Ted Schnell of Elgin, Ill., is one of those people. For the first time in his 27 years as a journalist, the now 52-year-old father of five found himself unemployed in December 2010 after being laid off by Sun-Times Media. Since January, he's worked part-time for a former colleague who started a local news site. Schnell has written about his experiences on his blog Laid off at 51: Seeking joy in change.
For a few weeks earlier this year, Schnell was able to land two copyediting jobs at two regional Patch.com sites, but AOL, which owns Patch, slashed its freelance budget soon after and he lost one of those positions. "It's miserable in terms of what I'm making," Schnell says. In addition, he says he's stuck in a house that's worth substantially less than his mortgage, and he's had to ask his father to help with payments. Schnell, like many older underemployed Americans, says he's worried that he may get passed over by potential employers because of his age. He remains discouraged. "For every 50 to 100 resumes I send out, I may get one interview," he says.