The "Help Wanted" Project

What does 9.2% unemployment mean? How can we understand a statistic like 14.2 million unemployed?

Maybe by remembering that each of these numbers represents a person.

“I am intelligent, experienced, professional, lead with integrity and have excellent references,” a reader wrote in response to a Post article asking the unemployed to write about their experiences. “How did my life come to this? I am exhausted, I need peace of mind and I need a job. I am scared and recently called a suicide hot line... God forgive me.”

“Every application not responded to is rejection – being told I am worthless, useless and unwanted,” another unemployed reader wrote. “Every job posting telling me I am not good enough, that all my life work is worth nothing, tells me I do not measure up. I feel like I have been told a 1,000 times to just die.”

The Washington Post has collected stories from six families who have been affected by unemployment. You can read their accounts at Help Wanted: Stories of Unemployment


  1. I have four college degrees. I taught middle school for 12 years at a private school which had to shut its doors for the 2007/2008 school year due to drop in enrollment. I have networked and sent out resumes for all of the varied jobs I am qualified for and I am repeatedly told I am overqualified. I have applied for jobs at fast food places and dept. stores and told I am over qualified. I have been told for two years that I am either overqualified or no one is hiring in any of the fields for which I am qualified. I am exhausted. I have cashed in IRAs so that I do not become homeless. I now have NOTHING left. I don't even count as being a LIVE citizen in this country. I do not count among the employed and I do not count among the unemployed as I lost my coverage 18 months ago when I hit 99 weeks. I have to decide if I eat or purchase medications every day. I only eat every three days. I have a medical condition which makes most packaged foods undigestable to me. I must eat fresh and organic meats, fish, and poultry. Most fruit and vegetables, except for a very few, I am not permitted to eat. I have NO medical coverage. The price of gas has made it prohibitive to ride around looking for work. I search on line as postage is also too high. I started by sending out employment packets that cost close to $5.00 each. I was sending out over one hundred per week. I used my food money. I now have no food money,I have zero income. No one who can change this cares. I have paid the salaries of government employees for all of the years I worked. They don't worry about living in their cars this winter or where their next meal will come from IF it comes at all! What is wrong with the government who does not know that we MUST put our own before
    we help the world. This is NOT a second recession. We are still in the first depression caused by eight years of government mismanagement and spending without having the means. When George W. Bush became President we had a surplus - now his administration has gotten us so in debt we can't possbily fix this in less than 8 years. The Senators and Congress all work for US THE PEOLE OF THIS COUNTRY. THEY HAVE ALL (both parties) seem to have forgeotten this. We put them there and we pay for their homes and meals yet we have no homes or meals or medical care. Something is very wrong with this picture and this is NOT what Ben Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington had in mind when they fought with their hearts and minds to set us free from Tyranny. We, the Highly Educated yet Long Term Unemployed, are in desperate need of help from the government - more so than the bailouts that were given in the $billions to banks and corporations. If you put a roof on a building with no walls it will fall. We, everyday people, are the foundation of the economy. If you want the economy to grow then we need to be spending in stores and restaurants. We can't. There are nearly 4 million of us. As of December 31st there will be 8 million of us! Why is the Government of The United States of America ignoring our own and letting huge corporations outsource thousands of jobs? We need money to get us over this awful hump. We all want to work. However we want to work at jobs with which we can support ourselves. We need full time jobs with benefits and an appropriate salary. Why won't the government listen? Why won't they act? Why don't they care at all?


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