I have been unemployed since October 2008, and I have only one week of unemployment left. I am a 56-year-old husband, the father of three adult daughters and the grandfather of seven wonderful grandkids.
I worked at a company that builds grandfather clocks for 15 years and was laid off from there. Then, I took a job building store display units from blue prints, even though it was a 30-minute drive (when gas prices when through the roof) and I took a pay cut. I worked there for five years until I was laid off in October 2008.
I have worked in the woodworking industry for just about all of my adult life (30+ years). I am a wood craftsman. I tried to start my own business, but no one wants to buy what I build in this economy. I even went out of Michigan to try to sell some things I built. Again, no success. I love to build with wood, to study the pattern of the wood and to create something with my own hands that will be an heirloom that can be passed down through the generations.
No one wants to hire a 56-year-old man when they can hire someone younger. They want someone in their 20s or 30s, with 30 years experience! For minimum wage!
I am in the "No Worker Left Behind" program, and I have applied and applied and applied for jobs. At 56, I am not a hot commodity. But I am not just a number! I am a man who wants to work, who wants to spoil my grandchildren and to support my wife.
I don't want to have to worry about how I am going to make my house payment, my car payment or replace the brakes on our 1998 minivan. Please extend unemployment so I have more time to look for a job and PLEASE help me find a job doing what I am skilled at instead of having to be on unemployment.
For all the rhetoric out there about people being lazy or irresponsible for being unemployed, this puts a real face on someone who is trying to make it but cannot seem to get there. We need to do more to take care of each other in this troubled time, and refrain from making quick judgments about those who are in hard times.
Read the article at: http://www.mlive.com/michigan-job-search/index.ssf/2010/04/not_just_a_number_at_56_former_woodworke.html