There are currently 14.5 million unemployed people in America, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Almost half of those people have been out of work for more than 27 weeks. Here are some touching stories of their struggle, perseverance and self-discovery.
From Business Exec to Delivery Guy
I applied for jobs in the corporate sector, sending out at least 100 targeted job applications. I interviewed, but only three times during that period. In all cases, the interviewer would conclude that the job was somehow beneath me. It was like buying a car with a salesman telling you that the car you were ready to purchase is not right for you, it is too small.
Single Mom Learns to Cut Corners and Get Creative
Our local food bank supplied us with the necessities that we couldn't afford ourselves, including personal hygiene items, various meats and a lot of cereal -- which during the times when we had very little food often became our breakfast, lunch and dinner. Depressing as it may sound, sharing a bowl of cereal for dinner with my children actually turned out to be a fun experience for all of us.
I Felt Emasculated
I found myself turning into one of those suburban housewives you see in any subdivision. The kind that gives up trying to look like anything other than what she is -- a harried, baggy-shirted, middle-aged parent in pajama pants. The last vestiges of my manhood slipped silently away the day I realized I was the only man pushing a stroller around the neighborhood park.
I Didn't Feel Angry, I Just Felt Lost
Initially, I didn't know what to do with myself and began to lose my self-esteem. I made a profile on LinkedIn and networked, networked, networked. I signed up on several job-search engines and received daily job postings. But after four months, I've had only a few bites and two interviews. I've sent out more resumes than I can count and made countless connections and calls -- but "The Job" I need is still eluding me.
Selling Off My Identity to Survive
While my resume looks like I'm 35 -- and I can almost pass for it -- when I walk in and see the recruiter's face fall, I know at that moment that I will not be brought back, no matter how great the interview goes. This, on top of the crushing economy, is a virtual death blow that leaves me feeling like I'll never work again. I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!
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