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.

4 of 4
BACKNEXT
Jay Ridinger
Unemployed since: August 2008
Benefits expired: Multiple times
Full-time employment: No
Filed in: Tennessee
Age: 54

I used to be a road warrior. I worked for a contract management company, where I jumped from city to city on federal projects.

Contractor work always stops and starts, so when my last project ended in August, I wasn't too worried. I got the maximum $250 unemployment check per week, so I said, hey, all right. At the time, Tennessee's regular benefits lasted 13 weeks.

Eventually ... I don't know, you just start to realize something's different this time, you know? Then all the stuff with the banks happened. Everything was falling apart. Unemployment checks came, then they stopped. Then they came again. I don't even know how many weeks I've gotten in total. It's like a rollercoaster.

I ended up applying for food stamps, which was really difficult. I just sat in the office and cried and cried. I recently got another 13 weeks of unemployment, which is great. But it also means I can't get food stamps anymore.

I've now sent more than 1,000 job applications nationwide and even overseas. It seems with so many out of work, employers can choose from the cream of the crop. I just don't know where that leaves me.

More galleries

Last updated September 18 2009: 6:28 PM 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
Google's logos through the years Google changed its logo for the fifth time in 17 years this week. Here's what the old ones looked like. More
How much you should have saved for retirement right now Joe is 50 years old and makes $70,000 a year. He should already have $364,000 saved for retirement. Are you on track? More
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

Special Offer