Poll: How Long Have You Been Unemployed?


According to an article by the Job Center of Wisconsin, there are four stages to unemployment. One starts with the stage of denial and isolation, where the person might express some confusion for being let go. Not talking about their emotions causes them to go into isolation.

The next stages are a wide range of emotions including: anger, blame, depression and sadness. The final stage is acceptance of the job loss, which not only leaves room for self-analysis, but the person is then able to ‘move on’ so to speak and begins looking for another job.

Whatever stage of the unemployment grieving process you’re in, how long you’ve been unemployed for tells a different story.

With that said, how long have you been unemployed? Please take our poll!

How long have you been unemployed?

View Results

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Belen Chacon

Belen is a journalism graduate student at California State University, Northridge. She spends her time interning wherever she can and tweeting her heart out. You can follow her @journobelen.


  1. I have been following this conversation and am wondering what is the best approach. I believe that if I take out the 24 years of experience from my resume. I may get more interviews or call backs. Also, I am in the process of pursuing my PMP Certification which should help me locate a job that I will be able to contribute and enjoy. I am tired of jobs that are not fulfilling. Your thoughts??

  2. This poll is not properly created. I have been laid off more than two months and less than 6 months but there is no option for that. LOL!

  3. My job searching looks to be slim to none at this point. I have 20 years’ experience in one field but experience means NOTHING because I don’t have a University Degree.

    Most jobs in my city require a 2nd language (French, Mandarin, Cantonese, German, Portuguese, Punjabi, etc). I only speak English.

    I’m too over qualifed for Entry Level jobs and because I don’t have a Degree, I’m under qualified.

    I don’t drive and I am not willing (due to time and cost) to travel 2-3 hours EACH WAY for a low-paying job. Nor will I relocate; too many costs involved and my husband & I are too old.

    I’ve tried networking only to receive empty promises. I’ve signed up with agencies — useless.

    What am I supposed to do???????

    • Hi STB03 go back to school, there are on line courses you can take while looking for a job. If you need a degree, an Associates will at least get you an interview. Let me tell you what I learn. I was working full time for five years and I did not have a college degree. Though my employer told me that I needed to get my degree. So I went back to school “on line” year round, while I was working a full time job. I love school so much, I kept going, accomplish my MBA, through on line courses. By going back to school, you can indicate on your resume that you are working on your degree, and give them the expected completion date. The job market is very competitive today, your working against competition, with other job seekers that do have a degree, regardless if you have 20 years of experience, you will stand out from others with a college degree. Hope this helps!

  4. I find it funny that for five years I found people jobs ,taught classes on job seeking and resume assistance and was great at it . Now that I’m unemployed I can’t find a job . I know all the trick of the trade no dating the resume ,post skills not titles , have several different resumes ,be open ,be flexible ,think outside the box .I’m 47 with 18 years of state and government services another 7 in management and another 10 in customer service .Still my only job is seeking employment .I thought of restructuring going back to school ,starting a in home business even becoming a personal shopper either way I know it’s not easy out there in unemployment world .

  5. I was reading an article about how networking in today’s job market helps the unemployed get hired. Instead of your typical job boards and recruiters, why not try the ” back door” approach. Did you know that 53% of jobs are filled from the “hidden market”? These jobs are typically not publish very long, threw HR practices, if there is a position available,companies legally have to post it, though when you go to apply, the posting might say that it is no longer available. Every job that I have held has been from someone I knew in the industry or threw a referral that had recommended me for the position. So it is vitally important to stay connected through these professional websites, you never know who can help you get your next job!

    • I’ve tried networking. It fell flat on its behind. I’ve posted my resume to company websites. Only 1 company called and hired me … for 3 weeks due to THEIR training issues.

      I have many years of experience in my field but ALL jobs posted are entry level. And I’m over 50!

      My chances of finding a job in my field are zero to none

  6. I’m beginning to think ALL posted jobs are scams. I have run into this more times in the last month than I care to remember. Last week I received an email for an interview at an international company that just came to my city. The interview was scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Too many bad vibes. (1) I arrived at 9:20 and was told I had to walk to a coffee shop 2 blocks away to use the washroom because their john was at the back and there was a meeting. (2) It was a cattle-call and each interview was 20-30 minutes. (3) all applicants, except me, and staff were in their 20s & 30s. I’m 54. (4) it was a party atmosphere. (4) after waiting an hour to meet with the recruiter, while others walked in and were seen, I asked when I would have a chance — it was another hour. So I left. THIS IS NOT HOW ANY COMPANY SHOULD TREAT ITS APPLICANTS!

  7. I have been unemployed for 17 months ago,and still i am jobless I have applied too much but still in vain to get a suitable job which is relevant to my qualifaction and experience.
    Still i am looking forward for a job—-

    • And what are you going to do?
      I guess you have consulting time on your resume.
      Me? I do.
      In my situation I can not even find any job.
      Because everybody asks for a resume, references or expereince.
      I tried retail, fast food, office jobs… Nopes.
      Now I am going to literally visit businesses and ask for work.
      The only drawback is that if I find a simple job I will be doing them for the rest of my life

  8. Unemployment can’t be tough on anyone, even someone who has savings piled up for a rainy day. I think that most job searches begin with suddenly loosing a job as opposed as a long, planned session of unemployment due to lack of fulfillment in the workplace. I think we all have to be realistic and consider the advice out there in terms of resume, companies to work for, switching industries, and career level. Talking to recruiters after the interview and networking have really helped me get a better perspective. I focus on my career and what I can do as opposed to the circumstances or decisions within my former companies that have led to this point in life. If you put in the work and have patience, I feel that it will ultimately get better.

    • Madashell Network

      You have got to be kidding. First, you find one job that will accept experience from another industry. I happen to think it is very short-sighted and irrelevant. Why do you have to have high fashion experience to work in a high fashion warehouse? What happened to transferrable skills? What happened to different points of view? Just try and switch a career level. All you will hear is that you are overqualified. You will hear this even if you tell them you have decided to look for a lower level position. I guess you have found better recruiters than any I have found. NO ONE has given me any insights. I believe it’s because the overqualified definition is closer to the EEOC definition of TOO OLD. No one can say that to your face. If you have patience…and can’t even get a temp job as you drift into poverty because you have no income. Let’s tell it like it is – Discrimination against the unemployed and anyone over the age of 50, yet I am hearing it is going lower is rampant in the US and no one, no government agency, no company, no watchdog, NO ONE is doing anything. You can read all the books, follow all the guides, listen to all the webinars and it doesn’t matter. In one article by a renowned job guru, he says the best person doesn’t get the job. It’s networking if you are lucky. If you are married to the boss, you are a shoe=in. Short of that, start a business. That really leaves you with lots of hope. So AD, I would always say, there must be one person who can see the value I have to offer a company. It’s been 27 months and there has not been one person willing to give me a chance. I have all the recommendations. I have Linkedin endorsements and some that they didn’t even list from the people who believe in me. According to recruiers, I am nothing but a label that they view with bias. I feel like there is an ocean between me and a job. I have built the boat and made it across the ocean, but the recruiters just don’t believe it. So if they don’t believe, it doesn’t exist. Like the tree falling in the woods. I am not there because they refuse to see me because they refuse to look outside of their tiny, tiny box. The future is out there, but they don’t see that either. So AD, tell me, when does it start getting better. Oh, when I have absolutely no money and I can go on welfare and medicaid? When the major companies collapse because they were so entrenched in the present that they forgot that they were competing with the world, the companies that don’t exist yet or that all the boomers who are gone really did know what they were doing.

      • Madashell – you hit the nail on the head.

        I too am over 50 with 25 years of experience at the same company not to mention 6 years from previous employment. Unfortunately I was laid off 2 weeks before my special anniversary. That was 7 months ago. They set me up with a consultant who, I have recently learned, gave me ALL THE WRONG ADVICE. He told me that I SHOULD…

        1) List ALL duties/positions I held with that company for the 25 years I was there.
        WRONG: Listing 25 years of experience says I’m OLD and OVER-EXPERIENCED.

        2) I SHOULD mention my years of experience in the cover letter.
        WRONG: Mentioning how many years of experience says I’m OVER-QUALIFIED.

        3) I SHOULD apply for positions I don’t want and have no experience/knowledge.
        WRONG: I should NEVER apply for positions not wanted or for which I’m NOT QUALIFIED or interested in taking.

        I have had a handful of interviews in the 6 months since I actually began looking for a job and I believe it is due to the WRONG ADVICE I was given by this consultant. Most jobs I’ve applied for and for which I AM QUALIFIED have gone unanswered and I believe it’s due to the consultant’s so-called advice.

        I’m re-posting my resume to every agency/site I posted it before and now list only the last 10 years of employment. I’ll see where it leads but believe there IS age discrimination out there and when recruiters meet me and see I’m not in my 20s, 30s or even in my 40s, I’ll never hear from them again.

        I’ve also tried to networking route and it’s hit a brick wall. Everyone says “you’ve got a great resume”. End of story. I’ve signed up with several agencies. Nothing.

        The facts are, as you clearly stated, no one wants to hire someone over 50 and with experience. Most postings in my field are entry level and require a high school diploma. Maybe.

      • You are absolutely right.
        To get a job is like to win the lottery.
        I even tried to walk around with the sign that says ” Professional engineer and accountant with MBA looking for meaningful job”. Really! I collected $320 within 7 hours.
        I was embarrassing.
        I guess this is what free markets want me to do… or die

      • Negativity breeds negativity.
        If you believe your age is the limiting factor in you getting a job or not, you will rest on that crutch and stay there for a very long time.
        I have met dozens, if not hundreds of people age 50 and over who have found jobs in this economy. Did they have to take a pay cut? At times. Did they have to change industries? It happens. Did they have to get retrained, learned new skills, and keep up with technology and changes in the trends within the workplace? Absolutely. There is something to be said for wisdom and worldly knowledge but if you put out the vibe have you have going here at any interview that you go to, even a little, I could see why you are not getting the job.
        I belong to several groups that are traditionally looked over and marginalized in the workplace. I may get discouraged but I never let that stop me. One thing I have learned along the way is that no one owes you anything. No matter how much education you have, no matter how much experience, no matter how great your references, no one owes you anything. Learn to be adaptable, learn that sometimes you have to do things differently. If something doesn’t work, try something else. I purposely mask anything in my cover letter or resume that would indicate my age. I have also learned that having great experience and skills is threatening to some companies as they do not want to pay for that level of work. Sometimes they do want the recent college grad. Sometimes the college grad goes two years without an offer. Use your energy towards exploring new options. We all want to sustain our lifestyles but if something is not working, please take a long, hard look in the mirror before lashing out on others.

        • Ad,
          It is not about negativity.
          You can’t hide your age when you meet face to face. Right?

          Secondly, most people have tried different things including things you mentioned. But everything has a limit. You are out of work for 6 months, 1 year, 3 years.. than what?

          And finally it is not about pay. When you are out of work for a long time you would accept any pay because it is better than nothing

          • People generally can’t tell my age. It’s either really good genes or a certain belief about my ethnic group. That’s besides the point though. In all these posts, the one variable that is present is you. Don’t contact the recruiter with desperation or resentment in your voice. Be positive, switch things up, do something new. Even if you’re under 50, your not going to be a good fit for every company. Find your niche and leave age out of it.

        • lol…really…well lets see, I did very well when i first started working, first doing cold calls and then door to door sales, and if you ask anyone who knows anything about either of those 2 sale techniques, you’ll find out they are very difficult to be successful at and you need to have very good “people” skills, not only that, but I am in my mid 20’s, can tidy up pretty good for an interview, and I interview well (until i was 23 I had never gone to an interview and not gotten the job) I’ve been unemployed for almost 2 years now, it has nothing to do with me, and the reason I know this is I already do the things your suggesting, self reflection and analysis is important to improve yourself i agree, however, I’ve been to 12 seperate job interviews in the last 4 months, and the “reasoning” behind why i was turned down for employment are as follows

          -3 said overqualified for entry level (high school diploma only)
          -7 said lack of recent work experience (last 6 months I’ve been doing under the table renovation work, apparently they won’t accept that kind of “work” as valid experience
          -2 said they didn’t think I would “fit well” into their company, keep in mind these 2 were sales jobs, which I have experience in and produced not only references, but proof that I excel in a sales environment

          you know what I love? having to move back with my parents…greatest feeling ever…it was either that or go panhandle to get money to eat. Please tell me, if i can’t find a job now, whats the point of going back to school when i see people with degrees that take alot of money and time to get working at walmart and gas stations…how about we re-regulate big business and eliminate corporate personhood…how about we regulate the terms of which someone can be denied for a job like canada does…I would even be willing to get involved in politics to help make that a reality, however, when i inquired about it, someone who worked in local politics laughed at me and said “yea we don’t really need people like you working in this field”

          personally i think age has nothing to do with it…business’ want Yes men, anyone capable of critical thinking and problem solving used to be a desirable trait in a human being…now when people see that i can solve problems or I can analyze something and find the things that need correcting…well, lets just say they probably don’t want people like me looking at them…or working for them…or being allowed to survive in the same city as them…

      • I totally agree with you on this as I have tried everything. There is an invisible line drawn and just when I feel that I am getting close; they find a reason to close the door…again…could it be that I am age 58.

        With over 38 years of powerful work experience, certifications and a master degree along with transferable skills that will help more than 90% of business…I am rejected.

        Why is this happing when I have so much to offer a company?

        I have gone out of my comfort zone of facilities, education, hospitability and property management. In fact, I don’t even look my age and I am in good shape. Yet on paper and with a few wrong checked boxes, I am quietly eliminated from getting an interview.

        Years of saving is now being spent on living until I can decide to take retirement. My wife and I did not see this comming.

        Yet so many organizations are lacking good leadership that translate into excellent customer service…I see this everywhere. What are we becoming.
        God help us all.

        • I am 54 but look 10 years younger. I don’t have a degree but I have 25 years of experience.

          I’m finding all jobs are either youth-oriented, minimum wage, require little or no experience and another language. On the other hand, many jobs want a Master’s Degree to answer the phone!

          I went to a cattle-call interview where I realized I was at least 15 years older the management staff and 20-30 years older than the other applicants…so I left after waiting over an hour.

          Even if I had waited another hour to speak with the recruiter, I know I would not have passed the 1st of 3 interviews due to my age and years of experienc.

    • it depends in which country one is looking for a job. if you live in Greece with unemployment at more than 27% then finding a job at the age of 43 is truly hard..even if you are well connected.

  9. I was separated from the company after 17 years. I now find myself back in the job search game. I daily look at the job postings on LinkedIn and other job sites and apply for jobs. However, I am not getting the hits. I am not sure if the resume has the issue – professionally done or if it is the type of positions I am going after. This is very discouraging right now! The jobs are out there and there is one for me but I can’t see to find that job. I am wondering if I should take a less paying job and then continue to look? I am not sure!! Help!

  10. I have been unemployed for 12 months (first time in my life I used to work and study at the same time since I was 18) but this because I moved to Australia in 2011, I worked there until December and I started traveling for few months to australia, new zealand and southeast asia. Back to Italy I realized I didn’t want to stay there so I started looking for different options and I moved to buenos aires to improve my Spanish, to check visa options and talk to the university when I realized that with a student visa you can work full-time. So I went back to Italy to collect all the documents I needed, I applied for a master and moved here almost 2 months ago. I started my master and I’m looking for a job, but nobody calls me, even if I applied for jobs that need Italian people! I’m trying to create new contacts in different ways, LinkedIn, twitter, writing directly to the company, checking multinational and Italian company, knowing people from here but until now…nothing! I think I’m in “this is not possible, I didn’t do everything, I have to figure out something else” stage…

  11. I have been Unemployed for 10 months and I use to work at the Ben Samuels Children Center up at Montclair State. I’m currently job hunting and getting ready for my CDA test to become a teacher’s assistant. I’m looking into a job in pricing items in a store or working at a Daycare or Pre-School. I will have a summer job soon working with Montclair Pre -K at the Y camp with preschooler.

  12. I lost my job in January, not due to my performance, though threw someone that I had work with their performance. How strange is this! I have been unemployed for little over two months, and this is the first time in 8 years I have had to look for work. I have sent out hundreds of resume, and networking through different groups either people I know, or professional web sites, still can not find work. I receive several phone interviews, but no call backs. I am either over qualified or under, and my last pay was more than most companies in my profession will pay.

    • Leon J. Schkolnick

      Please accept this as advice, not critcism: The first thing to do is to find someone who can capably edit your written English.

    • I was at the same company for almost 23 years. So, I have been continuously at the same place, same location. I was laid off Dec. 31st. I agree. I am either overqualified or underqualified. Not sure what to do, although I am collecting unemployment.

      • This happened to me after 27 years of continuous work. It’s exactly like losing your best friend isn’t it? After you give yourself a much needed rest and a little dose of self pity, paint and/or brighten up the room you’ll be in the most to find work. That’s what I did, in fact we totally redid the room from floor to ceiling. I couldn’t bear looking at it 24/7. You will be OK, unemployment will get you through this dark time. Join linked in and look on Glass Door for openings in your field.

  13. I lost my job 6 months ago after being with the same company 25 years. I am applying for positions that I am qualified for — experienced non-manager — and getting NO responses. Most jobs posted for my skills are entry level or mid-level or pay wages too low for my talents. What do I have to do for people to recognize that I have the expertise they are looking for?

  14. I suppose it is justified. People from 100 years ago where predicting our society would not have any jobs left to do, as everything will be automated. The Athenian dream without the human slaves, only now they’d be machine slaves.

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