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
Top luxurious hotel suites for business travelers For many people, you can't put a price on comfort. More
Million-dollar startups: These firms scored big sales their first year Their first year in business, these companies generated $1 million in sales. More
The 10 best states for retirees It might be worth moving to a new place to find your dream retirement home. Check out these 10 states. More

Special Offer