As we wind this project down, I’ve been wondering what to put in my final entry.

Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, encourages me. He’s been on a tear recently trying to get anyone and everyone interested in job creation. I’ve watched him on several of the talk shows, and he seems to be one of the few leaders in the U.S. who is more action that talk. I hope he succeeds. 

As a good reader of The Washington Post, you know that while unemployment is a nasty cancer on the U.S., most of our elected leaders are on the campaign trail trading accusations, bromides, cheap shots and factual distortions about anything and everything.  What Congress and the president have totally failed to do is develop any kind of economic plan for this nation, much less one that includes enhancing job creation.

What I have learned in the past couple of years is cynical: politicians do not have my (or your) best interests at heart. To them it’s all about good sound bites, fundraising and getting re-elected.

We the people are to blame. Our current problems come directly from sending the wrong people to do the people’s work.

(Courtesy of Stephen Rhymer)

Tuesday night is the latest Republican presidential candidate debate.  I’m hoping against hope that the questioners will grill each prospect on his or her specific plans to get the economy going and enhance job creation.

I’m not holding my breath.  These “debates” rarely get specific answers to specific questions.  We get the usual campaign rhetoric complete with finger pointing but few coherent answers to a coherent questions.  Tonight will probably be no different.

But, there is always hope.

In my world, I’m getting ready for knee replacement surgery in a few weeks. My biggest concern will be getting my knee back into shape. That should take me to the end of 2011.

After 2½ years of looking for a job, I am discontinuing that search.  I will be just shy of 60 when my knee is recovered and I see nothing to indicate that companies are hiring anyone in my age bracket.

That’s not to say I’ve abandoned all hope of making money.

I’m working with an underemployed friend, Susan Lively, to create a blog where I can continue to make my voice heard.

I’m also talking with my friend Victor Parachin, author and yoga instructor, about becoming a yoga teacher.  Apparently there are a lot of Boomers who want yoga classes and like having older instructors.

What have I learned?  That above all else, there is always hope for a brighter future. That future may not be the ones my parents or grandparents envisioned for me but that future is out there.  I just have to get on the carousel and grab for the brass ring. I may miss (more than once), but the carousel keeps circling back.

That is the beauty of this world.  When one door closes, another opens… even if it’s really slowly.

This project was a great blessing to me. Thank you to Brian Rosenthal and The Washington Post for allowing me to have this space and letting my voice be heard.

Thank you to all of you who took the time to read all of the bloggers’ posts and occasionally responded.  That you took the time to do one or both is immensely gratifying to me. 

I am forever in your debt.

Stephen Rhymer, a 59-year-old former public relations official from Edmond, Okla., has been unemployed for two and a half years. Read more about him here. Read about the “Help Wanted” project here. Visit the project home page here.

Read more updates from Stephen Rhymer here.