"I Never Thought I Would Be In This Spot At This Age": Emails From The Unemployed

09/21/2009 12:21 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Unemployed people send me emails every day.

They write in response to the series of articles I've been writing about other unemployed people, folks like James O'Connell, who plugs along with never-ending debt and no job.

Last week, two readers in California emailed me with their stories. Magdalena Munro of Burbank wrote that despite ten years of recruiting experience, including career counseling, resume-writing workshops, and in-house corporate recruiting for Fortune 500 organizations, she can't find a new job after a contract ended in November. She was pregnant when she ran out of work.

I was four months pregnant and worried sick about being unemployed and pregnant. I networked like crazy to no avail. I found nothing. My baby was breech, which meant I needed a c-section, which was going to cost thousands of dollars (my insurance is mediocre and covered about 60%...yet the bill was $33,000).

Fast forward to April 15th....I was running out of money and had to rely on my husband to pay all of the bills. My savings was depleted. I then received a call from my accountant and he informed me I owed the IRS $9,000 due to a billing error on my end from the previous January.

I had a newborn and was all of a sudden $15,000 in debt.....and I was the one with a credit score over 800 and zero debt. I was miserable about not being able to find work and still am to this day. Fortunately, I have been a saver all my life and decided to sell most of my mutual funds to pay off my debt. At least that albatross (the IRS) has been punted out of my corner.

That's my story. At least my son is healthy and beautiful and I get to spend all of my time with him. That, at least, is a silver lining in this tale.

From Sacramento, Donna Whitaker, 63, wrote that she's been unemployed since 2007. The company she had worked for since 1996 laid her off in 2006, when it downsized, but then hired her back on a freelance basis. That ended in April 2007. And then in May, her son killed himself.

On May 2nd Michael locked himself in his truck and shot himself in front of his brother. It took our family and myself in particular a year to even cope with life. Just to get out of bed was almost impossible.

By the time I was able to begin to look for work there were no jobs for people my age, as well as many other Americans. I do collect Social Security and am in the process of trying to save my home through the new government programs. I have just made my last house payment in June.

I lost 52% of my 401K Savings within the last year. I had saved and saved for my retirement, but did not to plan to retire quite this early. I have lived in my home for 17 years and have no bills other than my home. Thanks goodness. I want to keep my home and pray this bailout can help me lower my house payments before all of my retirement funds are gone.

This is my story, just one of millions I'm sure. I never thought I would be in this spot at this age. I had always planned so carefully for my retirement and lived within my means. I drive an 8-year-old car and live very frugally.

Click here for more stories about people dealing with unemployment.

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