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9 Years Without a Job – An Unemployment Story

May 15, 2013 by Lady Unemployed

One of the best parts of this blog – and one of the most humbling – is hearing the stories from those who are unemployed or have their own unemployment story to share. I received this story from Emma Asante, a blogger at My Sidekick and MeShe agreed for me to share her details and I hope that by doing so, one of my readers can reach out and lend a hand.  The rest of this post is written by Emma.

After a relationship breakdown, I gave up my job to become a full time parent. My daughter was not much older than a year and my main priority was just to make sure she was taken care of. Obviously with no income, I put in a claim for benefits. At the time, I figured It would be a couple of months and I would find something, sort out some childcare and get back on my feet.

This was about 9 years ago!

As I sit writing this, I just think what the hell went wrong? How did a few months turn into 6, then a year, then 2, then before I knew it I’m sitting here knowing that 9 years have passed but yet nothing has changed. I’m still struggling to pay for basic necessities. Rarely able to afford any nice luxuries, never had a holiday and at times had to choose between spending the last few pound in my bank account on gas or food.

How did things get like this? I have gone from being on income support, to being “forced” onto job seekers allowance where I have fortnightly signings and get penalized like a naughty child if I don’t mark down every little thing I have done in relation to looking for  work.

I seem to have lost my way and the longer I am out of work, the harder it is to get back into it. I am nothing more than a statistic now that I am unemployed and I will always be in that category of the typical single mum claiming benefits. No one cares that I am daily trawling the internet  looking for available jobs. No one cares that I go to an interview for the highly “unskilled” position or “frozen produce replenishment” (which is just a fancy way of saying freezer filler) only to be told that the other person I was interviewing with was more qualified for the role.

I know I have little or no chance when applying for jobs, given that I left school before sitting my exams so have no formal qualifications. That and the long gap in employment hardly leaves an employer eager to learn more about me. I was even told that I was too old to go to college and that if I chose to study I would relinquish my right to my benefits. I just feel worthless and it is a near impossible task to try and sell yourself to an employer when you feel you have nothing to sell.

Is this all I have to look forward to?

Another 10 years of doing nothing and barely scraping by? My daughter is now 10 years old and I want her to be proud of her mum. But all she sees is a daily struggle making ends meet. I could easily say that this will be the year things change but believe me, as quickly as I say it, the year comes to an end and its January again.

I know that most of the (working) people would read this and think I was just a typical lazy single parent that would rather sit around getting paid for nothing. That’s just the way society thinks. But I want nothing more than to be able to sign off and start earning for myself. I know that with employment will come self worth and confidence and I am just praying for that one day that someone will look past the piece of paper and give me a chance to be a hardworking successful person that I can be.


8 Comments »

  1. Jess says:

    Oh man. This is so tough. Yes, the longer one is unemployed, the harder it is to get back into it. Too bad she isn’t here in the states because there are so many programs for people just like her that include education. Perhaps she has a friend who can teach her to use Excel and PowerPoint, Word, Access, Outlook so she can apply for receptionist or assistant positions. I really wish I could help.

  2. Monica says:

    She’s obviously not a lazy person….you’re not lazy AND a single mom. I just don’t see that happening. Maybe she could offer her services on craigslist for some cash. Also, I was told about odesk.com, companies hire you for virtual help. I wish I could help. But she should know that it will turn around one day. She was employed at one point, so she obviously has something to sell!

  3. ambar says:

    I have a masters degree, and y now have 2.5 years unemployed. You feel like your life is wasted and worthless. I just don’t seem to catch a break.

  4. sarah says:

    I’m 21 and I’ve been unemployed for nearly two years now. I’m afraid it’ll be all my life! I live in a small town and there are thousands unemployed same as me – including my mum. It makes me feel so worthless, especially when the advisors at jobcentre treat me like crap. I’ve lost passion for all my hobbies like art and writing 🙁 I want my life back

  5. Chrisna says:

    Hi I have only seen this know me to have been struggling for 10 years here in South Africa turning 30 this year and not even once felt how it feels to get a salary you go to an interview and people treat you like your worst than trash they think you were in Jail because you don’t got any previous Job experience. I know how you feel and can only help you pray and try to believe I know how useless you can feel after a time.

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