No matter where you work or what you do for a living, I am sure you encounter a few gripes (small or large) about your job. Take me for example. I went to work this morning and I found out the studio kitchen was out of English muffins. For breakfast, I was forced to eat a granola bar instead of my desired choice of a warm, toasted, and buttered English muffin. Is that a punk-ass thing to complain about? You bet since the English muffins arrived later in the day and I had one for an afternoon snack.

I stayed grounded and gain perspective about work in many ways but one of them is by reading a series of real life stories sent in by people to the web site Gawker. Gawker‘s stuff can be really hit or miss but these pieces are written by readers. Entitled Unemployment Stories, they outline how some Americans are dealing with unemployment and what they are doing to get a job. Being the Internet, it’s possible some of these people are making stuff up but of all the things to lie about on the Internet, lying about not having a job really doesn’t get you anywhere.

There are twenty-eight such volumes now. I’ve read through many of them and noticed a few interesting things. First, I was surprised at how long some Americans have been unemployed. Being jobless for over a year is not uncommon. I think I read that one guy was approaching four years or so. I don’t want to judge but how is it possible to go that long without lowering your standards of employment? When push comes to shove, you gotta make ends meet and if that means working the fry station or pumping gas, there’s no shame in doing what you have to do. Now I understand you don’t want to give up on the jobs that are right for you too soon but perhaps a deadline should be set. Take this guy for example:

I have applied to, on average three jobs a day since 11/14/2012 and have gone on a total of three interviews.

When does this guy loosen up his standards? Another thing I’ve noticed is that there are a lot of university graduates who can’t land that first applicable job after they graduate with their undergrad degree. Some of them give up on the job search and then go back to school to get a graduate degree in the exact same field that they couldn’t get a job in. In my opinion this is super risky. In some cases, it totally wasn’t their lack of education or lack of specialization that precluded them from getting that first job. Then they come out of grad school with the extra degree and even more school debt and they still can’t get a job. In many ways, they’re now even worse off.

I did not have a plan for after college. I cried to my professor. He helped me find a part-time job and told me to get my Master’s. Subsequently, I became a graduate student the next fall

The last thing I’ve noticed, and is the most sad, is that people lose hope when they can’t find a job. They get depressed and life isn’t really fun for them. A lot of people derive purpose by having something to do. Without that, they feel lost.

I’m depressed, and if it wasn’t for the family pets needing kibble, I wouldn’t get out of bed. I’ve contemplated suicide. I’m a burden on my parents, who are approaching the age of retirement. I don’t have a husband or boyfriend to rely on for financial or emotional support. I think back to college and wonder what I should have done differently, and I can’t believe I can’t even score a job as a dishwasher, or a waitress, or bagging groceries. I’m not picky. I just want a job…

When I read these people’s stories, it does put into perspective where I’m at and how my problems compare to theirs. I hope you can gain some perspective as well.

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