"Will I Ever Get a Job?"

This is a question the millions of long-term unemployed ask themselves frequently. (Sometimes they ask Google, too, oddly enough.) The answer, unfortunately, might just be, "No."

Presently, there are 5-6 applicants for every job opening. That's what "they" say, anyway. A lot of those applicants are bushy-tailed new graduates willing to work for peanuts. Experience works against you these days, and even the bushy-tailed are having a rough time.

The economy is fundamentally messed up. It is in a state of entropy. Despite what the pundits and propagandists tell us about "recovery," for a good 90 percent of people, the economy is shrinking. (The top 10 percent still fare well, and that's probably why they're so wedded to the status quo.)

Long-term unemployment has never been worse, even during the Great Depression. Even people who have jobs are suffering as the average work week has been slashed from 40 to 34 hours, with a corresponding drop in wages. Every day more and more shops are boarded up and fewer open all the time. The worse things get, the worse they get. It feeds on itself like a starving body, and it will keep doing so for some time.

That's reality. That's what we're dealing with. The American economy will never again be what it was in the 1950s or 1990s. It is impossible by the laws of physics -- there are too many people competing for ever-dwindling resources.

The good news is that never getting another job need not be a horrible situation once you accept it. Personally, I never expect to have another job, and I'm OK with that.

We are -- literally -- in a time when physically surviving unemployment is a real concern. Millions of people's benefits will dry up this year and next as Congress has refused to pass another extension.

So what do you do?

You focus every ounce of energy on making money until you get it flowing. How do you make money? Figure out how you can serve people. What are you good at? What do you like to do? Offer those services. People who need them will take you up on your offer.

It's also important to work collaboratively with others. There is strength in numbers. Partnerships are incredibly important. If you like to wash windows but hate to do sales, find someone who can rustle up some gigs for you and split the profits. Keep your marriage together (Damn, I wish I had done that...) or get married. Two earners and one set of bills is a nice situation. Having someone always on your side through thick and thin is a good thing. (Ugh... here comes the pain...) Anyway, work with others, not against them.

Just keep moving. You might just find that you don't have any particular desire or need to work for the Man.

Good luck.

Of course, if you are looking for a job, you should use indeed,the best job search engine. (Costs you nothing and puts a few pennies in my pocket if you do, too -- thanks!)

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"bushy tailed" graduates

Those bushy tailed graduates you talk about are doomed in these days of umemployment! My son graduated 1 1/2 years ago and he is still looking. He has no experience in any workplace and no one wants to talk to him except for the insurance companies that pay you strictly commission. I am not sure what to do at this point. More training? Where is the money going to come from? Mom and Dad have run out of money themselves. His fiance has just graduated and in the same boat. I know we all struggled as young adults trying to make our way, but, even the burger places are not hiring!

chuck's picture


I didn't mean to minimize the plight of the newly graduated, but all-in-all, they don't have it as bad as someone who is 56, had a job and was middle class three years ago, now finding themselves on the verge of homelessness or fully homeless. There are a lot of people like that. I hear from them often.

Part of the reason I like to take jabs at the younger generation is that I'm a little pissed at them. When I was their age, I was out in the streets protesting, and we didn't have nearly as much to protest back then. I remember advocating for bike lanes -- that was a big radical thing to do, the Critical Mass ride. People got arrested. People got hit by cars. You know what, though? In my town, Denver, we got a darn good system of bike paths and lanes out of it.

Why aren't kids today making more of a ruckus? What's wrong with them?

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

work for the 'man' or create an income

Chuck, I agree with you. I've pretty much given up on getting a "real" job like I've had for so many years. I started working summers when I was 11, I shelled peas and beans for $2 a bushell. In the peak of the season I started at sun-up and didn't stop until my Dad would turn people away at 9 or 10 at night. I ended up in factory work, I've moved from assembly, to fabrication, and Quality Assurance. I was capable of completing inspections in all phases of production of my former job, and was frequently pulled to cover in various depts. When I got laid off, I had been working 40-60 hrs a week, every vacation day I ever took was to take one of my kids to the Dr. All of the time and effort and we weren't getting ahead, we were just getting by. I had missed so much with my kids.
I have been searching tirelessly for another job for 18 months. However, I'm also trying to be creative.
I'm trying to get any odd job I can right now. I've also gone to several property owners to see if i can clean up when tenants move out. I've made some craft items, and home-made jellies.(I guess if these don't sell, I know what everyone will get for christmas!) We have to DO something. We can't rely on the government to do what's best for us. We've got to band together and help each other.

chuck's picture

Yes, Becky, that's exactly it

The government is not going to do anything for us. That's clear. We have our skills and each other, and if only we could organize, I know we could do amazing things.

You're on the right track by getting out there and finding stuff to do. Keep it up and good luck to you. After your jelly business takes off, don't forget the little people!

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

janejane's picture

sorry too

I am sorry for these youngsters too, however like you Chuck I cannot understand this younger generation. I also protested and sat in with my parents who protested. Not too long ago when this stupid war started and I was WORKING, there was a protest going on in the streets in front of the large corporation I was working for. this young women said to me that she felt that these people were just making trouble and it was stupid for them to protest. I could not believe what I was hearing. I naturally blasted her with a dirty look and talk of how her generation was quite satisfied with the medicore life that the present admin (bush) was giving them. I even warned her that this kind of life that she so cherished would end and it did, she also got laid off with the whole dept.
Because of these protesters we now have bike lanes and recycle plants and a lot of shit that no one gave a shit about until the protesters, and now everyone is happy about those things. What has become of the protesters? Are they afraid to come away from the comfort of their homes and talk to real people? I guess when the electric is shut off maybe then they will get out and PROTEST!


You guys didn't have the

You guys didn't have the PATRIOT act to worry about. Resources weren't scare. People HAD things and HAD easy jobs. I've been working since the day I turned 14, put myself thru college, and now I can't even find a job as a new graduate nurse with a bachelor degree...

Your generation didn't have all your friends distracted by the internet, individual ipods, and their cell phones. Life was simpler and there was more time. People KNEW each other and were connected. They socialized in person back then!

Now its just a circus ran by bankers and corporations. YOU OLDER GENERATION PEOPLE! You take for granted the fact that you weren't bombarded with materialistic advertisements 24/7. That is the way now. The internet is here. Technology has taken away most of the jobs. Fuck it, I want to hang myself and go back to mother nature forever....

p.s. Don't you think we ARE protesting! The youth is full of fire and has no where to go. It is done mostly through facebook now, and that just isn't effective. Send us a JFK, send us a Dr. King, a Mother Teresa, etc.... All spirituality is dead. You don't find it in your fast food or your composite siding. This is how life is now. Artificial. It's not worth living, I can't stand being a part of it.

chuck's picture

This concerns me

Life is worth living, but it's up to you to live it. The problem as I see it is that most people go through life in a sort of daze. Like John Lennon sang so long ago, "Keep you doped with religion, sex and TV..." Add the Internet, ipods and video games to that list now.

Sometimes I wonder if many (most?) people even realize that they're alive. Even when they do "get it," (that there's more to it than shallow consumerist bullshit) they don't seem to realize what a precious gift human life is, and I hear that in your post.

Live your life, Not Allowed to Protest! No excuses!

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

Your generation fucked up the

Your generation fucked up the world before mine was around and now we have to patch everything up for you to live in it. Fuck you. You self righteous piece of shit. Where was your generation when we needed you to set up the foundations of a world worth living in for everyone? Screw you. Don't try to justify your incompetence and poor life choices with jabs at the younger generation you lazy cunt.

chuck's picture

Are you talking to me?

Hehe. My generation didn't have enough power to fuck anything up, Tom. I come from a tiny little generation called Generation X. We graduated from school to a world without jobs much like you guys, but our numbers were minimal.

If you're going to blame anyone, blame the Boomers, but even they tried to change the world when they were your age.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

Generation X

I am too a Gen x'er....Its a shame that the younger generations come into these jobs expecting everything...we were the last generation to actually work for what we earn....Dont blame anyone. Its the way it is now!


That's funny. That's what my generation said about my parents' generation. Get off it and do what needs doing. There have always been people in every generation going against the majority trend and doing what they could to make a better society. Who do you think started the environmental and social justice movements? It didn't start with my generation and it sure as heck wasn't yours either.
The worst thing we can do is fight amongst ourselves while the powers-that-think-they-are continue to screw us all over. While there aren't enough people standing together yet, there are a lot of small, hopeful changes and ideas being quietly worked on all over the place. Stop moaning about what your daddy did of didn't do to you and go find something useful to contribute.

It sucks, but it will end, eventually.

Hi Chuck.

I like the site - a great idea for these turbulent times.

I completely understand what you're going through. I had not been unemployed, not once, since I was in high school. I had a twelve-year career as a graphic designer for a major newspaper. I never made a lot of money and my wife was in college for years, but light was at the end of tunnel in 2008. Then I lost my job.

It has been an excruciating year and a half for job hunting. I've been in college since my job ended, earning a 4.0 GPA, but no one will touch me in this market. I've gone through temp agencies that have matched me with a couple of menial, low-wage jobs with high turnover, which chewed me up and spit me out in less than a month. My wife got the job she wanted as a teacher, but with the student loans pouring in, she barely earns enough to keep a roof over our heads and the lights on (yes, it's a mancession).

But, you know what? I've learned that sitting at home being depressed doesn't pay very well. Actually, it doesn't pay at all. Actually, it COSTS me because boredom feeds on depression and turns it into a life-consuming beast. The only guaranteed way to stay unemployed is to give up looking - as millions have done over the past couple of years. I've been applying for any job, every job that exists. At least it offers a glimmer of hope. If someone offers me a job flipping burgers or scrubbing a toilet, that's great; I'll take it. Anything beats nothing. Anything.

It might help to Google the 'ANTs (automatic negative thoughts)' concept. It might help change the unemployed mindset - the 'I'll never work again' thoughts. Times are tough and will likely remain that way for many years, but the good news is that things are moving in a straight line rather than falling off a cliff.

Economists talk about the V-shaped, U-shaped, W-shaped whatever you want to call these recessions. I refer to this one as more of an L-shaped recession with many underscores after it. Eventually the underscores will become a backslash. We survived the Great Depression, the Long Recession, the oil shocks of the 70's, and we will survive this. I'm sure of it. The markets are stablizing, as is inflation. China is on the verge of a manufacturing bubble. Some companies that outsourced jobs are slowly bringing some of them back. Companies are planning to hire once the panic dissipates. Things aren't changing quickly, but we have been heading the wrong direction since 2000, so naturally it will take a long time to improve.

Good luck with the job search. Keep the faith and this too will pass.

chuck's picture

I'm not looking for a job

It's a waste of time for me. I need money, not "glimmers of hope." Just thought I'd clear that up.

I've created my own job.

For those who are looking, Mr. Unemployed is right: It will end. Might take another ten years and a world war to end it, but it will end.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

Nerves Shot, on Meds, no Job

Hi Chuck,
Love your efforts on here. My situation is a bit different than many on here. I've been unemployed less than a year and I walked away from my last two jobs. I won't bore you with the details but suffice it to say that, over the past 10 years or so, I am getting less and less able to tolerate the high stress work environment and comes with what corporate america calls "lean manufacturing" . It really means that the departments are stripped to bone in headcount and everybody has to pick up the slack, do more work, or hit the trail. I got to the panic attacks at work point and said "enough already". I went out on s.t. disability and was able to collect 1/2 pay for about 12 weeks now it's just unemployment.

Besides the crap economy and the movement of manufacturing jobs out of the country, I am realizing that our corporate brothers tend to put less value on you as you get older 50+. I know.."dah" but when that reality hits you, it can really shake self confidence feelings of self worth. I have been diagnosed with general anxiety disorder. Treatment is slow release xanax daily and pristique for depression which has been another little gift that showed up about 10 years ago. Did I mention that we are having to short sell our house? Oh yeah plenty of stress and anxiety... Despite the meds, I still have to drag my tired ass to the gym every day, go to the library and work the indeed.com website with my search alerts set up and sent to my email account. It's probably 1 call back out of 100 submissions. I get the occassional interview, but am scared to death I will actually get another job and have another melt down. The truth is, I hate jobs, but I hate not having one even worse... I just want to get to 65 and retire. Will probably have a repeat of the same feelings of low self worth then too, what a bunch of crap.

The meds are a crutch and their effectiveness wears off over a period of months, but they can really be a big relief at first. I'll get off the xanax slowly but will probably stay on the pristique for life.

I know... kind of grim and not very uplifting but it is what it is right now. I'm working on self hypnosis to improve my feelings of self worth... anybody had any success with that?

My dream escape? how about living in an airstream tucked away in a campground near the beach living on social security and traveling with the seasons. Fishing daily, afternoon siesta... yeah whatever.... thanks for the forum

I feel your pain

I'm in my 50's and doing temp jobs for the time being after being downsized in March. I was in corporate America all my adult working life and the stress and anxiety are real problems for a lot of us. You say the meds are a crutch, but crutches serve a purpose when you're injured. Getting the help you need is nothing to be ashamed of. I really hope you have someone you can talk to about all this. It helps.

I think, if I'm gonna be honest, I don't want another job either. When they ask in interviews "Where do you want to be in 5 years?" I want to laugh and say, "On a beach sipping a tropical drink and writing short stories with a cute cabana boy at my beck and call."

Seems to me that what remains is that we figure out what our priorities are and what we can put into action to make our situations better, rather than passively waiting for something to happen. I don't mean this to be criticism of anybody's problems, or fears, or to suggest that that's what anybody on this site is doing. I know we're all here because we're in the same leaky boat and bailing hard. And probably it won't help to say, keep ya chin up, it'll get better.

But I have to believe that things will get better. Maybe not soon, and yeah, it's tough right now. But I have to hang on to something. Good luck to you, Dan-O. I wish you the best.


I've gone the medications route myself, and they didn't help anything. Honestly, it just came out to be another bill to pay each month with no ROI in the grand scheme of things. After all, I'm not unemployed because I'm depressed, I'm depressed because I'm unemployed. Oh, well.

Chuck - glad to see you're feeling better about earning your own money. I'm thinking that, long-term, it might be a feasible solution myself.

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