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3 Years Unemployed – How Did I Get Here? [An Anonymous Guest Post]

November 13, 2013 by Lady Unemployed

I have been unemployed for almost three years. I am 50 years old, college educated and professionally certified (HR). I have applied for positions with hundreds of employers in the past three years. In that span of time I have been contacted for four interviews, and had no offers of employment. This is the longest I have been unemployed in my life (for a little perspective when I started my 1st job at age 16, Jimmy Carter was president). How did I get to this place?

My husband accepted a new position with his employer in 2009 and relocated to Georgia. When I say “accepted” I am being kind, this was not an offer he could refuse, if you know what I mean. At the time I was working as a Human Resource Analyst and my daughter was a junior in high school. My son, the oldest, was a senior in college. Our family had relocated a few times in the past 20 years or so, and I had always been able to “land on my feet”. By landing on my feet I mean, find a job! I stayed behind and focused on preparing our home for sale, taking care of my sick boxer and enjoying a little “me” time.

When I arrived in Georgia in December 2010, searching for a new job became my full-time job. I scoured the internet for opportunities, attended careers fairs and applied for jobs ranging from “dishwasher” to “CEO”. That’s a bit of an exaggeration but I think you get the point. About one year ago I returned to school, thanks to a Workforce Investment Act grant (WIA), and completed my Society of Human Resources Professionals certification in an effort to make myself a more attractive candidate. This has not improved my job search results, yet?

Aside from the obvious challenges of unemployment (lack of income), there are more insidious ones that are not discussed publicly nearly enough. The impact on your self-confidence and self-perception is devastating. The best way I can describe it would be to compare it to the time I was a 13 year old girl attending my first school dance, and seeing all my friends being asked to dance while I watched from an uncomfortable position leaning against the gymnasium wall. If not being called for interviews was not reason enough to be pessimistic, the longer I remain unemployed makes the prospect of a future job even less likely. Some employers have gone as far as to recommend that you not apply if you are not currently employed. And you thought you cleared a hurdle if you were not a convicted felon. Think again?

Following a particularly difficult day recently I decided to start blogging about my unemployment experience. account4gaps.com is a play on that phrase that sends chills up the spine of anyone who belongs to the community of the long-term unemployed, “account for all gaps in employment”. Easier said than done. It’s been extremely helpful because it has given me a reason to get out of bed some days. Through the blogging process I have been able to reach out to others with similar experiences, follow news and policy makers and last but not least VENT!

I encourage all of my readers to share their experiences with unemployment, job searching and anything else that you feel may be a match for this blog. Please email me at lady_unemployed@ladyunemployed.com.  A special thank you to Antoinette for writing this post.


8 Comments »

  1. Jess says:

    Adapt and overcome. You’ve been on the wrong path, there haven’t been jobs in HR for the last 5 years and that’s not changing anytime soon. Remember that non-billable employees are cut first. You need to move to IT project management. It’s where all the cool HR kids have gone.

    As for accounting for gaps… You took this opportunity to care for your family and now that your last kid is heading to college you’re ready to re enter the work force.

  2. Maryann says:

    Thank u, thank u, thank u for this post. I too have been out of work for a long time. Can’t go into all now, hubby home, blah blah blah. Will write again later, just know that u encouraged one today 🙂

  3. vikkid says:

    Thank you for your insight. I stepped away from a job several months ago because a co-worker was making my daily life hell. It was a stupid decision – I know that now. I have never had trouble getting interviews before & typically get an offer if I get an interview, but all that has changed & I’m not sure why. I’ve had a couple of interviews, but mostly I’ve had phone screens. Every one of these left me feeling we would move forward to an offer. They tell me all the right things – that I have what they’re looking for in terms of credentials and attitude, etc. Then, I either hear nothing or I get a polite note saying they’ve decided another candidate is a better fit. The sheer law of averages should have worked in my favor at least once. My husband joked that maybe the co-worker had black-balled me but I’m not that paranoid & she could not have that kind of power. My best theory is that they are finding younger & cheaper candidates. (I’ve stressed that money is not an issue, that the right position is most important, but so far it has not worked.) I am a high energy, reliable employee, but I’ve somehow ended up without a paycheck & it feels awful.

  4. Kelly says:

    If I could give one piece of advice to people out of work, it would be to quit waiting for someone else to hire you and start working for yourself! I know a lot of people want the “security” of a job – but obviously, jobs aren’t providing any security anymore.

    Think about your skills, the things you like to do… and find a way to make a living with it. I’ve talked to quite a few people lately who have been out of work for a year or more – and I really believe that if they had put as much effort into starting they’re own business as they had in to trying to find a job, they’d be in a much better situation right now.

  5. Ash says:

    Do you think that your joblessness could be because you moved to a different state? Employment laws differ from state to state and employers in Georgia may be looking for candidates who are experienced with Georgia’s employment laws. I ask because I’m in HR and having this problem after moving to USA from another country

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