2 of 5
BACKNEXT
Orion Lyonesse
Unemployed since: April 2008

Benefits expired: June 2009

Filed in: Washington

Age: 63

I was laid off from my administrative assistant job in 2006, and since then I've had only two terrible temp jobs at call centers. At the first, I had to call late-payers to tell them their electricity was being shut off. I left in December 2007. I took another call-center job reconciling health claims, but I was laid off in April 2008.

Last summer, I was diagnosed with cancer; I'm in collections on most of those bills, because I have zero money to pay them. They say I'm in remission now, but I can't afford to go to the doctor, although I'm supposed to every three months.

Luckily, I worked long enough at that second job to qualify for unemployment -- only about $180 a week. I received extensions, but they're all gone now. I've used up all my savings and retirement money. All that's keeping me afloat is a monthly disability check. I earn a very small amount selling jewelry online and at farmers' markets, but those end in this area in September.

I'm getting kind of fatalistic at this point. I went from a divorce to cancer to unemployment. I've been paying into "the system" for over 45 years, and now that I try to use it just once, it fails me.

I'm writing a fiction novel set in the future. Maybe it'll be a book someday, and maybe it's pure escapism. But I need something, anything, to take me away.

NEXT: Patrick Erwin

Last updated July 17 2009: 10:06 AM ET
Email | Print | Share  |  RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
More Galleries
12 biggest tax scams to avoid There's no end to the creative ways scammers will try to steal your identity and your money. And tax time is one of their favorite times of the year. Here's how to spot a top scam and protect yourself. More
Public colleges with the best bang for your buck Graduates with bachelor's degrees from these state schools see the biggest return on their college investment, according to a report from PayScale. More
Cool cars from the 2015 Geneva Motor Show These are some of the stand-out cars and trucks on display at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. More

Special Offer