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    As of December 29th I’d be glad to work at Walmart because that’s when my federal extended unemployment benefits expire. Don't judge. I support Walmart workers and the strikes wholeheartedly. They aren’t paid a living wage. Their miserly work schedules are shameful. Their working conditions are arguably, if not actually, dangerous in some cases. But I will need a job – any job  – come December 30th.
    As MeteorBlades explained earlier this week, over 2 million long term unemployed workers will abruptly lose federal unemployment benefits on December 29th unless those EUC benefits are renewed. Another 400,000 unemployed workers will lose state benefits in January, 2013 and be left without support if federal benefits aren’t extended. By the end of March 2012, state benefits for an additional 600,000 workers will expire. By the end of 2013, 2 million more unemployed workers will exhaust their state benefits. In all, by the end of 2013 about 5 million unemployed workers will be pushed over a very real and very steep “fiscal cliff” unless federal benefits are extended. And one of the ripple effects of failing to extend benefits is the expected loss of 400,000 additional jobs due to decreased consumer spending.
    This particular financial crisis hasn’t received much attention here, in the news, or apparently in Congress. There’s not much time left to lobby before the end of the year, but a communication of your choice to the White House and/or your Congressperson would mean a lot to me and several million other people. If you are pressed for time, here's a convenient petition to multiple Congressional representatives that you can sign.

    So here I am, willing to work at ... sigh ... Walmart. Except they haven’t responded to my application.
    I’ve worked since I was 17. I worked to pay my way through undergraduate and graduate school. I worked through the worst recessions of the last 34 years. I was always able to find a job, no matter how bad the economy. But this time is different. This downturn is worse, and I’m 50+ years old.
    According to the GAO, in 2011 almost 40% of unemployed older workers over 50 were unemployed for more than a year before finding a job. The average job hunt for older workers is 57 weeks.
    Unemployment benefits vary by state. Generally, each worker’s benefit amount is based on their prior wages and each state sets how long benefits will be paid. I live in Texas. The maximum weekly benefit is $426. Benefits can be paid for a maximum of 26 weeks. I’ve been out of work almost a year and have been living on federal EUC benefits since early August.
    Like so many other older workers who have posted their personal stories in blogs and comments online, (fair warning – their testimonies are angst inducing illustrations of the fragility of our lives), I have networked, Facebooked, LinkedIn, sent out resumes, filled out applications, breakfasted, lunched, coffeed, volunteered, attended seminars and classes, and worked outside the box to create my own job without results. As 2012 has slipped toward 2013, I've discarded my discriminating aspirations and pretensions of obtaining re-employment as a professional and applied with Walmart, and McDonalds, and scores of other companies for any job I could find. I’m still waiting for responses.
    While I wait for Walmart’s call, any rabble-rousing any of you could do to get benefits extended would help me and other unemployed workers of all ages as we continue to look for work in a market where there are 7-10 qualified applicants for each job opening. Please, hurry. There’s not much time left. And I’m not getting any younger.

Originally posted to helverings nag on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 02:06 AM PST.

Also republished by Unemployment Chronicles, In Support of Labor and Unions, and Invisible People.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Got a late start huh? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OooSillyMe, raster44
    I’ve worked since I was 17.
    /snark

    Americans need to realize that the corporations are throwing a hissy fit basically because of power and control issues. They will not hire.

    I've just started telling people to follow their dreams or just be creative and start their own business.

    "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 02:51:43 AM PST

    •  It's not a "hissy fit". It's millions of (8+ / 0-)

      desperate workers willing to take any wage.

      This is no grand businessmans plot.  It's just business.

      The only solution was for the Employer of Last Resort to step up to the plate, but that ship sailed over two years ago.

      Welcome to the new normal.

      "the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared material at these facilities and LOFs."

      by JesseCW on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 03:02:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You can't unionize against the robots (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Utahrd, raster44, kurt

      That's essentially what's happening: automation and software productivity have destroyed and continue to destroy swaths of medium-skill jobs.

      The iPhone/iPad alone has eliminated the need for dozens of things, from GPSs to bookstores to video cameras to movie rentals to encyclopedias. Robots mean you can make more things with fewer people, leaving only high skill robot design work and low-skill service work remaining.

      Not sure what the solution is, because all this is net a good thing (higher living standards for most people). But it sucks to be a worker affected.

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 07:17:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The net result has not been higher living (0+ / 0-)

        standards for most people.  Just most people you chose to associate with.

        Most people are suffering from falling wages and a lower standard of living.

        "the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared material at these facilities and LOFs."

        by JesseCW on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 03:54:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nope (0+ / 0-)

          Most people planet-wide are experiencing sharply higher living standards and life expectancies than ever before. There is no better time to be a human on earth than today.

          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

          by Sparhawk on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 04:10:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Not Snark. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JayRaye, Dewstino, kurt

      Seventeen was older than most of my high school friends. I didn't work until the week I graduated high school. I own my selfish pursuit of education.

      Unfortunately, the job I lost was in my dream profession. It was a second career I pursued after my initial banking career got killed in the 1980's financial disasters. I agree with your advice to start your own business. I've come to believe it's the only real option for me and headed that way.

      But I would really like to feed my kids (2 teenage sons), buy gas, pay rent, etc., until I can get it going. I would work at Walmart if they'd have me. Since they won't, I'm asking Kossacks to help me and everybody else who's lost or losing their jobs for lobbying support. Call a Congressperson or sign a petition to extend federal benefits, please.

  •  I spent 72 weeks unemployed all the while the (5+ / 0-)

    tbagging minions of Norquist hijacked the political discourse to focusing on debt reduction, even tying extending UI to quid quo pro cuts in the safety net.

    We have to make sure we keep the focus on job creation and maintaining benefits without taking it out on those worried, not only about finding work, but putting food on the table.

    Finding work for older folks, I am 52, is more challenging as we are seen as more likely to utilize healthcare and want higher wages. I have had several employers informally share that with me.

    I applied for a range of jobs from collections/customer service to carpentry, with very little response.
    Either "thanks, but we are going another way, or no response at all.

    Debt reduction is a nebulous concept compared to having the next UI check to put groceries on the table.

    Occupy- Your Mind. - No better friend, no worse enemy. -8.75, -6.21<> Bring the Troops Home Yesterday

    by Thousandwatts on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 05:07:20 AM PST

    •  We need to change the conversation again (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Thousandwatts, kurt, Kitsap River

      just like Occupy did.

      TABBY GETS THE CREAM

      In the factories and mills,in the shipyards and mines,
      We've often been told to keep up with the times
      For our skills are not needed, they've streamlined the job.
      And with sliderule and stopwatch, our pride they have robbed.

      We're the first ones to starve, we're the first ones to die.
      The first ones in line for that pie-in-the-sky.
      And we're always the last when the cream is shared out.
      For the worker is working
      [or looking for work]
      When the Fat Cat's about.

      https://www.google.com/...

      WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Nov: Voting Rights Martyrs

      by JayRaye on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 09:23:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Absolutely. That was golden and the pundits, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JayRaye

        media hoes and pols, fought like hell to make it about whiny, overprivileged youth peeing in public and having nothing coherent to say.

        The society now moves at a screaming pace- the paradigm has shifted.

        Occupy- Your Mind. - No better friend, no worse enemy. -8.75, -6.21<> Bring the Troops Home Yesterday

        by Thousandwatts on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 03:18:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Hey JayRaye- I LOVE that fuckin' song!!!! n/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JayRaye

        Occupy- Your Mind. - No better friend, no worse enemy. -8.75, -6.21<> Bring the Troops Home Yesterday

        by Thousandwatts on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 07:05:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  That's the point, isn't it? To deprive some, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JayRaye, kurt

    so the rest will be more compliant. It's not a matter of "divide and conquer," but of divide to conquer. Divide to conquer works better because there are actually two targets who don't realize what the object is. Those that are separated feel special and those that are conquered aren't even aware of being attacked.
    Which is why Jesus of Nazareth said, "what you do to the least of these, you do to me." When some of us are deprived, we are all deprived.
    Why would humans deprive their own kind? Apparently, for some, getting something for nothing is paramount and stealthful deprivation is less risky than outright theft. Slyness, like accumulation, is an instinctive attribute. It does not require a big brain. Perhaps we can conclude that deprivators aren't too bright and take that as our cue to be on the alert.
    Perhaps the biggest hoax is the notion that the ability to accumulate money is a sign of smarts.
    Where would Willard and McCain be without their wives?

    We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 05:47:02 AM PST

  •  I, for one, am not judging at all. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kurt

    The more class-conscious workers we have working inside Walmart, the better.

    Perhaps we could multiply this:
    http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/...

    into this:
    https://www.google.com/...

    WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Nov: Voting Rights Martyrs

    by JayRaye on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 08:46:33 AM PST

    •  I also don't judge you for not working (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurt

      during high school and concentrating on your studies instead.

      For sure, I would not have gone to work at age 11, if my family had been able to afford my school clothes.

      I wish for all high school and college students to be able to study and engage in after school or community activities.

      WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Nov: Voting Rights Martyrs

      by JayRaye on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 08:54:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have multiple acquaintances who have experienced (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ManfromMiddletown

    what you're experiencing.  I've experienced it too.  All of us without work for a long time...all over 50.

    Here's what turned out to be "successful"

    1.  Applying for and ultimately getting a job with TSA.
    2.  Working in a hospital delivering food trays...until recognized for dedication, intelligence, and moved up to better job.
    3.  Starting a new career with the help of some practical education.  Examples, Real Estate, Heating and air, welding, and so on.
    4.  Courtesy van driver at upscale auto dealership.

    Just some thoughts...
    Best...  

    The longer I live, the clearer I perceive how unmatchable a compliment one pays when he says of a man "he has the courage to utter his convictions." Mark Twain

    by Persiflage on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 11:30:36 AM PST

    •  I would also suggest (0+ / 0-)

      looking at substitute teaching.  It's not much, but if you've run out of unemployment, it's something.  And it can give the flexibility needed to keep a search for a more permanent job going.

      http://www.economicpopulist.org

      by ManfromMiddletown on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 03:25:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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