect others. The saddest part about it is that I was let go without warning nor had the support from my management team in seeing if I was okay or inquired about what had happened. Job searching and interviewing is so draining But we continue to be positive and motivated. I had made a comment to a friend of mine that I could no longer apply 200% into future jobs and she instantly reminded me not to allow this incident change my character of being a hard working and dedicated worker. I continue to keep my head held up high and trusting that I will get my big break soon! Thank you for sharing your story! Very touching!

  116. Patricia

    My colondence on the loss of your friend. Thank you for putting this out there. I was laid off in 2008 after a 16 year career in the mortgage industry. Since then I have struggled to find full time work. I volunteer with a non-profit foundation and recently obtained employment with a small business owner. It’s not the corporate world, but now I am able to support myself. I was a single mother and raised three children in Los Angeles to go on and graduate from college. I have know for a while there is somthing wrong with our society, but there are two side to very story. Some of my peers are unwilling to turn the world over to the next generation. There are opportunities everywhere you look, you have to be flexible and willing to go with the flow and stop trying to running he show. Adopote a simpler lifesyle. Downsize your life when you find your job is dowensize. Discover a skills you can use to supplement your income. I run a yard sale once a month and sell items at a local collectors’ fair. It gives me an opportunity to talk to my neighbors. Enough. i could go on and on. Thank for the forum Tory.

  117. Wow, I can feel so much passion in these e-mails. I want to hug each and every one of you. I am looking to hire independent brokers for sales into health food stores, spas and salons. These are commission only positions but might be perfect for moms who can only work during school hours. All that is required is a love of a healthy lifestyle and honesty. Please contact me if interested. kim@goodforyougirls.com Blessings!

  118. Tricia

    This seems to be a trend now. Once you get close to retirement you are let go. Then it is very hard to find a job since no one wants to hire a senior with all this experience, knowledge and a right to make a good salary for all your hard work and good work ethics.

    Society treats people who have been out of work like they become mush heads who have no idea what is going on in the world and all your skills have left you.

    The only salvation is to start your own business and don’t let them win. Someday the young cowboys will all get the same as they are doing to others they feel threatened by or think age means your not with it. The attitude towards older people needs to change. There is no respect or understanding among the youth of today. The entertainment world only enhances the fact that looking older or being older is bad.

    After reading the comments on this site I don’t feel so alone. I believe that we all need to ban together and fight back. With the help of the internet and being able to reach so many people, our voices can be heard. Maybe someone out there will get it and help fight discrimination against the unemployed.

  119. Dear Tory, We don’t personally know each other but I have followed your journey for years through GMA. Congratulations on your book, weight loss and seminar success! I am very sorry for your loss and wish to thank you for your post bringing the “firing response” to the forefront. It is devastating!! There are no words, except STRESS KILLS.

  120. So sorry for your loss, Tory.

    I’ve been working on reinventing myself for the past three years and it is tough. And living with depression makes everything more difficult – I have struggled with it my whole life. I am sorry that Jacques was not able to overcome this debilitating illness.

    Sahar

  121. Mary

    Sorry to hear of your loss. I was let go after 13 years at the same firm – the impersonal, so long can be painful after you spend time giving your all. And I have spent the last 3 years doing temp and contract work. I am always mindful of the saying ‘There goes me but by the grace of God’. Luckily I have more get up and go and reinvent yourself days. When the doubt and fear creep in I try to take care of myself and give myself a break.

  122. Rose Francis

    My husband went through this… company downsized, another company closed, another company moved their operations out-of-state. What worked best for him was temping for companies, which kept some money coming in, while keeping him up-to-date and aware of what was happening at other companies, which ones he liked and those he didn’t. About three-years into temping at various companies this last time, one of the companies hired him, and he’s been with them for 6 years and ready to retire now.

  123. Cindy

    I am one of the many long-term unemployed. For 14 years I worked for one company but n 2005 my department closed. I worked for a year and a half at one non-profit organization in which the boss screamed frequently and loudly at most of the employees and I developed high blood pressure as a result. The boss fired 17 employees out of a staff of 18 in a year and a half period, including me. At my next job, the boss hired me and when SHE got a new job, her successor was a very young woman who wanted to hire her own assistant. In my last job I got an excellent evaluation and huge bonus, but when I filed a lawsuit for harassment, I got fired. I’ve now been out of work almost 10 months. At every interview they seem dubious about my “job hopping.” I didn’t change jobs by choice. I’ve even tried to get temp jobs but they say they have nothing for me. So it’s either my age, my “job hopping” or their knowledge of my court case (by searching my name online). I have excellent and varied skills and have always received raises and good performance reviews at all my jobs. Now I have nothing. I’ve taken my son of his extra curricular activities because I have no income any longer. I can live off my savings for maybe 2 years. When I see people begging in the subway, I worry it will soon be me. I’m tired of people telling me, “behind every cloud is a silver lining.” Thanks for listening.

  124. Laura Deter

    Wow – you just scared the ______ out of me. My husband was laid off a week ago. He’s only had 2 jobs (one for 20 years as a USAF Officer) in the 32 years we’ve been married. He’s confident in finding a job and I keep trying not to see us living on couches of our siblings or children. We have 3 kids – 2 supporting themselves and one in an expensive private school.
    I do have a business of my own but we’ve relied on his income for just about all our living expenses.
    I’m going to send this and do my best to forget about it and let go of the fears.
    What a crazy world we live in!

  125. Lori

    So sorry for your loss, Tory. I can imagine what your friend was feeling, I’ve been going through my own tale for 7 years. I had a long career in media research, until my last firm went out of business at the end of ’06. I was making good money and had saved up a decent amount. I had some interviews in ’07, it was looking good with one company but then was told they were going through a merger, so there went that one. My mother had a stroke in late ’07, so I took off most of ’08 to help in her recovery. 2008-09 was a baaad time to find a job with the recession and all. In 2009, I had to take a job as a bank teller, which I held onto for 3 1/2 years. During that time, I was transferred to another branch and had to get used to new co-workers, new customers, and in 2012, mom broke her hip and was in a home for 3 months to recover. THEN I had Hurricane Sandy to get through. Lost my car, had no electricity for a few days, no heat or hot water for over a month, and this all truly beat me down so much that I had some trouble at the bank, and was gone by Feb. ’13. It hasn’t been easy since, nothing full-time, took on a newspaper freelance photographer position, unemployment is gone, and I wonder how to go on.

    I’m out of research now 7 years, but still have a glimmer of hope to return to the industry doing something I really enjoyed and was good at. I know much has changed in this time, and I’d love to learn about the new technologies, but who would look at me being out of it for so long? I don’t need a high level position, just something to get my foot back in the door, learn and grow again! I’m 52 and don’t mind starting over! what’s a gal to do? It isn’t easy…

  126. Jennifer

    I am very sorry to hear about your friends. Unfortunately, their stories are ones that too many people can relate to these days.

    I myself was out of a permanent position for approximately 4 years. And although I also worked a couple of temporary positions, finding somewhere permanent to land was brutal. It actually was through networking and temping that I finally got a full time position, and it is something that I would recommend to others as well. There are actually businesses that have sprung up out of the recession, running the gamut from very expensive to free, that base themselves on networking alone.

    Giving up will never be the answer no matter how tempting it may be. It is also easy to devalue yourself as time passes. People will do that for you, you should never do it to yourself. Job hunting is one of the most isolating experiences that there is. If you can attach yourself to a group of other job hunters, it is a great way of helping yourself and others as well as staying accountable. The most important thing is to stay positive and do something to further the search everyday. The minute you stop, the easier it will get to accept defeat.

  127. Allison Cote

    I have tears in my eyes as I write this. My heart is going out to you Tory, as well as each and everyone of you who has replied. My perspective is a litte unique in that I am 24, pursuing my master’s degree, and up till having read this, have had unwavering confidence in my future. Too easily, though, does a topic like this get swept under the rug.

    My parents are approaching their 60′s, and in 2008, both were laid off just a few weeks before Christmas. Dad feel into a deep depression, and Mom–I love her dearly–acted as an ostrich with its head in the sand, being picky about what little work she could find. Neither one have the computer skills to be competitive in any sort of job market, so they are stuck working retail, janitorial, or manual labor jobs.

    My boyfriend is an Iraq veteran, having served with the first wave of troops that were part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After his contract was up, he stayed in Germany for 10 years, where he married and started a family. Less than two years ago, his ex-wife sent him back to the States with just his Army duffle full of clothes. At 30 years old, he has enrolled in a local university and is working towards a degree that may not even provide him a career by the time he is finished. Until you know a Veteran and what they go through on a daily basis after they have served, you nevertheless fully understand how difficult their lives are once they come home. Many have told him to find a job where his skills would be transferable, but an Army Scout’s skills don’t transfer very easily. They are the ones doing the late-night recon. They are the ones conducting the raids. They are the ones in the gun fights and facing hand-to-hand combat. Scouts are the soldiers who see the action that Hollywood just dolls up with special effects and make-up. So, what does he have to look forward to after serving our country, and to this day, still being the most patriotic person I know?

    Then there’s me: a 24-year-old grad student trying to find her way. I love to learn, and the fact that I could be overwhelmed by student loans until my future children have children, doesn’t deter me from wanting to pursue other degrees. I landed what seemed to be a dream job for someone like me. After working tons of part-time jobs, (at one point, six at a time and still going to school full-time), I scored a municipal job utilizing my degree with the promise of benefits that only a government job could offer. Heck, the opportunity for my student loans to be forgiven is there at the 10-year mark! Just last week, I was abruptly told I wasn’t a good fit. Me, someone who has always worked hard, is well-spoken, a team player, a quick-study and eager to learn any aspect of the job, and has been praised up until this point is suddenly, “not a good fit.” Hypothetically, if I were to lose this job, I have no back up plan. I’m already experiencing anxiety without having even lost my job.

    I agree that it is hard to love a country that simply discards its citizens in favor of higher profits or cutting costs. It’s inevitable that a growing body of unemployed people will cost more in the long run–more in unemployment costs, more in Medicaid, more in other state benefits, like SNAP. So, why are we letting our leaders run our country based on their short-term goals that fuel their private agendas?

    • Allison Cote

      Oh, the irony. Wrote my response on this thread last night; was laid-off today.

  128. Loretta Reid

    I am convinced that the people in your message are not finding meaningful work because they are too old. I am 63 and having a difficult time convincing people that I can do the job; I will not retire…cannot afford to. Companies are hiring the young. I would accept an internship…non-paying …until management realized the contribution I can make to the organization. I wish we could prove we are a discriminated group. I wish the government would investigate why so many older professionals are not working! It makes me sick. I am so sorry for your friend who died, literally, from a broken heart.

  129. Becky Siebenthaler

    Tory, it’s very evident that you thought long and hard about this and then wrote from your torn heart. This is one of the most open and honest pieces I’ve read about the damage being done to so many of us.

    I’m 63 now and am collecting my Social Security because I have no choice – and believe me, I’m extremely grateful I’m able to have it. The last ‘regular’ job I had (as a temp/contract) ended in May of 2010 and there was no more work from the agency. I was very grateful to be on unemployment.

    I closed my sole proprietorship of 21 years almost three years ago and downsized myself to freelancer; even that hasn’t materialized into anything significant.

    There have been two concurrent extenuating circumstances for the past nine years that have added extra layers to the basic problem of earning my living, but the fact remains that after having worked for hire since I was 15 (not counting babysitting since I was 11) I’m being forced into early retirement.

    My very sincere condolences to your husband and to you, Tory. And my condolences and empathy are given to all those who are experiencing the pain of not being needed or even wanted in the working world. I read the first few comments and couldn’t read any more. The first time it happened to me was Detroit, 1982. I never did fully recover financially; I even lived out of my car for three months. The world has changed so very, very much since then, but the bottom line rules the kingdom even more now.

    We are the generation that was supposed to change the world for the better – to find alternatives to the mindsets behind gold watch retirements, to lead balanced lives with plenty of love for ourselves and others. Look how far we didn’t get.
    I read the first few comments; I couldn’t read any more.

  130. Tammy

    Tory, my heart breaks for your husband in the loss of his good friend, along with his friend’s family as well.

    These posts of downsizing, pinkslips, etc. are gut wrenching and hit too close to home. February 15, 2014 will mark the 15th month that the lights went off in my and my husband’s lifestyle. We were second generation restaurant owners, (50 years for the family, 30 years for my husband and I) just having built a new $2.4 million restaurant, bringing up the third generation in our operation. You see, we trusted an investor that was a friend, had broke bread with us at Thanksgiving AND Christmas time to assist us financially in our dream. Six months after opening our beautiful new franchise restaurant, our world came to an end. The promises that had been made by our “friends” were nothing more now than just broken promises.

    As a person that has dealt with depression most of my adult life, this was a scary time for me. We lost everything except for our two vehicles and very modest house! Living in a town for 30 years and being very well known and successful business people, losing hundreds of thousnds of dollars, we were both almost 50 years old and where were we to find a job?

    Luckily, one month after opening our restaurant I had taken a look at a network (NOT MLM!) marketing company and decided to become a member. This company was different than any of the others I had been involved with previously……..NO PRODUCTS TO SELL! My husband and I both now work 100% with this company and we love it, this is our only income. We regret that this company was not introduced to us 17 years ago at the time of it’s inception. We now have the vehicle in our hand that is truly helping people through this rough economy……saving and earning money.

    I guess what I would really like to say is……keep your minds open to network marketing, please. There are many successful businessmen that own/have owned network marketing companies, Warren Buffet and Ted Turner are a few. Whichever company you choose to become involved with, be sure to check their credentials, i.e. member of the Direct Selling Association (DSA -very important)

    If it had not been for God, our faith, family, friends, and our network marketing company……..I am not sure we would have made it to where we are today! We are much happier people, very positive, less stressed, traveling fools, surrounded by like minded people, and I am happy to say……..bye, bye depression! WE ARE IN THE PEOPLE HELPING PEOPLE BUSINESS……THIS IS OUR PASSION!

    Keep your head up and your minds OPEN……..take a look at network marketing. It just might save your life, and the lives of the ones you love!

  131. Deborah Boot-Bini

    Hi Tory,

    First, I am sorry for your loss. Our family has lost 3 people this year already.

    My horror story began in 2008, when I was let go from a career position due to the economic downturn. I loved my job and had been doing it for 30 years. It has ripped me inside out.

    The same week, one of my adult nephews came to live with us. The following Monday, my mom was diagnosed with eye diseases. I got her through 7 eye surgeries. Then breast cancer. She is fine now *thank god*… but my caretaking collided with absolutely no job prospects. Therefore…the 3 Fs are such a reality.

    My husband has been so supportive, working every bit of overtime he can get. We are grateful that his company is doing well. We are so lucky. I am 56 but I have been left with lots of physical problems not to mention the huge identity crisis I battle with daily. When I as let go, I was making 60 percent of our family income. So we have had to live on 40 percent. We are holding on by an unravelling thread…

    I pray for everyone out there. I have 2 Bachelor’s Degrees, started working doing bookkeeping at age 8 for my grandparents…worked myself through college and was only without a job for maybe a month the whole time. I didn’t see a 6 year unemployment coming…ever!

  132. Mary Anne Bolis Krohn

    Your husband’s friend death was just the last of the unexpected, the unplanned for, uncontrollable events that assaulted this man. We all know so many individuals that are in his same situation….and there is no comfort in numbers. I should know. I am one of those people. I feel that the purpose of my life is that of a cautionary tale: “Don’t Do THIS!” After close to 25 years working as a program administrator in higher education, the institution I worked for eliminated my department and laid me off…one week before completing my last radiation treatment for cancer. While I did get severence, all of that went toward covering medical expenses that the insurance I HAD didn’t cover. And I was looking for a job in the middle of a huge wave of belt-tightening by ALL state departments and agencies. In two years I sent in over 300 applications….7 interviews. I had to cash in my retirement to survive, then thinking it was a good idea, went back to school. Three years later, the economy overall tanked and even with my great education (and now school loans to repay), I could not find a job…for another two years.

    I gave up. I now am retired, with an income of less than $800 a month, and trying to sell on line to fill in the huge gap. And while I realize that I am not alone, and my friends are supportive, it is cold comfort when the life you promised yourself, the life that this society promised you “if you do these things”, is not the life I am living. It is a ghost of the promises made to me. And what hurts the most in this situation is that instead of giving back to a society that I am a part of, I have to TAKE from this society just to get from one day to another.

    Your friend that is worried about being homeless? We are ALL homeless now. Not anchored to anything we envisioned for ourselves. Ironically adrift in a society we helped create. Do you see safe harbor for any of us ? Neither do I. It’s all just words. And you cannot build safety with just words.

  133. Yvonne

    The impact 2years unemployed . I have no more words. Thoughtlesness of the employed. Thankful for 3 deprived children to keep hope alive.

  134. Bernice

    I was laid off in 2004. Worked subinn2005-2006. While working part-time law office. Hired fill time for 11 months in 2006. Then 2007-2009 worked. Laid off. 2009-2010 laid off. Part-time work 11 months. Then 1 year part-time work. Now two part-time jobs probably won’t make 15,000.90 with both jobs. No benefits. Many days I’m depressed, and ashamed of my life. There is a forgotten population of women. I’m working on a training program specifically for this population.

  135. Cindy

    I can relate to your story, as I too know what unemployment can do to a person. I have been unemployed since December of 2009. I’ve only had a few temporary positions since then. Unemployment really takes a toll on your confidence, self worth, outlook on life and feeling toward others. I have a College degree, however, it’s in an ever changing field, photography. I have been in the photography business for over 15 years with quite a bit of office and retail experience. I have found myself to be outdated when it comes to current trends, skills, networking, equipment, and programs for editing. I have the basic skills and equipment and sure I could teach myself some new “tricks” and learn the new software that’s out there. Goodness knows I’ve got the time, however, purchasing new software and equipment is not cheap and not doable now. I have run through my savings and am living pretty much on nothing. I was getting assistance with SNAP, however, since I have not worked a certain number of hours in the last 36 months, that has since been taken away from me. And with not receiving unemployment insurance it really makes day to day living rough. Which in the end takes a toll on a person. It makes them feel like a failure and unacceptable to society. Being unemployed, I feel, is just as bad as being homeless. The way people look at you and treat you once they find out you aren’t working is sickening. I don’t like to admit it, but I have lost friends because of this. I feel at my age, mid 30′s, that society has flown past me and left me in the dust to pick myself up and to fend for myself, and so what if all resources are worn out. I feel like the Government is too into helping other countries with their problems, and not wanting to admit that there is a problem right here at home. I can’t imagine what the Great Depression was like. I can only hope that the future becomes brighter and new opportunities pop up for all of us that are unemployed. But I have a feeling that things will have to get much worse before they can start getting better.

  136. Kimbley Griffin

    Wow, Tory! It was purposed for me to be up at 05:30 this morning, and to have read your article. I feel sad for your family friend’s demise, and for what he and the others that you mentioned experienced. Their stories–and this topic in general–serve me well as a personal reality check. As much as I complain, and strive, and wish for “more,” I am reminded that I am very blessed right at this moment in my life. For this reason, I am grateful and will make it a point today to pay-it-forward to everyone whose path I cross. Thank you for sharing with us!

  137. Sharon Boyd

    First, we need to stop telling our graduates that working for a corporation is the only way to be employed, what about self-employment? That is not usually explored in course work.

    Second, I know someone who is looking to hire in a law firm and she, as a younger person, specifically wants a mature woman to fill the position. Why? They have experience, they are generally through with raising young children, they are looking for stability, not necessarily career climbing, which means they won’t be “after her job” and therefore their relationship will be less stressful. HR does not think like this, but smart managers will!

  138. Tory I am sorry for the loss of your friend however, I am sure this story has been replaying all over our country. My husband and I have an IT consulting firm and I now have a seasonal beach bridal business. We have worked in IT for the last 20 years , our Government is in a state of disaster cutting out the small business man who has served them so well.They are awarding contracts to the big boys with a small business “set aside” that never truly comes to fruition! As we are approaching our “golden Years” we are now looking at how to start over! I am so disheartened at the fact that there is no end in sight and we need to do whatever it takes to stay afloat. Many people in our age bracket are burning through their life savings to stay afloat because we are viewed as too old, too expensive, and too set in our ways! I guess the message is to turn this mess int a message and pray someone hears before we have an entire generation of people out of work, out of money and out of options!

  139. Debra

    Tory – So sorry for your loss.
    Wow! This really hits home! I worked for a bankruptcy trustee for 24 years – 10 months. Poof – got thrown away like trash! I am constantly thinking about becoming homeless. I come from a very poor family and don’t have one single person to fall back on. I made almost $28 an hour and am now about to accept a 15 hours a week @$9.50 an hour P/T job! The hardest part is that I have always been so self-sufficient and my head is spinning. I have to look at this P/T position as a learning experience; however, I plan on learning how to sell used cars and hopefully gain the knowledge to open and maintain a used car lot to help women. I for one have been discriminated upon when buying and taking my car to the shop! I never had this problem when my now departed husband (deceased) went with me he was 6’2 250 lbs. I am so desperately trying to make a positive out of this horrible negative. Oh yeah, and now I don’t have health insurance either. Me selling used cars! Geez I can’t even give free stuff away!

  140. My deepest sympathy to you, other friends of this good man and his family!

    Tory, your article could have been written by several of the wonderful people who are or have been serving on my crew! Due to their job search difficulties I have a crew with an incredible collective skill set that far surpasses the jobs I have to offer them. Our clients, as a result, get an incredible experience when working with us!

    My crew tell me that they find intrinsic reward in doing the work needed by our clients…maybe this lessens their pain of realizing they are working below their former earning power. One woman thanks me regularly for giving her hours to work and for being fair. (This is humbling…I wish I could do more.)

    Similarly, when I found myself looking for work in 2009 and became one of two finalists in one particular search, I was told my higher salary the year before was the tipping point in the other person’s favor.

    It was then I decided to forget depending on others and to start my own business. I didn’t have a lot of start up money but found a type of work that would not necessarily need a lot. I was one of the attendees at your first “Spark and Hustle” conference in Atlanta. You and all the other successful, can-do women were the shot in the arm I needed to get going.

    My company will be 4 years old in March. My income isn’t big (yet) but I’ve made enough to pay myself back my investment, pay all the business bills and meet payroll, and make “enough.”

    Our lifestyle is very different from the one we had 15 years ago, when we were enjoying a new home, discretionary money to fritter away on “retail therapy”, frequent meals out, entertainment and similar. We have pared down to just the basics and it’s a struggle to meet bills most months.

    Oddly enough we’re not stressing – it wouldn’t change the circumstances. We are thankful for our health and try to keep it. We’ve brought my 97-yr-old Mom to live with us because she needed care and was running out of money. Money and time are very tight.

    I believe we are all in a major societal shift. Here in western NC we see entrepreneurial growth…..small businesses running our local world – not unlike the world of my childhood. Everyone choosing to “live in the moment”…in some ways doing a whole lot more with a whole lot less.

    The hard thing for most is that the change we are experiencing was forced. It’s one thing to choose to walk away from a lifestyle, but entirely different to have it wrested away. The losses for many are sometimes too great to bear.

  141. Chyrl

    Dear Tory, I am so sorry for you loss and the circumstances surrounding his death. I truly grieve for anyone who is facing these circumstances in this time. I wish that if beating down congress’ door would help to quickly throw a life line to all in need would help, but congress won’t even listen to the POTUS who clearly knows what is going on.

    I have a son with a degree in business and was gainfully employed until stricken with cancer. He was out of work for over a year and when he got his all clear to go back to work by his doctors, the company laid him off. He, of course applied for and received unemployment and his last payment was 3 weeks ago. All during his stint with unemployment he was searching for work and even now, but being unemployed for a long period of time, for whatever reason seems to be a deciding factor in finding a job. So now with no other type of financial assistance and no more unemployment insurance he does not know how he is going to make it.

    In sum, I am deeply saddened to hear these stories and will pray for all to positively quickly overcome this terrible time. Blessings!!!

  142. Anonymous

    HR makes you watch videos on sexual harassment, etc. in the workplace when you’re an employee for educational purposes. Maybe it’s time for HR and hiring managers to receive mandatory training in order to learn how to not discriminate. Maybe part of this training would be to give them a mock resume with gaps, etc. and have them try to go out and get work and see how long it takes, so they can actually experience something similar to what it feels like. Whatever the solution, my hope is someday we’ll look back on this treatment of hard-working, talented, well-intentioned individuals as archaic and counter-productive to the advancement of our country and life itself.

    Personally, I am a great worker and strong contributor with countless skills to offer and don’t want to work somewhere that is judgmental. No one wants to come out of a situation only to be faced with another one that can cost you your dignity. It seems the mindset behind hiring is fear-based. I like companies with cultures that are progressive, open-minded, optimistic, and free thinking – like me – who see a resume gap as an asset, not a detriment. With expanded consciousness, I actually feel worth more than before tragedy hit.

    I’ve also seen companies look at applicants who have been out of work like this : wow, we can get this great talent for so cheap because he’s been out of work! They’re actually excited. This breaks my heart. I understand supply and demand, but it has gone too far as people are being taken advantage of. In the end, the company that does this is hurting themselves because they are deliberately creating negative energy that has a far-reaching ripple effect.

  143. I completely understand what everyone is going through. I have been looking for a job for over 3 years. I have worked as a bartender in sports venues to make extra money. Done retail work part-time. Been on numerous interviews while talking to the interviewer who is 20 years younger than me asking me questions such as where do I see my self in 20 years. Really in that time I will be 75. My Husband has had cancer for the last 3 years and should retire but is still working because of our situation. It is terrible out there. No matter how many part-time jobs I can’t get I cant get a full-time because I am to old and they wont hire me.

    My degrees mean nothing I will work for nothing but I am to old. I finally got a call from a store and the Human resource manager was iffy on calling me because of my background. It was to good. But I lived in the neighborhood so she took a chance. I took the job for minimum wage. I one of the oldest there which is fine. But the store is going to close. I am glad I kept my venue positions. But I am back to square one. It is a horrible circle out there. I feel for everyone.

  144. Michele

    Tory, first and foremost, I join so many others in offering my condolences to you and your husband and Jacques’ family and friends on his loss. It is tragic when we lose anyone due to and because of what has happened during this Great Recession (which I truly believe is still ongoing, no matter what our government and Bureau of Labor Statistics perfectly picked/seasonally adjusted/blah blah blah stats show and tell us). I have read others’ comments with great sadness, and great respect for all who have suffered and are suffering. I’d like to add my story to the mix.

    I am in my mid-50s, long divorced, no partner, kids are grown. I went back to school during a divorce before this Great Recession, and I still have tens of thousands in student loans to pay from that time. I was a stay-at-home mom for 15 years prior to returning to school; the divorce ended that. So not all of us had long careers at one or two places. Some of us stayed home (by choice) and raised our kids. Some of us are 18 or 22 and haven’t gotten their chance out in this work world yet. Some of us went out into the work world and haven’t had it so easy–temp jobs, short-term jobs, finding ourselves, multi-talented, you name it–and THEN this Great Recession hit.

    In my case, I had moved to a new city for a fresh start after my kids graduated from high school. My former home of 40+ years was offering me nothing for my survival and I moved to where one of my kids was going to college (living in the dorms). I could not find a job for 13 months as “the new kid” in this city, and a year to the day of moving here, I was completely and utterly penniless for the first time in my life, and standing in line for food stamps. (When I was married and lived in my hometown, I was married to an attorney–and we lived in a 15 room house.) When I approached the social worker’s desk after a 2-hour wait in line, I
    started tearing up, and she was very irritated and chastised me, saying, “What’s wrong with you? Do you need to go to the hospital?”

    I finally found a job, and in late 2008, I was laid off. I was unemployed for two years, hanging on by a thread–because though I had been paid an ‘okay’ amount, I was also paying on a lot of debt that was still ‘out there’ from the penniless times. Unemployment gives you approximately 50% of your previous earnings. It’s hard enough to just survive, let along pay on your past.

    I had no choice but to accept a job paying 55% less than my previous earnings–even less than my unemployment. In three years there, I was their top producer, was working at a job far below my skill level…and by the end of three years, my raises (they gave them to very few) brought me to the point of what I was earning TEN years ago. I left when they wanted me to do the work of three people for no additional money, meager as it already was. Three weeks later, that segment of the company went under. I receive no unemployment. I could have gone after it, but stellar references became more important to me moving forward…and I wanted to keep on great terms with them. Looking back at this, this underemployment saved my life–although I should note that the work consisted of a 40 week here, a layoff there, and a constant struggle to keep the roof over my head and food in my belly–and I had a job.

    Now I work freelance. I do craigslist gigs and TaskRabbit gigs. I search and/or work for my survival 18 hours a day. I work virtually for a company as needed (whom I’d very much like to work for–and they’re aware of that). I struggle to receive my pay on the appropriate day (as a startup, they’re just too darn busy), so I have to ask–which makes me feel like I’m begging, instead of doing work for pay. A few weeks ago, I remembered seeing a quarter from my kid’s coin collection–still in the plastic/paper wrapper–that she’d left behind when she moved. And I needed it desperately to cover a bill. I was short by 16 cents…and didn’t have 16 cents. And that is pretty much the norm, and has been for 7+ years now, despite all of my best efforts.

    I have worked tirelessly on unemployment issues, poverty issues, since 2007. I advocate, I call legislators relentlessly, I became very well versed on how unemployment works, how SNAP works. I established a food pantry program long ago (in my pre-poverty days). I’ll keep working. I’d love to establish a nonprofit of some sort for those of us who are, as I call it, “the new poor.” And I constantly push people to understand that they HAVE TO BE A PART OF ALL OF THIS. If our government doesn’t hear from all of us, if they think it’s okay to let people suffer, if people think that it’s ‘everyone else’s responsibility’…then things are never going to change.

    I try to keep that roof over my head. My body hurts from winter and fatigue and probably health issues. My family has tried to help me and has helped so much. When my father dies (he is 90), I will have a fairly decent inheritance to pay my student loans, and it will be my only ‘retirement’ besides SS. Is this what we’ve becoming–a loved one will die, and then I might be able to live a comfortable existence? Instead of that which I live in now–poverty?

    I am convinced that the only way to get ahead now–truly–is to work for myself, instead of working for x per hour to just stay alive. Twenty-three percent of new businesses last year were started by ages 55-64, which doesn’t surprise me–and I am working on that. This is all we have left to ‘take advantage’ of…this, or letting this economy continue to take advantage of US by giving our all, and pretty much getting nowhere in return.

    Thank you for providing this forum on this topic, and God bless all who are suffering.

  145. Roni Lynn

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for writing this. I had begun to think that NO ONE understood what I was feeling. I left my job in the fall of 2011 to be a caregiver for my mom who lived almost 6 hours from me. I had just started that job and had only been there four months. but my mom was on the back end of a four year fight with lung cancer and I didn’t want to spend the last months of her life worrying while being 6 hours away trying to fight battles I couldn’t control on a new job. So I resigned to be a caregiver. And I would do it all over again because I could never get those nine months with my mom back. Mom died in the spring of 2012 and after a few months of dealing with grief I felt I was ready to tackle the work world again.

    I naively thought it would be REALLY easy since I had 20 years of really good work experience and two degrees. hahahahahaha! Joke’s on me…boy was I wrong. What makes my situation difficult is that I’m switching careers (to healthcare admin) at the age of 44. but my job skills are transferrable to ANY industry. I also live in a city that’s not known for it’s booming job market, but the opportunities in healthcare and research are there, just hidden right? Have to know the right people right? I also thought that my volunteer and board experience and relationships with various individuals would make my finding a job a no-brainer. Wow. No one wants to pay a decent salary or insurance for someone who has been working for 20 years and would expect a decent wage. It would be easier for me to work at Burger King, but guess what? As a 44 year old professional, they aren’t going to hire me to work around 20 year olds flipping burgers. I’ve applied as a bookseller, a data clerk (making copies and filing), receptionist at Salvation Army, a phone clerk, a transportation coordinator at a hospital, registration and admissions clerk at hospitals and doctor’s offices, various retail jobs and the list goes on and on). Nothing is beneath me and I have no problem doing menial work…but no one will give me a chance because they ASSUME I’d be a flight risk and leave. Maybe, but they could at least call to find out right?

    Yep, I’m desperate now and I’m sure it shows. I want to get up every day with purpose and I need to feel useful. I’m single, no kids, but I don’t have the luxury of a second income from a spouse. I’m normally a pleasant and happy person, but my personalty is changing. I hate that. I’ve been volunteering at a local hospital for a year and you would think that would have led to a job offer, but they don’t have anything. However, I love the work that I do there. The online job search process is a joke because they REQUIRE and FORCE you to put down your last salary on the applications and you can’t move forward until you answer that question…you’re automatically knocked out of consideration if it’s more than, what 25-$30k right? But you don’t want to lie on the application right? All you really want is someone to call you, someone to at least set up an interview so you can explain your job gap and explain why you’d take a pay cut. But no, that’s too much effort.

    In the almost two years that I’ve been applying I received only ONE PHONE CALL. ONE. She called to say that my experience was excellent, but that she knew they couldn’t afford me and the job was locked in at that salary for the next two years. She was doing me a favor she said. And I get it. And then she said I may not have enough experience using Excel (three months later I took an Excel class). I thanked her for at least calling me because HR and hiring managers seem to have thrown their manners out the door. Half the time I don’t even know if my information was received. The entire process is so impersonal now. I’ve changed my resume so many times; just to make sure it wouldn’t be rejected by the dreaded AUTOMATED RESUME SCANNER.

    And as many have already said, employers don’t want to hire women like me because we’d come in with high expectations…we’re chiefs and many employers just want indians. Crude way to say it, but it’s true. So I keep plugging away, annoying my contacts and having lunches that I can’t afford and meeting people just to hear them say they would let me know if they hear anything.

    Thanks for letting me vent. I’ve got to get back to filling out this job application at a bookstore. No joke. Third time in six months I’ve submitted it and I can’t even get a call back. Sad. My degrees and experience mean absolutely nothing. I never thought I’d get to a place where all I want is a $8.50 an hour job.

  146. This situation are all so familiar. In 2007 I found myself exiting from the Corporate world and I have not been back since. However, I was blessed with someone to show me a Plan B strategy and it just made sense to me. Making a income with a Life Essential product everyone uses and everyone has to have, no it is not AIR but close to it. I promise you that it will help a lot of people if they will only open up their mind to what is happening in this Industry. Please have our Community check it out. Contact me for more information.

  147. Nancy

    I too lost my income as a Realtor for over 30 years and the housing mess here in Florida cost me the loss of any income for over two years and finally the loss of my own home. I had spent the majority of my adult life helping family’s move into their home and to end up seeing so many people now losing ALL they worked for and toward is humiliating and for many just TOO damn late to start over. I have attended so many feel good workshops like so many and practiced all of those positive thinking slogans only to find that at 64 years old……………………only a move to another area where perhaps the economy is a LITTLE better will help. The loss of a JOB is HORRIFIC to say the least. The loss of everything is debilitating in every respect. It is the loss of a home, respect, finances to go on with, as there is NO unemployment for SELF employed and NO one hiring within your area or AGE group. Seniors living on the small SS checks of 1,000 a month and NO future in sight. This is what MOST in the media have neglected to cover or refused to do so praising the Non Existent recovery???? Most of us have lived and worked hard for everything we have had and for those who have NO clue to tell us to go and dream again while homeless, older and tired is insulting!

  148. Grace

    Tory

    Like the others I thank you for putting into words how difficult it is to get a job. My story is not much different than the others, middle age with two engineering degrees and an MBA, finding it tough to pull myself up by my bootstrap, told to get a dye job (on the hair), and get out there and network for the next job. Sage advice, right? I am hoping this discussion leads to a dialog with employers (hiring managers) who can help turn things around, if not for me, for those GenXers who come behind me.

  149. Sybil C

    Tears filled my eyes and I wept as I read your article. I was laid-off, rehired then laid-off. I tried new positions, visited with a job coach, started a cleaning business lost my house, spent my 401k, my mom died, visited food pantry’s, wept more when my kids left home to start their lives wept again when I fell in love…
    and he married me when I was broke…I weep. Grateful for my kids, my husband.
    I am sixty. I own nothing. I sit in a cubicle every day and call people to buy websites. I have college degrees, great experience. I earn $11 per hour. If my husband didn’t support me I be living in a box under a bridge. This is not the life I went to college for. I worked for the government. And I was laid-off. And I have not found a job I can support myself for ten years. I hate to admit it, but my spirit is broken. And I am so afraid I am going to die this way. And what I have done will mean nothing.

  150. Elaine

    I’ve been in the same situation several times. While commiserating with others may or may not be helpful, we are not solving the problem. So what can we do to help each other? Write a script? Sell the rights film rights to it? Use funds to help people stay afloat until they get back to work? Or how about a site like okcupid and match skills to jobs with age and previous salary a non Issue? There are enough brilliant minds in this country we just have to find a way to tap them. Maybe the entire unemployment system has to be changed to reflect not just the previous years income, but years employed and age. Just like insurance maybe we can have a work insurance program where the cash out value increases the longer you work. Crazy ideas, maybe, but we have to start brainstorming, in honor of Jacques, and the rest of our fellow Americans, those who are unemployed or underemployed today and those who will be tomorrow.

    • Nancy

      Each message is so powerful. Like you, I’m thinking of how we can move this into a place of action.

  151. Tory, I read your email and just cringed because it scares me but also because I felt so much for your friend. I’m 52, been self-employed twice in my career, and for the past 6 years have pounded the pavement for a FT job. I’ve always been the top 2-4 people, going on constant in person interviews and never getting it. I did get a virtual FT job and when my boss found out I was doing PT work on the side (there was no employee contract or handbook) because I wanted to save $ to buy a home again, she asked me to resign. I filed unemployment and they fought me every step of the way, but I won. It was a hard year, but I got through it. I’ve been PT self-employed for almost 9 years through the toughest economy any of us have been through, so I’m grateful for getting through it. I’ve cried so many times for not being “good enough” for a job, that I’ve given up. One the last interviews I had, a multi-step process, actually went very well; I didn’t get the job (figured that out on my own), but the person who I had the phone interview with wanted to talk to me on the phone vs. sending a form email or letter, to convey the news. The person said they didn’t want it to be impersonal because they enjoyed talking to me and learning about me through the process. How many times does that happen? NEVER. But through that last conversation, the person gave me three leads for possible freelance/PT work. I’m pursuing it now. I feel for your friend’s family and the others you mentioned in your email. I wish all of them the best and encourage them to seek help wherever they can within their community, online, through friends, etc. Don’t give up!

  152. Nick

    I sympathize with everyone who has lost their position. The stories are all so similar, so I really don’t need to go into detail about my job loss and my search for good work. Here’s what I will say; if you had a position earning more than $40,000 previously, you will most likely never have that earning power again. Please, please, take some time to read about WHO is responsible. Think about the companies and stores you do business with, are they cutting jobs and wages also? We are not alone in our struggles,find others, take action, get organized.

  153. Nancy Idaka

    I have so much compassion for the people you write about. As you say, it could be any of us. I don’t think I can add anything to the advice that is already out there. But I might add that it is time for the 99% to be politically active. The deck is now stacked against you. You must demand political change to get fairness.

  154. Hello Tory; please accept my condolences on the loss of your friend.

    You asked how long-term unemployment has affected us, and I want to share my story. I have a BA from DePaul University and went to Loyola University Chicago on a full scholarship and assistantship for graduate study in industrial psychology. After working for a couple of years, I went back to my first love: acting. I’ve been an actress who, like many performers, has relied on a day job for a majority of my income. For a long time in the 90′s and most of the 00′s, I did temp work. Because of my education and work ethic, I was one of the most requested temps at my agency. I often could have had two or three assignments per day. One of the clients that regularly requested me was a non-profit that I’ll call DOC. In 2006, one of my friends there told me that a position opened up in their Development Department, and would I be interested in applying for it. My temp office submitted me, and I was hired as an admin at DOC in early 2007, and eventually also became their database manager. It was a wonderful job: the work was interesting and challenging, my coworkers became like family, and I had a decent salary with great benefits.

    In 2011, the staff was told that a management consulting firm was going to assess the health and functionality of the DOC. We were told there might some staffing changes. In June 2011, after a retirement party for one of our beloved coworkers, half of the full-time staff was brought in, one by one, to meet with a manager, and told that their positions were eliminated. I was among the staff who lost their jobs. While we were all told that it had nothing to do with our abilities and was no reflection on each of us, we were still told that were done at DOC.

    Since then, I have been trying to find work in any of the areas I have considerable skills (development, admin, writing, etc.). Though I live in a major metropolitan area with numerous universities, corporations large and small, and non-profits, I haven’t been able to get hired. My friends at my former temp agency, which branched into permanent placement, have looked over my resume and variations on cover letters several times. They all tell me that the resumes and cover letters are fantastic. The agency has also sent me out on interviews, which have resulted, several times, in me being one of the two final candidates considered for a position, but I haven’t been hired. I’ve networked with friends as much as I can without feeling like I’m using them and their contacts, and the networking I’ve done through my alumni contacts hasn’t resulted in much at all. I do have a part-time job at a theatre, but as nice as it is, the hours are irregular, and I can’t count on it to generate a predictable income each week. No one – not my friends, former coworkers, other performers with day jobs – can figure out why I can’t get hired someplace.

    A friend of mine who works in development confided in me: She told me that when she recently posted some job openings at her office, she was deluged with applications. After about the first 30 or so, she told me she just stopped reading them. “I found someone to fill one of the jobs in the first day or so. Was that the most qualified person? I honestly don’t know. It’s entirely possible that the best person for the job was application #50 or so, but I didn’t have time to read every application and do everything else required for my job. After about the tenth application, I just got tired of reading them.”

    I think the 800-pound gorilla in the room has to be identified: Many of us long-term unemployed are over 40 or so, and deemed by many employers to be unsuitable for hiring today. This is the big problem, the one characteristic that each of us can’t change about ourselves. Even though I look much younger than my age (52), all it takes is a few moments online, and any employer can find out the age of any applicant. It doesn’t matter that I score in the upper 90% in a Microsoft Office skills assessment, it doesn’t matter that I’m a good writer, it doesn’t matter that I singlehandedly brought my previous department into the computer age: all that matters is “she’s over 40. Nope”. The counterpoint to this is if you’re part of the long-term unemployed, many hiring managers figure that there must be a reason why they’ve been out of a job for so long, and toss your application into the “no” pile. This is reminiscent of a people who say that a never-married person “must have something wrong with them, else someone would have snapped them up by now”.

    Some of the harsher folks out there say that if I’m really desperate, I should go work at McDonald’s, or some other fast-food establishment. I can’t get hired at those places because, with my background, I’m considered a flight risk. I’m a terrific server and bartender, but even though I can do the job physically and personality-wise, most bars and restaurants are looking for staff in their 20′s. I’m doing my best to get a freelance writing career started, but it’s really hard when I feel like I’m going to fail before I even start. I’m living off my part-time job and some savings from my parents that I wanted to set aside for retirement.

    I am so scared – I don’t have a husband or family to lean on, and all the things we were raised to think would secure our futures seem to be meaningless now.

  155. Bobbie Flick

    Hi Tory,

    Yes, your email is very sad, but so very, very necessary. You are one of the few people who have addressed what is happening all over this country to good people who have worked hard all of their lives and want to work, but somehow today’s hiring managers just don’t see the time and talent that are going to waste.

    Ten years ago, my husband’s boss walked into his office on a Monday morning and in 15 minutes time he was told he was no longer needed, his company car was confiscated (they wouldn’t even let him use it to take his personal stuff home), his cell phone was taken and he was even locked out of his computer and had to do his last expense report on his secretary’s computer. He had been with this company for 27 years, moved up through the ranks and was a Regional Manager in charge of one of the consistently highest producing regions of the country. He had never had a review below above average and just a few years before had received an award as the Regional Manager of the Year for the entire country. He was blindsided to say the very least. He found out later that some politics was involved but, ultimately, the Corporation systematically got rid of all of the men in his position who had longevity and, as a result, a higher salary and replaced them with new, younger hires that they could pay less.

    The toll that this took on my husband, our relationship and our family is unfathomable. He was devastated!!!! He has yet to recover his self esteem and although he is working he is (as he calls it) underemployed. We went through $125,000 in savings while he worked to find a job. I’ve gone back to work now that our children grown and between the two of us and some early withdrawals from our retirement money, we’re managing to stay afloat, but this is not what we expected our 60′s to look like. We had an incredible marriage before this happened, and I think it’s the only thing that has kept us together because our relationship continues to take such hits over his depression and feelings of inadequacy. I hate to see what this had done to him and how it has changed him. I’ve never seen anyone address the situation as honestly and accurately as you have here. Thank you for giving this very important segment of our population a voice. I hope hiring managers will pay attention to what is being said here and understand that these people have education and experience beyond the classroom and a work ethic that transcends what younger workers without experience can’t even begin to imagine. I don’t know what the answer is, but you’ve made a wonderful start here. Please keep us posted and let everyone who commented here know what we can do to bring this issue to the forefront of our country’s awareness.

  156. Deborah

    I am truly sorry for the loss of your friend. Unfortunately, this seems to be happening all too often. An unusually high number of my friends, all in their early 60′s, have gotten laid off, including myself. Some are suffering from depression, one had to undergo open heart surgery, and all are struggling. I had the oportunity, when I got recruited with a top fortune 100 company that was heavely invested in Leamon Brothers then laid off along with 1000 + people, to invest the money that I had put away into purchasing a business. Now, 4 years later, my business is failing, mainly due to the economy, and I lost my entire investment. I am thousands of dollars into the credit line and living off credit cards. I just applied for Medicaid and an EPT card. I spent 4 hours at social services and left and sat in the parking lot and cried.
    I am a year and a half away from 62 and collecting social security…just not sure which way to go now or where to turn. I am probably just months away from loosing everything. I have applyed to hundreds of jobs, I have deleted things like National Sales Manager, and General Manager from my resume just to get a job, to no avail.

    I am a party of one, no husband or boyfriend to add to the household income, kids are all grown and out of the house and in other states. I am trying to stay positive, and have begun 2 more business’s out of my home. Hopefully I will stay ahead of the creditors and able to keep the lights on.

  157. This is very sad. In April 2007 at the age of 52, my employment for 11 years was ended in the company layoff. I immediately started to look for employment the very next day and was amazed at the number of people attending the same job fair. I was up every morning, in our home office online by 8:00AM. Nothing came. In October 2007, due to a connection, I was notified of a position with a startup company with a product in my previous company’s stores. I applied, interviewed and was hired. Eight months later, I (along with the entire Field Sales Team) was laid off via email. Twelve months later, I was still unemployed, most of my savings depleted and still in the home office by 8:00AM, attending webinars, job fairs, networking. During a conversation in June 2009 with a friend, we brainstormed a career change. At age 52…I was a bit nervous, but had always adapted, so the change would not beat me. The result of that conversation…I went to school to become an Aesthetician. By the end of 2009, I had completed school, passed state exams and was waiting on my license to arrive in the mail. By February 2010, I was employed. I suggest to everyone, think of a skill you have, a hobby, or something you feel you will enjoy. Research and then step outside your comfort zone. Re-invent yourself! I love my new career as an Aesthetician and business owner which is totally different from my career of 30+ years….Business Administration/Strategic Business Planning.

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