My, how life has changed since I've been unemployed.  Four years ago I was a well-compensated middle manager leading the marketing and business development efforts of a small financial institution. I had a nice income, benefits, a retirement plan, and the prestige and rewards of doing my job very well for 26 years. Then the axe fell, and I have not been able to find work in over three years now. I miss working, have shifted roles within my family and have suffered the financial strain of losing a large part of our income. On the other hand, I have been able to help my kids in ways I hadn’t imagined before. And I also continue to look for work every day.

Those are topics I'll cover in future posts. For now, let me tell you about myself and my family.

I have been married to a wonderful woman for over 24 years, and we live in San Jose, Calf., where I grew up. We have four children, ranging in age from 23 to 11, two bookend girls and two boys. My wife is an elementary school teacher who has been doing her thing for over 20 years now, and comes from a family of teachers. Teaching is sort of their “family business.”

My family never had a business. My mother struggled to feed five kids after dad left, and she was relieved when I joined the all-volunteer Army at the age of 17. After leaving the Army, I went back to school and within three years had earned both Associate in Arts and Bachelor of Arts degrees, the latter in public relations from San Jose State University. I quickly got into financial institution marketing in the early 1980s in its early period and spent 26 years moving up the ladder.

One of the ways I've been able to contribute recently is to help my oldest son join the Air Force. We were able to research the various services and jobs, prep for testing, and meet with recruiters. Though he doesn’t always want to hear my advice about military life, I give it to him anyway, hoping that he’ll remember the pointers later if times get tough. I am proud to say that he’ll soon be leaving for Basic Military Training, continuing a long tradition of my family's service to our country.

(Courtesy of Daniel Joyce)

Daniel Joyce, a 54-year-old former financial marketer from San Jose, Calif., has been unemployed for three years. Read more about him here. Read about the “Help Wanted” project here. Visit the project home page here.