100 Stories

Over 50 and Out of Work uses video to document the stories of older, unemployed Americans. To read more about the project, click here.


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Mary Sironen

"I'm now too old to do what I've done my whole life."

Marie Spalding

"Many times, even if you are fortunate enough to get an interview, you just do not get any follow-up."

Frank Kasdan

"I've had one job and one job my entire adult life."

Kay Kusy-Eliassen

"I do feel a bit like I'm not giving back to society. I want to work. I don't like getting unemployment benefits."

Rick Barrett

"I feel like changing my middle name to Job... because I don't give up neither, and no true Cajun do."

Deborah Denenfeld

"In this country, it seems like you need to be either very rich or very poor and not in the middle."

Mark Chase

"You try to live on the least amount you possibly can."

Bill Davis

"I try to be optimistic. I try to believe that things are gonna get better. After a couple of years, you start wondering..."

Mark Moore

"Underemployment just means that you're spending your time working, not getting enough money to pay the bills..."

Gary Sirianni

"I've had literally maybe 10 interviews in two years. I've been runner up, or they've taken the jobs off the market, or I'm still waiting."

Cheryl Cheney

"I'm going to trust that I'm not going to be homeless. I have a daughter who always says -- there's a bedroom there. I guess that's my safety net."

Rudy Limas

"Me and my family, we will probably find ourselves in the streets in a month or two."

Peter Hansen

"It's just part time...cause I've heard that it's better if you have a job when you're trying to get another job."

Stanley Ferrand

"If these jobs don't come like they're supposed to, it's gonna get hard. It's getting hard out here for people, because the work's not here."

LeRoy Ellis

"I'm finding there's a lot of people very willing and able to work. They just do not have the opportunity to work because there's no jobs."

Jesus Anglero

"The church that I go, there's a lot of people the same way ... Many of them don't even have jobs. They are just helping each other."

Barbara Dixon

"It's very hard to find a job. Most people are working part-time or working two jobs, trying to make ends meet."

Alfred Hummer

"I used to be able to have a job in under two weeks..."

Craig Beaumont

"I really don't have a great deal of realistic hope, except that every day, I'm thinking about what else can I do to make some more money."

Julie Taylor-Cooper

"I'm upset about it because I feel I worked all these years and, now, I don't have no medical insurance. I can't afford it."

Florentine Hunter-DeMontaignac

"Experience Works is the only thing that's pulling me out of really bad times, real bad times."

Willa Dean Weaver

"When you're my age, people don't want to hire you."

Deborah Salim

"I have family, my children. They would take me in temporarily ... if I should lose my home."

George Ross, Jr.

"I've now been in the mode of searching for work again."

Janet Falk

"I calculate that I have been without employment for 25 percent of my career."

Lou Angaran

"My credit reports all say, 'Never been late. Never skipped a payment.' ... That means a lot to me."

Donna Jadis

"I had 12 years of a job that I really, really liked...it hurt, it hurt a lot, to get that call to say - we're going to be letting you go."

Joseph Wong

"I would say looking for a job is pretty difficult. It's harder than working on the job."

Elizabeth Zima

"My challenge is not to be as angry as I am."

Valentin, María Isabel _, & María _

"Here in the United States...it's for people who study...The fieldworker, no. There is no progress at all. You come out of it the same."

Mike Boyd

"It's not easy, I'll be honest. My wife is the one that keeps me going. I don't feel like I'm contributing."

Sheila Cooper

"It's not like I'm 22 and just starting out and looking to move up the ladder. I just want a job that I can go to every day and earn a paycheck."

Kathryn Balles

"If anybody knows about Lehman Bros., the rest is a disaster, and here I am, out of work."

Virginia Montelongo

"I am living at a First Day Shelter in Whittier, Calif. I don't want to live out on the streets. I'll do what I have to do, until I find a job."

Darlene Palacios

"I think that's one of the huge issues. Benefits. They don't want to pay benefits."

Lorraine Contreras

"I don't have health; I don't have dental; I don't have medical. Everything I once had, I no longer have."

Ramiro Flores

"I saw the company was in trouble. I agreed to work for 50 percent of the income ..., but it didn't work out."

Mercedes Paez

"I pray...for this country and everybody get a job."

Luanne Jones

"My kids help. I'm not used to that. That's really difficult."

Jose Valdez

"I'll never give up. I don't give up. I'll just keep on looking for a job until I find one."

Jose Ambriz

"Right now, what I'm doing is just keeping positive. Keeping positive instead of negative that I will get a job."

Diane Young

"I still want to be an entrepreneur, keep doing my coaching and keep helping people."

Ken Wadland

"In the short term, unemployment is tough on the individual. In the long term, unemployment is tough on the economy and the society."

Joel Nitzberg

"One of the things that I'm involved in ... is meeting with other people to talk about job development."

Linda Hebert

"I'm a real viable employee ... and I have a lot to bring to the table."

Kathleen Smith

"I just want to tell my peers out there to hang in there and don't give up."

Albert Yasbick

"I told the unemployment people when I was talking to them, I said, 'It's not that I can't do the work; I can't get the work.'"

Luis Martinez

"Every time I look for work, it's not the same as when I was young, you know, they hired me right on the spot."

Kimberly Gilek

"The media says that things are getting a little better. It's not. The economy's not turning around. The job situation isn't turning around."

Edward Walker

"Then I have to apply for the extension to see if I qualify for the extension. If not, then, I'm homeless again."

Anthony Lalos

"When I lost my job, it became very difficult to keep my house, and I eventually lost it."

Kelley Briggs

"There's nothing positive about being without a job and not being able to find one, no matter how well qualified you think you are or how well educated."

George Dys

"Being over 50 is not what it once was as far as getting ... acknowledged for your experience and what you can contribute."

Sheila Bliven

"Unfortunately, I and a whole lot of other people are going to be out of work again, unless Congress ... decides to re-up the program."

Rich Fuka

"We make a lot out of family time with dinners. Keep it simple, and it works."

Maurizio & Debbie Adami

"In our case, we have a very happy ending. But not everybody's going to have a happy ending, and I feel sorry for them."

Wade & Mary Gingell

"We've both been out of work since October 2008."

Mirko Vitanoski

"When he see my age, he said, 'I'm sorry, [you're] too old.'"

Rich Galipeau

"Quite honestly, I got caught up in the greedy 2000s, as well."

Michael McClatchey

"Once the unemployment runs out, then things look very desperate indeed."

Cynthia Maschat

"I had one career. Now, it's time for a second career."

Jerome Williams

"I will need employment ... very soon, probably more so for my own mental health more so than from a financial standpoint."

Mary Eilola

"I don't want to be on unemployment; I would like to have a job."

Thomas Bertin

"I never in my wildest dreams thought at age 50 I'd be out of work for an extended period of time."

Stanley Bednarczyk

"When I add all of those things up in my personal situation, the damage to my wife and I is going to approach half a million dollars."

Pam Buckley

“To even insinuate that people would rather sit on their butts and collect unemployment ...is insane."

Brian King and Jessica Goldstein

"I'm living with my father. I'm glad to be here. I'm glad we had a place to land."

Joe Price

"But, here I am now. I've been laid off, since 1986, probably 10 times."

Steve Ludes

"I think at the time, when the Kimberly mill shut down, there were over 600 of us. And it just, BOOM."

Rick Peterson

"The next 5, 10, 15 years of my life will be working my tail off. I don't anticipate retiring ever. I don't anticipate I'll be able to."

Stephen Murphy

"I don't see a real lot being said anywhere about how deep this age discrimination goes."

Kevin Lincoln

"It’s a lot harder than you think. That's all I'll say. It’s easy to say I’m going to reinvent myself, just go try it."

David Board

"I don't know what I'm going to do for my future. I'm getting too old to be going through this all the time. I just want to work."

Deborah Shane

"Wisdom, experience, all the qualities that Baby Boomers bring to the table, plus relevance, is a powerful, powerful recipe for success."

Carol Morgan

"I hope to be marketing my art where I will get paid for that. Where age doesn't matter. It's strictly ability."

Joe Magnone

"No, I don't want him to work in the mill. I want my son to prosper."

Frank Pope

"I don't feel any control at all. I feel like I'm just hanging out there in left field, just waiting to see what happens. It's all I can do."

Steve Borton

"What are we going to do in 10 years? Live in a hut in Uganda or something, at this rate."

Alan Balkema

"If our country had a logical health insurance plan, we would probably still be in this business."

David Garcia

"You could quit one job one day, and the next day have another one. But it isn't that way anymore, it's tough."

Gary Willcox

"Everything has gotten so global, that you're almost forced to change. And that's what it's come down to with me. I'm being forced to change."

Alice Seifert

"Social Security and Medicare, I do not believe it will be there when I am ready to retire."

Lorraine de Masi

"There are a lot of people looking for the same jobs, and it's kind of like a lottery. I think it's become more like a lottery."

Regis Thompson-Lawrence

"We think all these material things that we collect along the way mean so much; it really doesn't."

Susan Kaye

"I started playing the refinance game. I played it until 2008, that's as far as I could go."

Robert King

"When you work your whole life, and you are the main provider, you feel useful, and so I am trying to find what my niche and purpose is going forward."

Valentina Janek

"Camaraderie is the most important thing when you are out of work..."

Dorothy Carlos

"Give me my independence, but also give me my work and let me make my own way. Let me survive."

Robert Lotstein

"It's also boring not working. Your mind's so used to being active and challenged. You want to continue to be active and challenged."

David Bowes

"I think virtually all people would enjoy going back to work and seeing their life, emotional and otherwise, return to normal."

Gail Stangeland

"I was enjoying what I was seeing happening to my portfolio; however, when everything crashed, it was very, very, very scary."

Gary Vinson

"I'm making the same amount of money I was 14, 15 years ago, now."

William Fleming

"When the unemployment stops, I'll be looking for a nice comfortable box to live in, if I don't have a job by then."

Joan McCleskey

"I've worked hard and long all my life, and not to be able to find a job now. It's hard."

Kathleen Opthof

"You know taxes are going up, everything else is going up, but my pension is staying the same. It's frozen; there is no increase in the pension."

Barbara Such

"I've learned to economize and brown-bag it more and more, and then, pocket that money, so I can make it stretch longer than I had."

Patrick O’Donnell

"I'm not ready to go to pasture. I figure I have another 12, 13, 14 years. What can I contribute?"

Bob Delpizzo

"As a guy, you define yourself by your job. You don't define yourself as a husband or father or anything like that."

Dan Sato

"My journey is one that I didn't expect. I thought I would be able to retire from Panasonic."