In 2013, the federal government shutdown prompted #MyJobsReport

By Lauren Donia

Bringing manufacturing jobs back to the United States is a tall order. At the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) we try to reach out on all fronts — legislators at the local, state, and federal level; business owners; workers; entrepreneurs; and anyone else who will listen — to make this happen. In 2013, one of our favorite instances of this kind of outreach came when we asked our supporters to send us their employment stories. We heard about an array of experiences; some of you have been happily employed at the same place for decades, while others have bounced around or recently lost jobs. But despite the disparity among your experiences, one thing is clear: Americans take great pride in the work they do.

Here is one of the most compelling stories we received, as the writer's experience mirrors that of many other respondents:

Dear AAM,

My story begins last October, 2012, and continues yet today.

Last October I was laid off work due to the economic slump. I had been employed for sixteen years for my sister and brother-in-law. For me, personally, it was a mixed blessing to be laid off from work. My father was declining with dementia and I had to help my mother with the steps necessary to be able to place him in a nursing home. And my mother was very ill herself which made me nursemaid to her for several weeks. My husband was running for a political office so I was doing all I could for him to become elected. My world was in constant commotion and I don’t know how I could have worked a full time job if I had one at that time.

As January rolled around I was becoming anxious to begin a new job somewhere! My outlook at getting called back to my prior employment was looking dismal. So the job searches continued. I really felt I would find something soon because of the experience I have in my field of work which is customer service. I’ve been working practically all of my life. My first employment began a few weeks after graduation from high school. I worked for 16 years before quitting that job, (due to having to be placed on 3rd shift work because this company was going through economic downturn), because I had no one to watch my kids at night as my husband was working 3rd shift where he was employed. After that job I worked for a time for a magazine company selling advertisements and then as an office manager for a local Youth for Christ office. At that time my brother-in-law contacted me asking to come and work for him giving me an opportunity to make really good money, be close to home, and work with my sister. I jumped on board! And now I am still jumping – only getting very tired of the jumping around trying to sell my SELF-WORTH so others can hire me.

I live in a smaller community and have applied to as many places that I felt would give me a similar kind of pay grade. But nothing has come of any of those applications. I have to turn in three job searches a week, according to the rules of Indiana Unemployment. I am still laid off so do the math… I have applied to a lot of jobs – mostly through online job search engines like I am getting discouraged. I’ve only had 2 interviews during this whole process and both went really well and I really don’t know the reasons for not being hired – I am 55 years old and am beginning to feel it’s the age factor, though God forbid a company to not hire me for that reason, right?

Now I have made a decision to take some classes to get into the medical field. Our savings is dwindling and our way of living is changing and it’s getting harder to make ends meet. Don’t get me wrong, we are still paying our bills on time but there just is nothing much left over.

That’s my story… and it sucks to be unemployed and unappreciated for the many years of service I have given to people. I am grateful for being able to collect unemployment BUT it makes me feel scared to death to be on unemployment with all of the “fraud” warnings they push when you go online to apply each week. Don’t I deserve to get something back, for a small amount of time, without feeling criminal to receive benefits?

Thanks for listening.

-Connie S., IN

Check out the rest of our #MyJobsReport submissions.