Among my childhood ailments was the measles, which caused in meningitis of the brain when I was two years old. Eight years later, my only older brother died at age 14.

Now, at age 56, I still live with my parents, and am being treated for Asperger's (a form of autism), and have not been on a date with a female in over 10 years. No wonder I suffer from depression.

I left the bank for a sales position with Craftmatic, which makes and markets their own adjustable beds. I went broke after a month and was terminated because I did not meet the sales demo quota, so I promptly went to Ohio's Employment Connection. One of the first things I learned during the career workshop was that mailroom jobs were being eliminated due to the advent of electronic mail. According to CareerBuilder, California, New York, Texas and Florida had several hundred mailroom jobs available.

Besides the difficulty in finding work, my parents starting going downhill in term of health. My mother slipped and fell in the basement in summer of 2006, had her hip replaced at age 80 and was in and out of the hospital the rest of the year, spending the holidays with one my brothers and his family. As if that's not enough, she suffices from glaucoma (which she passed on to me), lactose-intolerant, arthritis and diverticulosis. A year later, my dad (age 85 at the time) went in for a stress test and was sent to the hospital for quadruple bypass surgery. They panicked and moved into a retirement center. I wound up with a minimum wage factory job across the street from my church, but the two bus rides and one mile walk each way were just too much, so I flew to Tampa / St. Pete in January last year.

My stay in Florida was short-lived. In the six weeks I was there, the only position I found was as a telemarketer selling tanning oil to beauty and tanning salons. That worn three days; I was fired due to lack of sales. When the cash ran out, I came back to Cleveland via Greyhound, just in time for the ice storm and blizzard.

I took to applying and searching for work online because it's the way everyone does it now. All the states have their own job boards. Even the federal government has USA Jobs. When you go to a career fair, unless it's a hospitality position, you have to apply online. One of the problems with applying on line, though, is that it pegs you based on your last lengthy job. Here, the job boards match me with mailroom jobs. Believe me when I say that there is nothing in Cleveland, although I could probably get a shipping / receiving job. My problem with that is I have a Florida driver's license and do not want to drive in the snow.

There are so many people applying for work here in Cleveland that the employers pretty much hire through a temp firm or ask you apply on line. What's really bad is that my employment record since leaving the bank is shot, so even if the state paid for my retraining, I doubt if it would do any good, because all they're pushing here in Cleveland is health care and manufacturing. At 56, I'm not too crazy about either one. (I can understand the need to go into health care. People are losing their minds just trying to find employment).

You can believe me on that last statement. I was so furious with myself upon returning to Cleveland that I grabbed the kitchen pantry door and smashed my forehead against it, promptly knocking off its hinges. As a result, I'm being treated for depression / bipolar disorder with a medication that makes it difficult to lose weight. Since my return, I worked with Ohio's Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation, but what I wanted to do did not fall within their guidelines. They recently sent me to the local Jewish Family Services, which is trying to find work for me.

In the meantime, I can offer only these words of advice:
1) If your environment makes you miserable, leave as soon as possible, even if it means just going to the library or taking a walk in the park.
2) Do not spend too much time at the library because everything is electronicized. You can send several e-beams and cover letters and never receive a reply.
3) Stay physically active even if you are out of work.
4) Network with other people in person, not through the Internet.