I've been unemployed. Twice.
First time was right after 9 years in the Navy, with a fair set of qualifications (but no degree). It took almost a year to get a fucking job.
It paid quite well, but then congress took that position away and a dozen of us were left with eight weeks' notice to GTFOutta Dodge. It cost me ten grand to get myself back home (moving/shipping from Hawaii back to Washington, breaking out of my lease, etc...).
Then I thought, "well I'll go to school and finally get my stupid-ass degree". That was holding me back from many job opportunities. At this point I had over ten years' experience in my field, but no degree.
I was the opposite of a friend of mine. He got a Masters in aeronautical engineering. No experience. Companies wouldn't hire him because he has his degree, but not EXPERIENCE. I wouldn't get hired because I had experience, but no fucking DEGREE.
It's like "yeah, I was working and leaving the country every two months for months at a time, it's not like getting a degree is easy in this situation."
My friend said "Man, I spent all these years in school to get the degree. Now they won't hire because of lack of experience?"
I have had my current job for three years. I'm going to be totally debt-free this year (fingers crossed) after being financially fucked in the ass and relying on credit cards (and the week after I was unemployed and started charging a lot to SURVIVE, two of the companies jacked up my interest from 11.9% to 29.98% just before the new CC laws came into effect. I never even missed a single fucking payment!) while taking a sad unemployment check (which saved my life; better than nothing) after getting a car that I thought would be paid off in four years in my previous job. Instead, I had that job 17 months and was left in the wind.
Unemployment sucks. I might be there again in a year. We'll see. I'm looking for work starting this June, when I finally have my BA. Then I'll have experience and a degree, so hopefully I'll get my foot in more doors.
However, I guarantee they'll instead be looking for a Masters. Today, a bachelors is like an AA degree ten years ago. But it's better than nothing.
I applied for literally hundreds of positions. I got only three interviews. One went real well, and I am pretty sure I would have gotten the job. They were looking for someone who has experience dealing with East Asian cultures. I was a Vietnamese interpreter/translator that went over there dozens of times. I also speak Chinese Mandarin. They were hoping for a Japanese translator, but I filled all their other checkboxes.
Then the next day the interviewed a guy that spoke Japanese. Just my luck! Shit like that happens all the fucking time.