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Subject: Single Father of 2, broke, losing everything

Good afternoon Bart,

Let me start off by saying thank you for the years of a constant voice of reason. Yes, this letter is basically a sob story, sorry,
but like most everyone out there in my situation, I just wanted to write you and give you (and your readers if you so choose)
a glimpse of what it's really like out there. I don't blame you if you read no further, I'm sure you are a busy man these days, but here goes.

I'm a single father of two, my oldest lives with me while he's in college to keep costs down. My youngest lives with her mom
(against her will) about 2000 miles away. I pay 30% of my last income rate as child support which is more than a current week's
unemployment payment. My ex refuses to allow me to temporarily pay less while I've been unemployed even though I have offered
to repay the total amount discounted once I'm working again....even with interest! So I either pay the full amount or I go to jail.

I'm a  mechanical Design Engineer by trade, been doing that for the past 32+ yrs, it's all I know. More than likely you have seen
or used some of my design work (The Dodge Viper; Chevy Corvette ZR1; Volvo Heavy trucks; GE ovens; Air Force One (and Two);
GE, Westinghouse & Siemens power generators for the Tennessee Valley Authority, etc.). I am also well versed on configuration
and maintaining the design software that produces these designs (CAD - AutoCAD, Inventor, Pro/Engineer). Three years ago I
had a great, stable, well paying job managing a design department at a solar company here in the Pacific Northwest. I had been
there for 8 yrs and thanks to the poor decisions of upper management, the place was taken over by one of their main suppliers
who they had owed millions of dollars to and thus the place here was closed down, 50% of the people were let go and the rest
were offered to relocate a few states away. Last thing I wanted to do was uproot my son at the time, so I stayed here, plus the
company that took over already had a person doing the same job I was.

I was semi-lucky enough to be offered the same type of job for a local engineering firm and worked with them for about 7 months.
That work was based on government contract and when that dried up, they too cut down to a skeleton crew where they continue
to be to this day. I decided to start up my own mechanical design firm and draw on the numerous contacts I've made over the years
in hopes of finding enough business. In the past year, I've found 3 contracts, one was very small, lasted all of 2 weeks, another
lasted all of a week and the third was 5 months and the worst customer I've ever dealt with. Of those 3, one has yet to pay his bill
(he's 2 months late and I can't afford to go after him for it. Besides it'll cost more than what he owes me). So here I am, no new
prospects in sight, everything is on hold until after the election and even then most places don't expect to do anything until after
the first of the year. I just got notice my unemployment benefits are exhausted (I've had to apply for emergency funds which
takes at least 3 weeks to review), my savings have been depleted as of this month's bills, I have no medical insurance and can't
afford my meds for diabetes without barrowing from my elderly parents who are on a fixed income themselves. I've cut out or
cut loose (with penalties) my cell phone program (I had family, now I'm down to just to make and get calls for a job offer),
I've dropped out of college (at 48 yrs old I was going back to get my Masters), DirecTV is gone right at the beginning of football
season, Internet is cut back to bare bones access/speed, thrift store groceries, my 8 yr old car is going up for sale (I'll be forced to
driving a 36 yr old Jeep that gets all of 7 miles a gallon and has no floor boards), well, you get the picture. I fully expect to be
arrested and in jail for failure to pay child support in the next few months (the ex would just love to do that), I can't find even
the most basic of jobs such as a bagger at Wal-Mart because I'm "over qualified".

Bart, I'm at the end of my rope. I can't even afford to advertize for my business (I advertized on your site years ago when I
had the same type of biz under a different name) and even if I did, there's no promise of generating work. I know full well that
with all the cash companies have on hand, if they simply used just 20% of that cash to hire people, the unemployment rate
would be under 5%. But those one percenters can't have the economy do good, that'll make Obama a "shoe in" for re-election
and that means they'll have to pay fair taxes. I run a business and I make sure I pay my fair share, it's my duty I feel, I even
donated time or money to local charities.

Below I've provided a link to my company's LinkedIn page, as you can tell, I also have numerous other people that are
trying to find work and are hoping I can provide such for them, sad to say I can't even feed myself these days.

Bart, no expectation of you publishing this, honestly I'm not sure it's even worth it.
I know things are tough for a lot of people, even you. Feel free to "snip" out as much as you need

Thanks for listening to my venting Bart, keep swingin the hammer,

 There is a risk for me in that I can't verify Jim's situation,
  but there's also a risk in doing nothing, so I figured I'd publish it.

  Maybe someone out there needs what Jim's company can provide?


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