First Person: Illusions of a Bright Future

Down But Not Out: Yahoo! Readers Share Their Stories of Unemployment and Job-Hunting

Yahoo Contributor Network
First Person: Illusions of a Bright Future

View photo

Once upon a time back home

Five million Americans are among the long-term unemployed--those without a job for 27 weeks or longer--according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Another 7.3 million are looking for work, while the unemployment rate sits at 7.9 percent. Numbers aside, individual stories illustrate how America is affected. To see how joblessness hits home, Yahoo News asked unemployed workers to share their job-hunting stories. Here's one.

FIRST PERSON | In 2006, I was 34 years old and the owner of a successful architectural design studio in Raleigh, N.C. By the end of that year, business had fallen by more than 75 percent as the beginning of the housing market crash was starting to show. Fortunately my background and skills as a professional firefighter allowed me to take employment as a contract firefighter in Iraq. My plan was to do a year, pay off debt, save, and come back home to my family -- that was six years ago!

In 2007, with encouragement from my wife, I decided to pursue my bachelor's degree (online) in emergency management. While still employed in Iraq, I completed the degree at the end of 2010, hoping that this would open up some additional doors and bring me back home -- especially since emergency management had become an increasingly popular field of employment. With almost a decade in the emergency management field and a shiny new degree, I was still unable to land even one interview.

So with even more encouragement from my wife, I began my MBA; certainly this would compound my skill set and make me a viable candidate for employment. I'm now armed with a diverse set of skills and a background in architecture, emergency management and an MBA. I relentlessly and tirelessly continue applying on jobs in Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., in every area that I am more than qualified to fill -- construction management, architectural design, project management, emergency management, as well as any entry-level MBA position.

Over the past six years, I have lost count as to how many applications I have submitted. My kids have had to grow up without a father, my wife has had to endure without the at-home support or companionship of her husband (of 19 years), and still with all of my degrees and experiences, there seems to be no silver lining, no end in sight, and no prospects of employment on the horizon. On the brink of divorce (and diminishing mental stamina), I continue to endure and persist, knowing that I do at least have a job, however unfortunate the location may be, and knowing that there are thousands of Americans that would probably not complain about any job -- regardless of its location.

Maybe I'll make it home next year -- I hope!

View Comments (0)