Friday, February 06, 2009
Recess bell rings

Imagine you've just gotten laid off, which might not be much of a stretch of your imagination in this time of layoffs and so-called "staycations." But blogger austinchu of Newport Beach, California, is using his unexpected time off to embark on a countrywide tour he calls "The Recess Ends." He's packing his things and his brother into a vegetable-oil-powered car to travel and find out how the economy is affecting local folks. He's also practicing his blogging and media production skills. We've seen newsy trips iReported in the past, like DavidMcLane's "Red states, blue road" project and a San Jose State University trip to the inauguration, and we're interested in seeing how this turns out. After getting into an accident shortly after a first attempt at departure, austinchu has taken off. The first stop was Las Vegas, Nevada, where he and his brother took photos of foreclosed homes. They'll be headed to many other places around the country including Detroit, Michigan, and other areas hit hard by the economy. The goal is to see where they can find the cheap food waste the car uses as fuel and document the state of the country at the same time. Other iReporters seconded austinchu and told us they're not taking this recession lying down. Frequent iReporter dpkronmiller put together a video the day after he lost his job and laid out the complex feelings he had about the uncertainty in his life. He vowed to tell us the story of his personal journey and to try to learn about himself as he goes through the process of economic recovery alongside the country. And PerkTV is working lots of odd jobs to keep his income coming, including making cooking videos and selling green screens. We're hearing lots of stories from people who are surviving and trying to make sure they're thriving. How are you making the most of the bad economy? Are you traveling? Share your stories and comment below.

February 7, 2009
Click to view pampadilla's profile

sometimes i thinks this can't not happen but its true

its hurt see all that people

i hope someday this change becausse

much people dying becausse this!!!

i feel bad!!!

u do a good jobs jeje


really liked!!!

i wanna do something like that

but i want to help people!!!

February 8, 2009
Click to view Rayjohn74's profile

I'm going to search for this to totally change the american economy!

February 8, 2009
Click to view tdise21's profile



If you read this and want a story and are coming to the Chicago area, send me an email. I got laid off too.  I was a creative for a big ad agency in Chicago and I have many many thoughts. I have other connections too. Cheers.



February 8, 2009
Click to view terriebari's profile

I joined the masses of unemployed last week. It is the first time in almost 30 years tha I have not been working.


I would be the first person to say "if one wants to work, there is work out there", but honestly, I don't know that that is really true anymore.


I started a blog that I  hope others in this situation will use to talk about their situations and perhaps we can all help one another since the govt doesn't sem to be able to get its act together. If you want to share your story, here is the blog URL:


Good luck out there, everyone! It's going to be a tough battle.

February 8, 2009
Click to view thebigjar's profile

My toughts and prayers go out to all of those that have lost their jobs, particularly those with children and other dependants. Austinchu, I hope you find what you are looking for and I look forward to seeing what you find out there.  Good luck.


I have often thought what I might do if everything else fails, kind of a plan Z.  I joked witha freind about this the other day and said that I would pack my tent, sleeping bag, and put my boots on and hit the trails.  Kind of pull a Mccandless for a few years until the eceonomy and the government get their acts together.  Who knows. 


Best to Austinchu and all the others looking to find their way through this chaos.

February 8, 2009
Click to view Hasmukhj's profile

Pray for all the people who have lost their jobs and those who will be losing them soon beacuse More people will be out of work in 2008 as a result of global economic cooling, and in 2009 As per ILO (International Labour Organisation) As World Approaches 6 Billion Population. from that Up to 51 million jobs worldwide could disappear by the end of this year.


Global Slowturn affected each and everyone, A normal people affected from this crisis.


who's having job, in current year "SHOULD STICK TO HIS REAL JOB"....

February 8, 2009
Click to view dshows's profile

I lost my job about 15 months ago working as a systems engineer for a global company for over 7 years.  I didn't think getting a new job would be a difficult task, my being in the IT industry and with several years of experience.  I was offered a nice severance package and having always enjoyed photography decided that a vacation would be a good starting point before circulating my resume.


I left Ohio on a Saturday morning and drove west for four days.  I stayed on the back roads, avoiding highways and interstate travel and large cities. I planned to take photos of landscapes and old barns,of which I took several. What I ended up taking more pictures of thought was of the people I met. I was amazed with the stories they had to tell.  Keep in mind, this was in April of 08, before the downturn.  I met families in Missouri who had been living in motel rooms for weeks on end, kids running around in the parking lot while Dad went out searching for work one day, Mom the next.  I didn't question the issue of school for the children.  It seemed to be none of my business.  The flash card in my Nikon was filling up with much more than images of mountains and barns.  It was also filling up with the faces of kids, laughing and smiling, oblivious to the struggle their parents faced and with the worried faces of their parents.  Did they have enough gas for the in much need of repair car for tomorrows job search or to get to the food pantry.  How much longer would they be able to stay in the room they were renting. 


I encountered these issues and several other stories of unemployment and struggle not only in Missouri, but in Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky and Tennessee.  Through many small and medium size towns I would walk the sidewalks seeing far more empty stores than open, full shelved ones. The people, for the most part were upbeat and optimistic but behind the eyes one could sense the worry.


Here it is 15 months after being laid off and I still don't have a job, despite having applied for over 400 in my career field and scores more for anything from retail to floor mopping.  I've drained the severance package and dipped deep into a 401K.


I will not regret having taken that short photo trip. I'm glad it turned into what it did and that I was able to meet those people and witness the strife. I hope Austinchu has a pleasant road trip and applaud the mission of that trip. What he will see, I'm sure, will be on a much greater scale than what I witnessed. I'm thinking that maybe it's time for me to go out again and perhaps relocate some of those families and individuals I had met.  Maybe I'll even find a job.

February 8, 2009
Click to view stevewy's profile

I knew the day would come when I would sell most of my possessions,Get an RV and hit the road. Plan "Z" to the power of 4.  I never thought about losing my job in an industry that has a future. Even I.T. has it's cut backs. My neighbors are all having moving sales not yard sales which is an indication that things are bad now and only going to get worse. Soon there will be no customers to buy the things that clutter your storage area of the home. Things like the lawn tractor, Dinning sets, major appliances are taken right out of the home and being sold. My guess is forclosed homes will be abanden fully furnished in the coming months or years. A good idea if you can afford it is to put wanted items into a pod and have it stored and hopefully in the near future after a lifestyle can be retreaved after the economy bounces back, when we find that new pasture thats greener. I will be traveling the country with wife and child in tow in our mission from city to town, from state to state, Camp ground to camp ground and keeping life simple. Lucky for us we dont own but rent and we can walk away with what we got. Social Security and VA benifits, The only worry I have is if the Government collaps'

February 8, 2009

I have been working part time now for 2 years. Also spent that time looking for a full time job but faced too much age discrimination. What I've learned is that you have to make the best of what you have to just get on with life. I re-focused my wide ranging expertise, and made it fit a variety of consulting jobs. I am not sure just how useful it is to therefore take off on a road trip and write a blog. Wouldn't it more helpful to be out looking for a job? That's what I would do.....It takes guts to stay in the race but that's what you need to do.

February 8, 2009
Click to view austinchu's profile

Thanks for these comments, for responding, and for following us. I appreciate the support, the luck, and the advice.


I'd like to address some of what has been written:


Some say, how come I'm not finding a job, or sending our resumes, applying for jobs. To be honest with you, this is my job. I wasn't born to work for some large corporation. I hope after this project is done and over with, I can put THIS on my resume. I'm to capture a snapshot of today. It will be as complete as I can make it. True, I won't be able to cover everything, or everyone, or every industry. Perhaps it will continue after my trip is over. To be honest, 3.5 months is how long I can survive and support myself? Thanks goodness, I have some supportors who are digging deep into their pockets to support me financially. To be honest, it's not about the money for me. It's about whether or not we can turn something negative into something we are passionate about, something that inspires us.


Everyone will find their path. For some the path will be arduous and difficult. There will be a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. What happens when we want to quit? Are we going to quit? Can we afford to quit? Whose depending on us? Can we rely on the government? Can we rely on our president?


The answer is easy, we have to rely on each other. We need each other as much as the other person needs us. This film, this trip it about that.


Don't get me wrong. I'm filling out applications as we speak...Let's hope I can come back to a job, or something. Who knows, maybe you'll find me flipping burgers somewhere.


Follow us, leave a comment, contribute, read it, don't read it, do whatever you want. Just live it:

February 8, 2009
Click to view austinchu's profile
February 8, 2009
Click to view shalpine's profile

I was laid off in June 2008 and have not been able to find a job. I am doing all I can and my boyfriend has been carrying us since then. We, voted, paid our taxes and since I have not been working I have seen alot of news about the stimulous packages and monies put out before and after the first stimulous package. I pulled out my calculator today and even though it does not have room for 9 or 12 zero’s it is really easy to calculate the numbers for me and every other average American, this is what I find very disturbing:

12.7 B to banks and wallstreet

700 B stimulous

13.4 B to GM and Chrysler

Total 726.10 B

Total US population 305 Million as of 2009 per estimates

Comes to 2.38 million per person

Add 800 B

Comes to 5 million per person

This is a very devastating reality to me and I am sure it is to any average American that has used their or not needed to use their calculator.

I would wish that you and others at CNN would make this a point in a broadcast. Then maybe we would get some real explanations that make since to myself and millions of other average Americans.

Thank you,

Stacy H

February 8, 2009
Click to view verified's profile

Stretching beyond limits – going the extra mile

Sometimes you are so hell bent upon making a difference and so sure of your motives that you are ready to bet your life on them. With a deep desire of helping my countrymen and women, by providing a dependable support system to the veterans I desire to give back something in lieu of so much that I got from my country and from the community.  Just to keep things in perspective I would like to state at the outset that I am a disabled veteran and the path I am embarking upon in order to help you may lead to loss of my 100% veteran disability benefits and pay, but still I have already started making long strides on that path. But this is not the right time to talk about personal hardships. 


Dear friends, our country is in a deep crisis; we are fighting a war against terrorism and a war against an unprecedented economic meltdown. Families are being shattered, jobs are being lost, freedom is being restrained and businesses are being shut down. The horizon continuously seems to be bringing upon our skies the dark clouds of uncertainty and gloom. Fortunately we have the intellectual and physical ability to counter these adverse circumstances as we have been countering our enemies with unshakable resolve. We just need some means, we just need some directions, and I have been spending considerable amount of time devising those means and figuring out the directions. With all this wealth of information and knowledge that I have gained I want to help you, even at the cost of losing my veteran disability benefits and pay.


The Internet has immense potential.  Even when more than 90% of average American households are connected to the World Wide Web the online economy is still at a nascent stage.  So much is being achieved and so much more can be achieved provided we can all come together and work jointly, made possible by this miraculous state of connectivity we have been blessed with.  It is this connectivity that I want to use in order to reach out to you and extend a helping hand and join hands with those who want to come along and help the others. I have great ideas that I am going to share with you on this blog.  In fact the TV promos of those ideas have already been broadcast during the Larry King, Anderson Cooper 360, and on other networks with high views, which basically establishes the authenticity, verification and the power of the idea. Furthermore is it wrong to help when asked too.


Interested to know what I'm talking about?  Stay tuned to this blog and website and or by e-mail. Let us come together and change things for better.

Always Very Grateful

In all that you Do  



February 8, 2009
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You must read the book middle class caveman it has real solutions for the middle class

March 3, 2009
Click to view explorermad's profile

What is the problem with Mr Rush limbaugh if spelled wrong excuse me he is saying only the plans to get rid of capitalism that Mr Obama should fail and not his other policies. What is Mr Obama done so far for us. Instead of fixing the economy he working on less important things like health care all I can see is he is running out of precious time and only seeking to walk out of the White house a richman just like the other presidents before him. The writing is on the wall and he is not a missaih the real missiah is on his way with our well diseved payment on this sinful world that all they need is to repent. Me like God am waiting to see if the courts reverse the prop 8 desision because that will be the final straw like in Sodom and Gomorah.

December 4, 2009
Click to view caiwei's profile
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December 29, 2009
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