First Person: 'This Is Not Where We Wanted to Be at This Stage in Our Lives'

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

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First Person: 'This Is Not Where We Wanted to Be at This Stage in Our Lives'

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Tiffany Bailey and her husband, Matt.

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 | As a wife and mother, I feel it is my duty to help with both the household and bringing money to the table.

But I have been unemployed for a little more than 30 months, and the loss of $800 a month in net income has had a devastating impact on my family.

Before becoming unemployed, I worked as an in-home caregiver. I loved my job, but unfortunately my company downsized right before I went on maternity leave. My husband and I have three children, 5 months, 30 months and 8 years old.

I am 28, and we live in a small Illinois town called Sandwich. It is really tiny - about 7,500 residents -- and there aren't many businesses here. My husband, Matt, is 29 and has been working at the same place for more than a decade as a mechanic. He works full-time, and there is almost always work. He stays busy and brings home a check with 80 hours or more bi-weekly.

Still, we have had to move back "home" with my husband's father and his family. There are nine of us in the house, five adults and four children - 5 months up to 16 years old. It sometimes feel like we are on top of one another, but we make it work. We pay rent and have our own "apartment" in the basement. But this is not where we wanted to be at this stage in our lives.

We are not using any government assistance, and have given up a lot, sacrificing the luxuries we could, and have even gone bare minimum on groceries to make sure our financial obligations are met.

I feel like I have failed in some way.

Money is the root of a lot of our marital battles, most of which end with us not speaking to one another for a few hours. I am constantly stressed over where the next bit of money will come from, and often stay up late into the night to finish things that have tight deadlines.

I pick up whatever freelance jobs are available, though they don't touch what I made in my old job. I am actively looking for work. I have applied at multiple establishments, including some of the fast-food places in town. I've applied to 18 jobs over the last six months. I haven't received one call back.

My goal is to be working by the beginning of the new year, even if it means having to do something I really don't want to do. We have plans to purchase a home in 2014, and getting a job will just put us that much closer to our end goal.

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