The other evening I called a friend to ask if they were attending an event. Instead of a yes or no answer, the conversation turned to his spiraling financial crisis.

This is not the first time I have heard about his issues with money. I have lent a sympathetic ear for many years. Sometimes I have asked what is he going to do, other times, I have suggested he might need to look for a job.

He has been a caregiver for many years; his father had ALS and now his mother has severe dementia.

Several years ago, his father passed away and he had to sell the house where he was living with his mother. They could not afford the mortgage payment.

He has worked sporadically – mostly from the house as a day trader or selling web hosting services. At one point, he worked in a company for a couple of weeks and he was let go.

It has been many years since he worked in a steady job and when he did it was in his family’s business.

He tells me he has $12 in his pocket. He has been living on his credit cards the past few months. All the money from the sale of the house is gone. His mother’s social security check will not arrive for another 15 days. He has no other income coming in – and that I do not understand.

Here is how the conversation ensues:

“No one wants to hire me. I went to one store and put in an application and never heard back from them. The next time I was in there, they had hired a good looking girl in her 20’s,” he says.

“How many applications have you put in?” I ask.

“It just doesn’t do any good. I can do a lot of different things. It is really rough out there. No one wants to hire someone my age (he is in his early 60’s) and because I have not worked in so many years, they think something is wrong with me.”

“So, how many applications have you put in?”

“There are no places for me to apply to. Take a look at Blockbusters – they are probably going to be closing their stores. No one is hiring right now. You just don’t understand.” (I think by now you know the answer to how many applications he has put in).

“I do understand, more than you may realize. You do not have any money. For things to change, you have to generate an income. If you are not putting in applications to businesses, how does anyone know you are looking for a job? No one will knock on your door unless you invite them to contact you. Find a place where you start at the bottom.”

“You just don’t understand – no one wants me. People who have college degrees are accepting minimum wage jobs.”

“I realize that it is hard to take rejection. There are a lot of people out of work right now. There are more people vying for a position than five years ago. However, there are thousands of businesses you can apply to in the area. Pick up the yellow pages – it is filled with businesses that need employees.

Set a goal to apply to ten places every day. Make a commitment to yourself to do that each day before you do anything else, otherwise, something else will come up. People I have spoken with have sent out over 200 resumes or applications and have not found a job. The only way to increase your odds of getting a job is to apply for one.”

“It is just not going to work. I have tried. The places I could work are not hiring.”

“Put in applications at businesses that are hiring or are not hiring. A good business will keep your application on file and if someone quits, they will go to that file first to see if someone is available to avoid paying a recruiter or incurring advertising expenses. This may give you an edge in your search efforts.”

“Let me ask you something. Are you happy with where things are at right now?” I ask.

“What do you mean?”

“Are you happy with your financial situation?”

“Well no, of course not.”

“If you keep doing the same thing, I can bet you will get the same result. You have to do something different create a new outcome.”

Here’s the question – who understands what?