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I read your article and I was deeply moved. I am sort of in the same situation minus 20 years of life experience, and have been out of work since January of this year.

I have moved myself towards a cheaper way of living. Times are tough, you have to make cuts where necessary. I can't help but to say I'm a bit ashamed that I even need an unemployment check but I have the knowledge that over the past year of working alone I was stolen from to the amount of at least $5000. Chump change for others, for me that's money I could have both banked in fear of a mass layoff and also paid for the almost nil services I take from the state (fire protection, roads).

In the time being I've spent it not sitting on the couch, but working as you have to earn money for yourself. I so much want to enter the agora, but business has been stale. Of course, I entered the one field that I always wanted to enter, photography. So far, a few sales here and there make for a nice bit of change to pay some bills with, but it's a crap market for art. The worst part is trying to find work. I've submitted applications and regularly check in with all the major companies in the area, even fast food. It seems the hiring market, especially for the unemployed is also stale.

I was told at one interview that they would not hire people who were on unemployment. I curiously asked why this would be. Seems that a lot of these big box stores have had a history of hiring those who are on unemployment, especially towards the end of their compensation. I guess these people, who love being unemployed, do the required amount of job hunting, find a crappy job, work there for as long as is required to refill their compensation, and then look for ways to get themselves laid off again. In some places, if you leave for any reason your new job, you can pick up a fresh package of unemployment compensation.

Last year my boss laid us off for a month. I didn't take unemployment. I drowned in debt, and libertarian friends explained to me that my employer and myself were forced to pay into their system while working, why not take back some of the money you were stolen from. Seems reasonable, but the principle is what makes me a bit ashamed about my situation. If I had been working, I would have been able to continue donating to various groups in New Hampshire looking to eliminate the entire system. For now, donations of photography, fine art, and hopefully soon a Shire calendar will make me feel a bit better about my situation.

Good Luck.