Eric Williams was reduced to mowing his neighbor’s grass after 20 years in the Army and 10 years of civil service wasn’t enough to get him a job.
The retired staff sergeant returned from Germany in 2008 to a down economy, but had faith his resume would impress employers. He was wrong.
“I heard on the news it was tough and hard” to find work, Williams, 52, said. “But it was a lot harder than I thought it was.”
When the priority placement for his civil service didn’t come through, Williams thought he could find a job based on his experience as a veteran. Neither strategy worked, so Williams tried to fall back on unemployment pay, but he didn’t qualify.
“I had back up plans for my back up plans,” Williams said. “They had holes shot in them one by one.”
Williams had been unemployed for a month or two before, this latest period proved one of the most difficult of his life. It was hard, he said, not having his hands busy with work or being a provider for his family.
Eventually he came to see one silver lining of his unemployment. When his daughter had her first child, he was able to spend up to a week at a time with his grandchild. Williams traveled to Delaware several times when his parents fell ill.
Today he’s earning his second associate’s degree in business technology, hoping that a better knowledge of computers will improve his chances of getting a job.
He has extensive experience as a mechanic and became a supervisor as motor sergeant. Williams also worked for years in a furniture warehouse and a post office.
All he wants now is just a stable job with decent pay until he reaches retirement age.
“I’m not greedy, I just want the peace of having a job,” Williams said.