Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

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
The stock market's wild week in 6 pictures It was the wildest week in stocks in recent memory. Here's photos and CNNMoney's tweets of reactions to the panicked selling on Monday and Tuesday, which gave way to a mad buying scramble on Wednesday and Thursday. And then...a selloff on Friday again. More
How New Orleans is learning to live with water After Hurricane Katrina, the city of New Orleans had to reinvent the way it manages water and protects itself from future storms. More
Your degree will earn you the most from these colleges Art majors can make big bucks, too. Find out which school has the highest paid grads in your major. More

Special Offer