Help! I Don’t Think I Can Do It Alone


For the first time in more than 25 years, the unemployment rate in the U.S. has likely surpassed 9 percent.

According to a Bloomberg News Survey – who issued their findings prior to the official report by the Labor Department due June 5 – according to a median of 59 estimates, the jobless rate has climbed to 9.2 percent. That is the highest level of unemployment since September 1983.


Some economists speculate that the jobless rate could climb close to 10 percent by the end of the year.

Since the recession began in December 2007, about 5.7 million jobs have been eliminated. Of those jobs, nearly 4 out of 5 were jobs held by men. This is a result of many male-dominated industries such as construction, manufacturing, and financial services being hit hardest in this fledging economy.

For many blue collar workers who are without a college degree, it’s become increasingly difficult to find new work. With many of their jobs now overseas or eliminated altogether, blue collar men are the most vulnerable in the job market – and their plight will last longer than this recession. 

As a result, many families are redefining the role of breadwinner.

Although women still only earn 77 cents for every dollar made by men, a number of women have had to take on second jobs to supplement the income lost from their male partners.

One wife sent in a letter detailing how she and her husband struggle to keep their son’s dream alive and cover his college education amid her husband’s inability to find a new job.


“My 20-year-old son received a 2-year scholarship to play golf for a community college 2 hours away from home. It covered his room, board, books, etc. for two years while he got his general studies completed— he earned excellent grades. He’s taken on 19 hours this semester to try to lessen our financial burden when he moves on to a four year school.


He really wants to continue to play golf and hopefully, he’ll be able to, but one of the schools is in Hilton Head, NC—not a cheap place by any stretch. We’re pushing him away from that choice and encouraging him to finish his bachelor’s degree at a state school first. Obviously, a state school isn’t what he wants. He doesn’t want to take out loans (who does) but to complicate matters his father (my husband) is now out of work after 18 years with a company.

He’s 52 years old and didn’t complete his associate’s degree. In those days, you didn’t always have to have a college degree so with little direction from his father (6th grade education) he never finished. Now, after 23 years of marriage, a mortgage, a son in college and a daughter who is a sophomore in high school and needs braces, wants a car, has her own college plans— he can’t find work. He’s overqualified and undereducated!


I have a good job but not enough to cover all our expenses. We’re slowly eating away at our savings. My husband has one part-time job with his brother and is currently seeking even multiple part-time jobs to help us get by. Needless to say, we can’t get a loan right now and if FASFA goes by last year’s income, we won’t get a dime.

The economy is in the tanker. If we didn’t have a small savings thanks to the inheritance from my mother, we might be homeless. It’s frightening out there!”




Have similar experiences? I’d love to hear from you.

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Michael Arceneaux hails from Houston, lives in Harlem and praises Beyoncé’s name wherever he goes. Follow him on Twitter.