What's the longest you've been unemployed?

For me it was two and a half years (straight after college).

Man was it a time for soul searching.
By “employed” I mean a regular day/night job (full time or part-time), not like starting a business.

So, who’s had the longest period of drought?
And how did you get back in the workplace? Or did you leave it (and start a business) altogether?
(ME? Had to lie and make up some background info that didn’t exist. They didn’t check though so luckily for me it was OK)

I wound up in the unenviable position of having spent so many years as a musician, or working in radio, instead of working in the “cement beehive” (Jimi Hendrix quote), that I couldn’t get hired by anyone to do anything, for lack of “work experience.” Back in Ontario, I never had a job that lasted longer than three years. Most of them didn’t last three months, because if they keep you longer than that, they have to pay your benefits and unemployment premiums. So an awful lot of people get laid off (translation: “See ya, loser!”) before 90 days are up, so they’re ineligible to collect unemployment insurance. I wound up homeless numerous times. I don’t think about it anymore, but I may have gone five or six years without a job at one stretch, without even being able to get an interview. Luckily, I had no debts, but no credit rating, either.

What did I do? A woman happened to me, and I moved to Florida to start from scratch. I’ve been working without pause since a day or two after my work permit arrived, six years ago. In fact, now I’ve got my dream job… in American radio.

I am convinced that if I was still in Canada, I would still be unemployed at 46.

Currently 1 year and 4 months and counting since my official redundancy, although I have not actually worked for 1 year and 7 months. And I am enjoying every minute of it! Lucky I had a rather large redundancy payout - six figures (sterling) before tax.

I am actively seeking employment but in a very narrow field which is new to me. So far I have made 12 serious applications and have not even been given the courtesy of an interview. Probably too old… (46).

Something like 3 and a half, maybe four years.
I had my first summer job when I was 14 or so. By 16 I had a steady job, and did up until around age 19 or so.
I was working part-time when I found out I was pregnant with my second son. We moved out of NJ, so I had to quit, and didn’t really look for work when we lived in PA. (Or after I left my ex and came back to NJ a year later, although I did do the odd babysitting job here and there for quick cash.) I just became a house mom. I expected it to be temporary, but I didn’t start working again until my second son was 3 years old.

I am very grateful for that. I was able spend 3 or 4 years with my sons when they were very young (work in itself to be sure!) Since then (10 years ago), I’ve always worked outside of the home, although there were 2 instances in there where I collected unemployment and didn’t work for 3 months. Now I’ll be working until I retire, unless we hit the lottery.

Age 0 to 10. then got my first regular, paying job. Then a 1 year or two during the 5-7 grades. Since then, never over two weeks. Retired the last 8 years. 61 years old now.

I don’t think unemployment really counts before you’re an adult. For me, I’ve been lucky. No unemployment since I got out of school and I’ve always transitioned to the next job while still holding a job. Luck is part of it, but I’ve also always had a good sense about when to to move on before the hammer fell. Usually there are signs when a RIF is in the air.

In between jobs, I took about about 7 months off, however, 3 of the months were paid vacation by the company I left (as part of the separation agreement) and the remaining 4 were covered by unemployment. During the whole 7 months, I was working as a part time consultant so my income actually went up because of it.

Fortunately, I’m in a specialized market, so my next company came looking for me.

Now. It’s been three months since my last pay check.

I resigned from my previous job having had it up to here and beyond.
I’ve almost finished an in depth ‘skills review’ (bless the French they think of everything) only to discover that I’m best suited to “an artisitic or literary job in the outdoors or an office”. But at least I’ve realised once again that I really enjoy the area I was working in.

I’m bored sensless but manage to kid myself it isn’t so by catching up on TV series and communicating with ‘strangers’ via the net.

Resignation was the right, the only choice at the time but it has caused problems too, jeopardizing my fiancé’s chance for a mortgage and limiting my contribution to the wedding budget. I’m happier now than I was when I was working but … I’m not fulfilled.

14 months. My job funding ran out at the end of 1980, and I couldn’t find anything other that part-time work until February of 1982. It didn’t help that my marriage broke up during this time.

However, I did sell my first short story to Asimov’s and started on my novel.

Not counting the first 13-14 years of my life before I began bagging groceries or throwing newspapers or mowing lawns, it would have to be the last 4+ years since October, 2000. There was a period while I was in college, roughly two years, when I didn’t have a job, and another stretch of a few weeks “between jobs” which included work as a “temp.” Other than that, until my “forced retirement” or “downsizing” or whatever euphemism is currently in vogue, I was at some form of paid work all my life.

The longest I worked the same job for the same company would be the 20+ years with the last one. I even got a nice commendation letter and some trinket just a few weeks before they let me and 20 or so others go. Within a year that had swelled to over 50. What had seemed like a fairly solid company in a solid industry that bordered on the necessity category of goods and services, turned into a skeleton outfit. Most of the cause of that depletion was “off-shore operations.”

Since my ejection I have noticed many other places doing similar things to even longer tenured people. Not a fun prospect for folks just getting into the ratrace.

It took a stiff upper lip to make it through In Good Company without a tear. While other movies have touched on the issue, this one did so with the proper amount of hate.

11 months. Laid off during the telecomm bust. Just kept applying for things until something came available. I had never been unemployed since I was a kid. It was a horrible, horrible time. Not because I had to clean house, tend to the kids when they came home or any of that. It was the hopelessness of sending out applications every week, never to hear from any of the companies I applied to. I think it really had a bad effect on me psychologically. I am not the same person I was before.

Besides being out of work longer, like 2 years, (and being single with no kids) my story is exactly the same. It definitely “built character”, as they say.

Are you back in telecom? I managed to find work at a VOIP company, although it’s doing poorly and likely I’ll be looking for work again soon.

About three months after a layoff.

Seven months and counting. :frowning:

On the bright side, this lack of work has prompted me to go into business with a friend – and doing my second-favourite thing. I haven’t made any money yet (indeed, I bought some equipment for the business), but I seem to be busy.

Two days.

Keep up hope. If an idiot like me can stay employed, anyone will find a job sooner or later.

Sure am; working for the state on a terrific project. Lots of infrastructure work to be done, and I’m working for someone I worked with before so it’s all VERY good.

Glad to hear it!

never longer than a couple months, and those were two exceptions to the rule. normally i have a job to go to when i leave a job, so usually only a weekend between.

I was unemployed for six months when I was 23-24.

I mainly played EverQuest. I was bad, bad, bad! :smack:

I had a car, lived with some great friends, exercised and and took care of myself but I just couldn’t get the nerve to get a job. Eventually, when I got a job (part time) it was so horrible - the people were so negative - that it hurt my self esteem much more than being a lazy slacker did…


Exactly 4 months, between the day I retired from one line of work and the day I went back to work in the same profession. Spent the first 2 idle months sleeping late and watching Regis & Rosie blah, blah and other blahs. Spent the next 2 months looking at job ads in a city where I had worked 10 years earlier, applied for one got an offer and moved 100+ miles back to 2nd (and favorite) temperate hometown and am still at it. Now I get a retirement check, a social security check and a paycheck.

I’ve had 10 employers since 1953, four of them being part-time while in high school and college. Have had 6 employers over the last 43 years, including 2 years in the military after which I bummed around Europe for a month at $5/day. Longest period with one employer was 16 years, shortest 2 years. Pardon the tmi blog.