And decrease the surplus population.
The story of Ms. Barrington-Ward was sad and infuriating and horribly familiar.
Debbie New York, NY...I work my butt off for 65%-75% less than what I formerly earned, have moved 4 times in the last 2 years, and had to declare bankruptcy myself. It is so really depressing. I haven't had my own place to live in 4 years, I am approaching 60, and what else can I do but put one foot in front of the other? But lately, as another cold dark winter approaches, I feel utter despair. And i live in NY, where at least there are many of these retail jobs. Not that you can live on the salary here. That's the cruel irony. I tried the Southwest for a year, but there are no jobs either, or few. My whole life is in storage, and I fear letting go of all of it will strip me of a good part of my identity. I don't know who I am anymore, all my friends are married and settled, and this feels like a nightmare from which I cannot wake up. Yeah yeah, I've tried looking on the bright side for 4 years, but it doesn't change the facts....JKilcrease San FranciscoI am fourteen years into a good job, making a solid salary in a very stable company... yet still a sense of unease reading this article. Close friends have spent years in intermittent employment after loosing jobs held for decades. How many of us are feeling uncomfortably attuned to the temporary nature of seemingly sound employment?Businesses suddenly reorganize, shedding older and higher paid workers. These were "higher" paid staff, not highly paid. The difference is one of 25-30K for new hires versus 45-50K after twenty-four years of unbroken service....Julie SCTThis article would have been more useful if the reporter had contacted some companies and asked, point blank, why they don't want to hire someone who's been unemployed for six months. Skills don't erode that quickly. In a poor economy where so many are out of work, why is unemployment such a stigma?...DeeMontclair, NJI too, am living the dream. I found myself unemployed after more than thirty years of hard work. After years of paying into insurance I was forced to choose between eating and paying COBRA. A few months later, I fell and the medical bills wiped me out. It is very dispiriting to find that you can work your whole life and be wiped out by a fall. This is happening all over the country. We are becoming a country of haves and have nots. This is why the tea party has grown, people in the middle are afraid and have adapted a hoarding mentality.
After a disaster there is always the follow up feel good reporting of how people pulled together. Think Sandy or 9/11. Yet we are in the middle of a catastrophe and we are not pulling together. Corporations are taking advantage of these depressing economic times, to boost profits. The frightened middle class is being fueled by wealthy businessmen like the Koch brothers, who want to defeat government regulation and scare people. They are succeeding....Tom Hughes Bayonne, NJI don't know if there has ever been as broad and deep a disconnect between employers and people who desperately want and need to work. Perhaps that desperation shows through in the very few long-term unemployed who are actually able against all odds to secure the rare opportunity for an interview. Being unemployed is not simply one of the obstacles to gaining meaningful employment, it has been the primary barrier for more than half a decade. And there is no "cure" for it. Human resources managers have become inured to the struggle faced every hour of every day of the "unemployable" unemployed. That insensitivity, though, not only permeates the desperate situation faced by the jobless....csprof Westchester County, NYThis has been brewing for a while. When the dot-com bubble burst in 2000, many of my IT friends were laid off, and never got back into the industry again. Some took early retirement, some tried for years to get back in, burning through their retirement savings before giving up. One became a vet tech, another started a business selling classified ads until that industry collapsed. None of them made nearly as much money as before, and none of them have been able to rebuild their savings. I keep reading that there is a mismatch because not enough people know how to program or do IT work - so how come none of my friends could ever get rehired? They DID have the skillsDonald Surr PennsylvaniaNote Ms. Barrington-Ward's age! Let's be honest. HR people also have been given the word not to hire anyone over 50, because their health insurance rates are too high. That word came down from the bean counters at the top....pdxtran Minneapolis, MNAs a proverbial unemployed Ph. D., I worked for temp agencies for three years during the Reagan Recession, when the official unemployment rate in the Twin Cities was 11%.
I was registered with four different agencies, each of which I phoned daily starting at 7:00AM.
During that time, I worked an average of three days a week, not enough to allow me to move out of m parents' house.
Fortunately, college teaching jobs eventually opened up, and I was able to find a full-time job in another state. But I know that even the temporary agencies can be overwhelmed with job seekers.
Vicky CAMy husband is 53 and for most of his life made over 100K per year and now has been unemployed for over 4 years. The interviews for anything are rare and he never gets a call back. He is so depressed and discouraged that I'm afraid for him and our family. All of my friend's husbands are unemployed and committing suicide. I'm not kidding. Two funerals within the last year. If you are male and over 50 you are either employed in a good job or on the bread line. My son who is 20 cannot find work either. All positions he applies for are taken my older workers who in a better economy would never be in those jobs. I am the only worker in the family and pray that I'll keep my lousy job. Retirement? It will never happen for me. Vacations? We haven't been on one in 10 years. Spending? I am lucky if we have extra to replace old underwear. We watched Cinderella Man the other evening and our situation is becoming like those people's in the 1930's depression. Not enough money to always keep the lights on or enough money for food. Who is saying our current economy is in better shape? The Great Recession is not over for our family by any means.
NoName NYCIt is just a horrible and demoralizing experience. I had a good job doing audit and compliance for a major bank. I had the bad fortune of being laid off at the age of 57, in 2008, during the downturn (our entire division was laid off). Employment has been scarce since then. Older workers do not get offers of meaningful work, if they get any at all. I was looking at homelessness for a while; pretty terrifying after 35 years of being a wage earner and productive member of society. It doesn't matter how good your resume is, how well you tailor it to the job, paring off experience so as not to appear "overqualified", recommendations on LinkedIn-none of it matters after you reach a certain age. There doesn't seem to be an interest in changing this situation. I don't envy younger workers either, who are being encouraged to integrate their live/work experience. You can train for years in a profession and have it be replaced by a robot, or a human in Bangladesh. Live for your job, work 80 hours a week, neglect your family (if you have time to even have one) then your company gets downsized and you are cast aside like an empty husk. The employment climate in this country is way out of balance and I don't know what the answer is.
And finally, in direct response to the Anonymous commenter in the previous post who was contemplating ending his or her life, please do not do so. Please do not do something that you can never undo. Please read this and reach out to someone. Anyone.
Jen D New Jersey
"The long-term jobless, after all, tend to be in poorer health, and to have higher rates of suicide...." How well I know this. I have written before about my brother who committed suicide in July 2012 at the age of 60. He was laid off early on in the Great Recession and thought his IT skills would be valued by employers. No. He sent out hundreds of resumes, had few interviews and no job offers. All employers saw was an older guy who had been out of work a while. When he died, he had an old car to his name and over $30,000 in debt that he had no way to pay. He had even tried to start a business, but with no marketing background, it failed miserably.
I think of my brother every single day. I still startle myself when I think I need to email him an interesting story and then I realize all over again that he is gone. If anyone who is reading this is feeling desperate, please think of the devastation your loved ones will feel. Please open up and talk to someone. My brother didn't say a word and left no suicide note; the questions and "what ifs" will haunt his loved ones forever.