News / USA

A Personal Look At Unemployment

The U.S. Labor Department says 12.7 million Americans are jobless, with four of ten of them out of work for 27 weeks or more. One woman has spent two years in the ranks of the long-term unemployed.  She made a difficult journey from highly-paid corporate sales agent to living in a noisy and dangerous homeless shelter.  

Robbyne Sudduth sold high technology products for Xerox , and made more than $100,000 a year.  

She lost that job, and was surprised when she could not find another.

"I was literally shocked when no one hired me. Like what is going on here, I can’t find a job....  I’ve got all this experience, I've got all this background, of course I’ll get a job," she said.

Sudduth lived on her savings till they ran out, lost her house to foreclosure, and saw her possessions sold to pay a bill.  For a few months she lived in her car and a succession of homeless shelters.

Friday, the U.S. Department of Labor said there are 5.4 million Americans who, like Sudduth, have been out of work for at least 27 weeks.  They make up nearly 43 percent of the jobless ranks.   

"It (homelessness) could happen to anyone. As soon as that savings is gone, you have gone through the 401-k (retirement savings account) and everything else, what do you do?," she said.  

Sudduth described her plight in a book called “Journey.”  She said moving to a homeless shelter was quite traumatic for her.

"It is not a fun place to be, by any means, and it takes every ounce of strength that you have to not let that permeate your mind set so that you can stay focused and stay where you need to stay to get to the next step," she said.   

Sudduth says it was sometimes very frustrating to deal with the public assistance bureaucracy, which could be harsh, arbitrary or demeaning at times.  

She kept looking for work, but in her 40s she worried about losing out to younger competitors, and feared prospective employers would think her long period of unemployment made her a poor prospect.

"When you are now looking at age, you are looking at gaps in the resume, and your are competing with people who are 20 years younger than you there is a lot going on in that process," she said.  

Sudduth eventually found  work at another high-tech company and is recovering financially.  She says her deep religious faith was critical to surviving her ordeal.

Sudduth says she hopes her book will be a help to other people struggling with the economic and personal trauma of unemployment.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid