JOBS: Got One? Lost Yours? Share Your Story


QUEERTY ASKS, YOU ANSWER — Last month, Americans lost another 651,000 jobs, bringing the jobless rate up from 7.6 percent to 8.1 percent, according to the Labor Department. (That’s actually fewer jobs lost than in the two previous months.) While President Obama talks stimulus and housing plan, we’re sure some of our own readers are contemplating what, exactly, they’re supposed to do now that they’ve been laid off, and there’s little hope for new work. So: We want to hear from you. If you’re willing, please share your experiences — about losing your job, hanging on to it, or fearing it could disappear. Feel free to post anonymously, or under a different screenname, but we’d love to know 1) Whether you still have your job; 2) What sector you’re in and your job title/description; 3) The ballpark salary you were (or are) earning; 4) What you plan to do to find new work; or 5) If you still have your job, whether you’re worried about losing it.

Meanwhile, according to Labor Department stats, here’s the breakdown of the newly unemployed:

Adult Men: 8.1%
Adult Women 6.7%
Whites: 7.3%
Blacks: 13.4%
Hispanics: 10.9%
Teenagers: 21.6%
Asians: 6.9%

If only that had data on the gays.

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  • Buster

    I got laid off last week. I’m a musician and was working high end retail to pay the bills. Was making about $40K a year. As I had the most experience, I had the highest salary and got cut as I was the most expensive to keep. My plan is to use this free time to figure out what to do with my life. After I graduated college, I was convinced I was going to get signed and never had a back up plan. At least I have the temporary cushion of unemployment to be somewhat selective about finding the right job, not just any job. It’s scary though. And boring. I work out a lot to pass the time/ clear my head.

  • magvet

    I’m a journalist and was laid off last year. It’s been particularly scary because my entire industry is imploding. I feel not only do I not have a job, but I don’t have a career to go back to anymore.

    The down time has allowed me to do more freelance for bigger publications, but its not steady and it doesnt come with benefits. Im trying get work in related fields (PR, development, etc) but they seem to be hurting just as bad. Unemployment and freelance has kept me afloat, but that will run out eventually–which keeps me up at night.

    Ironically, the one good thing that’s come out of this is I joined a gym and got an (inexpensive) trainer. I work out regularly for the first time in my life, and even though my career has stalled somewhat, I can see positive results in my life.

  • Felverick

    I live in Canada but we have been experiencing the same downfall. I luckily still have my job as I work for a successful internet company. Being an ISP means business does go up when the economy is hurting. We provide a cheap source of entertainment and scaling back is the flavor of the month. However we have 3 employees in a very similar position and there is probably only need for two. They will cut us back at some point and it does keep me up at night. I’ve been saving as much as I possibly can incase work does fall out from under me. No more coffee on breaks, eating out or movie nights. Everything has to be a necessity for me to buy it. If I think about it more then 3 days, chances are I need to buy it and will.

  • HomoWithNoJob

    I recently lost my job as an Emergency Communications Officer for an unnamed Western State Government. I had no idea it was coming, then one day my I was informed that it was my last day because my job wasn’t considered a “critical state service” (yes, unmanned Emergency Operations Centers are so not critical). My boss appealed the decision to the Governor and it was shot down. So now here I am looking at the possibility of becoming a baristia. I once made a handsome paycheck and worked in a state of the art secure communications facility,planning, monitoring and coordinating responses to various disasters statewide and I am lucky if I get a call back to for an interview to make latte’s.

  • Nick

    This is why I’m staying in school for at least a couple more years.

  • craigsauer

    1) My “position was eliminated” about a month ago. 2) I was a manager in the automotive industry, and my department was cut almost in half. 3) I made about $100K/year. 4) The good news is that I got so pissed off at my bosses about 3 months ago that I almost up and quit. But I held on because I thought I might get a severance package… and I did! My partner’s job is very secure so we’re not in financial trouble. We’re actually headed to an adoption agency this afternoon to start the process of becoming parents, so it looks like my next occupation will be stay at home dad.

  • denny

    I graduated from college in 2006 with a BA magna cum laude in theater studies. I got a job choreographing for a children’s musical theater company in Fairfield County, Connecticut. To make extra money, I also worked in cafe and as an intern at a local Performing Arts Center. After a year, the Performing Arts Center hired me part-time, which meant a salary increase and bye-bye cafe! However, the center’s state funding was cut severely, and they couldn’t make up the difference through individual, corporate, and foundation donations. In May 2008, the board decided that it was no longer worth it and put everyone except 3 people on “indefinite leave”; I was not one of the lucky ones. I miraculously found a full-time job as a Development Associate with a theater company in NYC in September and am still there. As a non-profit organization, the theater lives or dies off of the money that I and the Development Team raise from foundations, corporations, and individuals; even profits from a sold-out show don’t cover expenses. We are down by about 30% from our goal, which was already down from this point last year. People are cutting back on everything, and theater tickets and charitable contributions are among the first things that are considered expendable. Foundations have lost good portions of their endowments and are giving much less. I’m not afraid of losing my job. I’m afraid that we won’t be able to raise enough money to keep our doors open.

    The entire arts community is really feeling the pinch: Ballet companies are cutting dancers. Symphony orchestras are letting musicians go. And even the Met Opera Company is playing to half-full houses, even with reduced ticket prices. The arts are vital to any great nation, especially in times of crisis. Please support the arts, everyone. Or else, there may not be any arts to support.

  • goingcrazy

    I worked for a communications company in Customer Service, $15.35 a hour plus bonus. Thought I was safe until last March, even though the Private Equity firm that owned us has lost billions in Great Briton. The company also had a no layoff policy.

    As someone who made the upper end of the scale for the position, I was given special projects to present and train others in the department. That was slowly taken away by local management, and then the home office would wonder why I was no longer doing the projects. Since I had been reassigned, I no longer had the time to do the projects. I took work home, unpaid since I was a hourly wage employee. I asked not to do unpaid work, my big mistake.

    The last year of my work was reviewed several times. Sick leave (of which I did not use all) and 3 days of a FMLA were questioned three times in two months. I was told I only had 2 weeks paid vacation, instead of the 3 clearly stated for longevity in the Employee Handbook. Every move was questioned for 6 months. There was no recourse.

    After I left, I found out a 27 year veteran employee was fired for a miscommunication on taking a personal day. Then everyone with years of experience had been let go. They had not laid us off, just harassed or fired the top wage earners, lowering the payroll. Everyone is making 1/3 less. Of the 10 gay people in a workforce of 300, 2 are left.

    During my exit interview with our head of HR, she with 30 years experience in the field told me I didn’t have to worry about COBRA because I could get on my state worker partner’s health insurance. Sorry honey, that is illegal in our state.

    Now my partner has been asked to take a pay cut. We will survive, our mortgage payments are still manageable, but everything else is to the bare bones.

  • Nick11

    Been over 8 months, it’s really horrible. I really am at wits end and at 49 it really narrows your possibilities. I’ve talked to all sorts of lawyers and experts and short of death there seems to be nothing you can do when you are unemployed in debt and not making a salary. There is no help, no relief, short of becoming homeless and moving into a shelter. The one thing I was hoping for from Obama’s stimulus plan was something that actually might help the American people not just American corporations, but so far I don’t see anything. In my opinion the first thing he should have done was wave the fees for withdrawing from your retirement savings. The penalties are insane, so instead of looking at a tax return I’m looking at more nothing, no savings, no retirement, a
    non-responsive government (certainly more responsive then the previous one, but really do you feel like the “stimulus package” really has any direct affect on your well being?) and a legal and banking system that would rather see you destroyed then do anything at all to help.

    Seriously, they wonder why people who are unemployed are depressive and suicidal. I’m ready for them to come make me into soylent green at this point. Really after so long with nothing in sight what are you suppose to do? Buck up?

  • Stenar

    I was laid off a month ago. I’m a graphic designer. I worked for a book publisher and 1/3 of the employees in the company were laid off because book sales imploded the last 3 months of 2008 and then the bank dried up all credit the company used for day-to-day expenses.

    Fortunately, I am debt-free, so for now I can live off of unemployment.

  • Ben S

    I lost my job in late January. I was not laid off but fired from a small company (less then 30 employees) because of violation of policies. This happened the day after the company reported to the owner that they lost $500,000 the last year and did not expected to make a profit this year. They fired me but paid me a severance so if you ask me something is very FISHY!

    Companies are not being smart right now. The other day on NPR they had a gentleman on who was saying that layoff are like anorexia, they will make you skinner but not healthier. So they have 1 person doing the work 2 people barely could do before! Sweet!

  • Scott

    I was a DATA SPECIALIST for THE NIELSEN CO (formerly AC NIELSEN). I was with the co for 5yrs and was making 46k. The Nielsen company (in a move to save the EXECUTIVES their 6fig salaries) have outsourced almost half the company to INDIA and the TA TA GROUP (and evil company). My position was outsourced. What made matters worse was that the company had me basically “tie my own noose”. I was made to train the SIX Indian TA TA employees who are replacing ME (singular). After the re-organization, THE NIELSEN COMPANY is now mainly composed of VP’s and Manager level ppl. All chiefs and no indians (pun intended).
    I have just applied for California Unemployment…im REALLY scared because I cant survive off of the crumbs that EDD pays. Its so hard because most California companies are all on employment freezes.
    My Story


  • scandi

    I work as a graphic design in a corporate law firm. I’m currently going through a bit of “survivor’s guilt”, as they laid off everyone on my team, except for me. Part of me wants to leave in solidarity, but if I did, I wouldn’t get the crappy severance package that they offered my co-workers. I’m also living with HIV and it scares me to be out of work with no leads and no insurance.

    It’s not great being the last man standing. Already my workload has increased about 50% and there’s no one to help pick up the slack. That’s why I’m sick on a Friday afternoon, but still on my computer anyway. I guess I should just consider myself lucky that I’m still here, but with the way things are going, who knows how long that will be.

  • vernonvanderbilt

    It’ll be a year for me at the end of this month. I was laid off from my job working as a security officer when our client, a hydraulic pump manufacturer, closed its doors. Being an outside contractor, I was led to believe by my own employer that a new position would be forthcoming very quickly. I was making around $25k at the time, but would have likely had to take a pay cut and drive further each day if I were reassigned to a new client. Even under those circumstances I was more than willing to do so.

    Well, a week went by, then two, then a month, then two months…no calls for work, and no replies to my own queries on the matter. Bills piled up, unemployment compensation was late in starting…I’ve come dangerously close to losing my car more times than I care to count right now, which would be absolutely devastating and pretty much ruin any chance at future employment I have.

    Health issues prevent me from being on my feet for long periods of time, so even dropping down the ladder to work fast food or retail is not much of an option. I have no health insurance now, no car insurance, and the most basic of cell phone plans which involves sharing a package with my mother and stepfather. I live with my physically disabled grandparents, my mentally disabled sister, and my physically disabled brother. Between their social Security and disability checks and my very meager unemployment benefits, we barely manage to scrape by each month. The only things that have kept us afloat are the occasional charitable gesture from slightly more fortunate friends and family members and the sliver of luck we seem able to cling to. My sister and her two young boys also stay with us about half the time, but she works as a waitress and isn’t bringing much money home lately. She’s in debt as it is, and cannot afford to contribute much to the family pot.

    When I was first laid off, I started looking for new employment immediately, searching the want ads and scouring the internet day after day after day. Unfortunately, jobs are not plentiful in my area, and jobs I am physically able to do are even scarcer. The few that I have found and applied for came to nothing. On any given day we’re lucky to have three or four ads in the local papers, and usually those are for nursing or trucking positions, which I am not qualified for. It’s gotten to the point now that I just check the postings at the unemployment website about once a week or so, vainly hoping there will be something I can do and possess the qualifications for.

    In the meantime, I use my downtime to work on my writing, as I’d ultimately like to make a living doing that. I’m not generally an optimistic person, but I work at it. That’s work that’s getting harder and harder with each passing day. It’s incredibly depressing, after all, to realize that you offer almost no meaningful contributions to your society or your household. Honestly, the only thing that keeps me going at the moment is knowing how many people count on me as the only driver in the household. That’s what I do; I’m a chauffeur/errand boy.

    It’s a wonder that I even want to keep living, really. I guess I’ve always been stubborn, though.

    I’ve toyed with the idea of going back to school and finishing my bachelor’s degree, but I honestly don’t know how I’d afford it right now. I’d need to wait a little longer to qualify for financial aide again. Even if I did, it wouldn’t accomplish anything other than putting me further in debt and give me a piece of paper that in no way guarantees gainful employment. I’m starting to think that every avenue ends up being a waste of time.

    There. That’s my story.

  • sal

    my heart truly goes out to every one here!job safe…for now,20% pay cut.need a change now,working on that *cross fingers* :)

  • parisinla

    I still have my job, as often as I am threatened with being fired, as a project manager at an ad agency on the west coast. I would probably be happy to see it go. Im kind of miserable here. Each day i wake up and lay in bed thinking, “do i really want to do this today?” Even with this I see the meltdown around me and no leads to any other jobs I get up and come in to work long hours with a boss i cant stand, don’t get over time, and haven’t taken a vacation in over 2 years.

    I have alot of non-profit commitments, that don’t pay me but bring me lots of joy and a sense of fulfillment that I never see at my day job. If was forced to leave, I would feel secure in the knowledge that i would be focusing on moving those forward.

    Still i count my self lucky to still have a job.

    Hang in there guys, the darkness comes before the light.

  • KRob

    I wish all of you the best in your job search and life in general.

    I have been laid off for a month. I worked for a certain high-profile coffee beverage company who recently laid off several hundred additional office support staff on top of the opertations cuts they made last year. I was a senior recruiting professional with them that always exceeded the goals and expectations presented to me and my team. It was disheartening to say the least when most of my team and I were dismissed without a second thought. The job search has also been equally disheartening with companies looking for underqualified indiviudals who they can pay less or offering you salaries comparable to that which you received 5 years ago or worse.

    Well life goes on I guess, hoepfully this economy recovers sooner thatn later.

  • Geoff

    I work in radio, in Idaho of all places. I worked at my longest job almost 14 years as an out gay broadcaster and was fired two years ago. Last year I was Program Director for an awful station (also in Idaho) and was laid off. I’ve been collection unemployment and doing freelance when I have the opportunity. I wasn’t fired because I was lazy, I won many awards, and I wasn’t laid off because I was gay. Now I’m considering pretty much anything to bring in some money. My story is just like every other area of the country…sucks.


    Regards and best wishes to the people struggling here. I am a pension and benefits consulting actuary for a large financial services firm.

    It hurts to get calls from clients asking where else they can make cuts and which other benefits they can legally take away, but sometimes that’s all they can do, and I have to do my job and give them the nitty gritty of how. The firm so far had not had to do the mass layoffs that seem to be affecting everyone else, but the partners have been informed (so they say) that they can expect pay cuts for the next 2 years, and staff will not be getting any raises this year. It’s hard to be motivated when the compensation structure is no longer incentive-based on performance; then again, with good performance I guess we all get to keep working, so back to the grindstone I go.

  • Mark M

    We are ok for now.. My income is down about 15%, but my partners is up significantly. Who knows what next week brings. It’s hard to see people struggle. It’s hard to know that emergency services are not LGBT friendly. For example, most shelters do not recognize LGBT families, and so people get physically split. Food banks: same thing. (individuals get tickets to free meal places, families get boxes of groceries). I am all about taking care of our own, since Prop 8. I don’t care that there are starving straight families on the street or in the field, but my heart aches for my brothers & sisters. (and neithers, lol).

  • Mark M

    I didn’t really answer the question, did I? I do that:
    1) Still working, but I am at 80%. 2) Health care. 3) about 70 for me, bit more for partner, 4) although I haven’t lost much work, I really think things are going to get better in a few years- so I am laying groundwork, 5) Shit yea, I am worried. You would be an idiot to not be.

  • Larry

    1)I got laid off from Full Time work as a Market Researcher (45K) last March but have picked up odd Personal Assistant ($20/hr) and Exam Proctoring ($13/hr) but even that is running low now. 2) I could do anything tied to a desk and an Excel Sheet but looking to get back into Libraries 3) Was looking to get back to at least 40K full time, but getting to the point where I’d settle for much less 4) Staying focused on getting a Library Sciences related job, since I miss it, and hope it’s not as competitive as Marketing or Administrative work I have done.

  • Boston Boy

    Out of work here, too.

    Had part time employment doing political field work in my state over the summer — full time for a special election earlier in the year. I actually passed up a great opportunity with one of the candidates I got into office, because I felt I was so good at doing campaign work (and I am) that I could get a few more progressives elected and then settle down… which was one of the most freaking stupid ideas ever.

    Political work is non stop, 70-80 hours a week, and you get paid shit. I was in the position that I could afford to do that since I didn’t have any rent and didn’t have to pay student loans for most of the rest of the year, but (obviously) things are a bit slow now, after the election, and I got burned out working those insane hours anyway.

    So I’ve been out of work since November, trying to find a job in state employ, getting out of campaign work, but it’s really a battle of contacts and while I have some great contacts, there aren’t whole tons of jobs available in my field. They literally open up 1-2 a month – with sometimes as many as hundreds applying. So I’ve been out of work (no unemployment) since November and haven’t really been making much for the entire year. I’ve started looking in other fields – but the economy freaking collapsed around me and it’d be hard to get a job at Dunkin Donuts at this point, for heaven’s sake. I’m just not that qualified for good jobs that aren’t in the sector I’ve worked in – which is doubly or triply a problem right now, in this economy.

    It’s all so frustrating. I have a wonderful mother who’s been helping me, but I can tell after all these months her patience – as wonderful as its been – is finally starting to dry up. The worst, though, is the horrible guilt. I *hate* having to still rely on my mother now that I’m out of school. I’ve relied on her all my life and all I want to do is be able to contribute a little. We’re middle class, not whole tons of money, so me having to continually rely on her as if I was still in HS or something makes what could be a comfortable one-person living for her be somewhat of a struggle for two.

    I’m also so dispirited. I’ve come so close to getting a few good jobs over these past few months, that it’s hard to even look now. Every time I’m pulled in as one of the finalists, only to see the job go to a neice or best friend’s kid, makes me want to scream and pull my hair out… but I’m much more likely to curl up in a ball for 48 hours and hide away.

    Consequently, I’m not looking nearly as much as I can. It just hurts to do so, knowing 9 times out of 10, it’s totally futile. Hell, I was looking well before I knew my job would be up, hoping to avoid being unemployed at all. I’ve just had a string of bad luck that’s gone well past a year now (some of it my fault, a lot of it not), that really started with me fucking myself over with that job that I was offered but didn’t take. Would have been around 30k with great benefits and several weeks off a year in state government, with relative job security… not too shabby just out of school, in this economy. I could have paid off my school loans – all 45k of them – quickly if I stayed with my mother for another two or three years, and then think about a condo (the prices have crashed) or a Master’s Degree. Now I’m cursing myself, broke, and slightly depressed with not a lot to feel hopeful about over the next year +.

    So, a lesson for the kids out there… if you get are offered a reasonable job with benefits and some security, TAKE IT, everything else be damned, at least so long as you aren’t a trust fund baby. Also, another lesson, I should have become a nurse, like my mother… she never has to freaking worry about jobs. If she were ever laid off, she could find one in a few days. Pursuing my hopes and dreams for the past 10 years really has been a waste of my time. I achieved a lot of them and look where its got me LOL =(

  • Chitown Kev

    I’ve been employed at a non-profit since November, but that came after being out of permanent work for 4 years. I went back to school during that time and graduated. I had enough severance from my previous job plus student loans plus unemployment to survive for a year without work while going to school full time.

    After the money ran out I flopped from couch to couch to temp job to temp job. I was hired at the non-profit on a temp basis for a summer position. That position ended then they called me back for the job that I have now.

    So I can’t complain. I live in a studio, I have all these bills that accumulated and, of course the student loans. And I want to go to graduate school and I am no spring chicken. My job also puts me in contact with a lot of people so I am strengthening my skills and making as many contacts as I can, just in case…

  • Charles J. Mueller

    This is really rich. California Supreme Court Justices earn $209.521 annually.

    The taxpayers pay their salary.

    Many of those taxpayers are gay.

    So, while some of you guys are out of work and would be more than willing to pack bags at a supermarket or schlep latté at Starbucks for peanuts per hour, these guys are debating whether or not you should have basic civil-rights.

    Is this a great country or what.

    Oh…just in case y’all are wondering?

    Obama pulls down $400K per year. That’s almost half a mil.

    That doesn’t include all the perks like living rent free in the white House, limo service, his own jet plane…

    Never mind. I’m getting angry again.

  • Al

    I still have my job, but that’s because I decided to go into business for myself when I was laid off in 2006. I was a marketing communications manager for a book publisher and they laid off the entire marketing group because we “didn’t have the skill set they needed.” I was fortunate that I could start a PR business for book authors largely by reaching out to the people I represented while at the publisher. I was making about $60K when I was let go, and now I work less but get paid more and am covered for health insurance through my partner. Many of the people I know have decided to try to make money as a freelancer because there are so few marketing/PR jobs out there and we are typically the last ones hired and the first ones fired. I also went back to school to get a master’s degree in sociology and now I am an adjunct professor at my alma mater, which helps make ends meet as well.

  • BrianPrince

    I have worked in healthcare for the last seven years. In my most recent position (4 years), I worked as a rehab aide in the therapy department of a nursing home – but was nursing staff. I requested time off for surgery during the survey window and was fired for “violating company policy.” I haven’t found another job yet – so to stay functional I do pro bono work at a poverty law office (I’m graduating with a paralegal degree this month). I’ve got an interview with AmeriCorps… it looks like it’s my best bet with the economy on a slippery slope.

  • michael

    i was let go at my marriott hotel job , i was a supervisor they cut the position managers work harder < underlings even harder still . was already busy cant imagine those left damn them greedy whales business was ok they just want to jump on bandwagon & cut where they can & put fear of (god ) in others to work harder for less

  • Your Friendly Neighborhood Drug Dealer

    I’m employed in selling pharmaceuticals…the legal ones, sheesh! My company showed a profit this year. But then, they don’t piss away cash on $36,000 commodes and $9,000 shower curtains or private jets for their execs. We’re actually getting a tiny, tiny bonus. (One of my fellow office cube-farmer’s was 36 cents after taxes, but *hey* it was something.)

    The pharma/health care industry is always hiring, BTW.

  • Ricky

    I wonder when the suicides will increase enough to make the news.

  • todd

    I am a school librarian, and my job was eliminated at the public school. After two years, I finally landed another job in a private school for half the money. My partner is in Automotive Finance and his job is less than secure. Everyday the threat is there that one or both of us will lose our jobs. Almost 40, I still have 40,000 in student loan debt. Sticking my head in the oven always appears to be a viable alternative to schlepping through one more day of uncertainty.

  • vernonvanderbilt

    @Ricky: They likely won’t make the news, at least not the mainstream news. Mainstream media is owned by some of the people who are causing the problems in the first place. I’ll make a conscious attempt at avoiding elaborating on my ideas about class, as I’m sure most people would not like hearing them and I’d likely get myself in some trouble.

  • vernonvanderbilt

    @todd: Just remember that that’s exactly what they want. You off yourself, the bad guys win.

  • gkruz

    Those of you who think or hope that the economy will eventually right itself and things will return to normal are deluding yourselves. This depression (and that’s what it is) has just started. Things will never be the same again. Poverty and debt peonage are going to be the lot for most of us, while the same small minority of ultra-wealthy predators rob us of the little we have left. Face the facts, this economy collapsed not due to some mysterious, incomprehensible market influence like Adam Smith’s invisible hand, but to the deliberate actions of the people who already had more than enough but wanted even more. It was a looting of a scale unprecedented in history. And don’t expect President Obamafraud to rescue you. If you haven’t figured it out yet, he’s there to rescue the capitalist system, not you. There is only one alternative to this outrage, and it isn’t pretty or chic and it’s more important than gay marriage and repealing DOMA and DADT. It’s called revolution and we need one know.

  • Lex

    I’m a temp worker in Florida, doing manual factory labor. I don’t even know how much a year I pull in, but it’s low; I’m making barely above minimum wage. I’ve worked with the same temp agency for over two years now, and they’ve been shuffling me around from place to place for a while now. It’s not their fault…when a company feels the pinch, temp workers are the first to go. At my current factory, this is the fourth time (!) I’ve worked there in two years. Amazingly this factory isn’t doing too badly. Many other factories near us, like the one across the street, have closed down. But this one isn’t having mass lay-offs. I still think its just a matter of time though. And like I said, temp workers are always the first to go.

    It’s sad that I’ve been working there for so long, but only as a temp. The policy at this company is to hire on (or “let go”) a temp after six months of employment. There have been temps here that started work after me, and they are now full-time employees. I even trained some of them and now they are above me. And I’m still a temp. Every time they lay me off and bring me back, my time as a temp is reset and I have to start over on the six month goal.


    I currently have $2,500 in the bank, and I’ll be making 275-300 a week until I get the axe. I have no debt, but also no credit. I’m basically a blank slate at this point. After Winter ends I’ll be moving to Massachusetts to be with some old friends. The jobs are even scarcer there, the cost of living is higher than in Florida, I have no family there, I have no career or employment-related skills, and I am a high school dropout with a GED. But I don’t care how poor I become; I don’t want to be second-class anymore. Even if I become homeless. I’m just tired of Florida and the South. There is nothing for me here.

    Suicide isn’t an option. I was suicidal in high school (a gay guy in north/central Fl, yikes) but not anymore. I’d rather devote myself to some kind of non-profit and help others. Hopefully I find some good ones in Mass.

  • Hamburglar

    1) Yes, so far 2) assistant manager, fast food franchise (feel free to guess the chain) 3) pass 4) n/a 5) Somewhat worried… So far business is holding up ok, but if sales fall I’ll have to go back to hourly, which might not be worth the cost of the commute and I don’t think anything closer is hiring.

  • Hamburglar

    @Your Friendly Neighborhood Drug Dealer: Overall it may be, but in the last few months our local hospital shut down surgery and obstetrics completely and laid off a third of everyone else.

  • tavdy79

    1) I got the letter a week ago.
    2) Case Administrator for the UK’s National Probation Service.
    3) £21K ($30K).
    4) There are a few employment agencies I’m in contact with, plus there’s the local papers and internet.

    I’m in a particularly tough situation – I didn’t lose my job because of the recession, but because I have a disability, Asperger Syndrome. Under British law, employers have to make “reasonable adjustments” for employees’ disabilities, which was not a problem – until the government cut funding, and my employer decided to get rid of one of the adjustments. There was some unpleasantness, and they forced me into a position where they could initiate disciplinary proceedings and sack me. Rather obviously, I’m going to sue their butts off – assuming I can claim legal aid to do so (I don’t yet know of any reason why I shouldn’t be able to). However it does mean that getting a job will be tough – I have no references as my last job was the first following a long period of unemployment, and I have no way of contacting my former manager – who was made redundant prior to the “nastiness” and could give me a reference. Also, my reason for losing my last job will be a massive turn-off for any potential employers, and the unemployment rate for Aspies is over 90% at the best of times. It would be an understatement to say that I am not optimistic.

  • Mark M

    ok.. so who here as some community organizing experience? I remember in the 80 (yes, I am an old fucker), when AIDS was hitting hard, we formed neighborhood groups that pooled labor, meds, walked people’s dogs, ANYTHING…. how do we get into this mode of pulling ourselves together to help each other?

  • BrianZ

    1) Yes, still employed at the same salary although my bonus and annual salary increase was deferred until June 2) The industry is manufacturing – animal pharma and job title is Lead Network & Systems Administrator 3) Not enough :) 4) I’m always searching for the next position. In my career field promotions generally are obtained by changing employers anyway. 5) I would not yet put myself in the worried category. I am not blind to the recession but here in southern Texas it really isn’t of the magnitude (yet?) seen in other areas of the country.

    Best of luck to all of you who are looking for work and trying to hold on to your current jobs.

  • Tim W.

    I lost my job the day before Thanksgiving. I worked for the same mid-sized manufacturing company for 20 years, ending my career at the Director’s level with a $70K annual salary. At that time, the company laid off 29% of their total staffing, most with 10 years+ seniority (at least one guy with 40 years service). Former colleagues tell me the company is preparing to idle another 15-18% of their employees.

    I have a bachelor’s degree and heaping gobs of experience, but I can barely get an interview, even for jobs making half of what I was earning previously. My savings have dwindled away and I have only 13 weeks of unemployment remaining. After that? I’ll be the one holding the cardboard sign.

  • Buddy

    Still employed, I guess. I’m a software developer for banks in Canada, and I work contract for several of them. Last year was awful for me – family tragedies took me mentally offline for months and by the time I was back in focus, the market had tanked and work is drying up.

    Remind me of the last time I took a break for a few months and came back just in time to send out my resumes on September 10th, 2001.

  • tavdy79

    @Tim W.: Ouch, just 6 months? After that length of time in the UK you get sent on a series of mandatory training courses.

  • sal

    @Boston Boy: wow,great piece….smart advice…i hope u get a good job soon :)

  • sal

    @Lex: i really hope the move will bring a needed positive move up for u

  • sal

    @Mark M: good thought

  • sal

    @Tim W.: i really hope something comes up for u :)

  • Richard

    Craigsauer’s story (r6) is very similar to mine…

    1) My position was eliminated due to “company restructuring” 6 months ago. 2) It was the only position eliminated. 3) I made close to $100K/year. 4) I was also pissed off and hated my job, and almost quit a few times. But I held on because there was nothing else out there, and if I was fired or laid off, I would receive a severance package (worked for the company close to 6 years). I did receive a package, and filed a complaint with the government, citing I was illegally terminated. We both agreed to mediation and I received a bigger package.

    It’s scary out there, have only have 5 interviews since my “lay-off”, but am less stressed, have lost some weight (which is a good thing) and actually feel good about things. Like I said, I hated going into work, and think the company is being run by a bunch of morons (I felt that way years ago), so I have to look at this as a positive thing. I doubt I’ll get anywhere near the amount of money I was getting previously, but I think that will do me a world of good, as I was living well beyond my means.

    In the end, this may be exactly what I needed, to change career paths and do something that I actually love to do. I just have to find that.

  • Brianna

    I’ve never had a job. I’m about to graduate high school and enter the working world. As of late I’ve been hearing a lot of negativity.
    “Good luck, but you’re fucked”-kinda sentiments.
    Does anyone have words of encouragement? Is there a silver lining?

  • Rowen

    I have a B.A. in art history, and was working, fitting pointe shoes for a big name dancewear company, mainly because I got insurance with them and needed knee surgery. I got laid off in December, mainly because I had a run in with a supervisor. She overstocked the store, then understocked the main staple items, then bitched cause we weren’t making sales goal. She lied about me, I yelled at her, she told HR I threatened her, I got her written up, she got me fired. Since I had only been making 9 dollars an hour, my unemployment wasn’t even worth calling in for. I temped, sorta, for a few weeks, and then got a job canvassing/fundraising for Human Right Campaign. The pay is better, actually, and I have a few interviews later this week for some other day jobs. I hope to be able to get back into acting soon.

  • Your Friendly Neighborhood Drug Dealer

    @ No. 37 · Hamburglar,

    I heard about certain departments getting shut down in Hospital and I’m sorry yours lost a huge chunk of staff. It sounds like they’re working with a skeleton crew. I’m in Pharmaceuticals. The drug pushers always make money.

    p.s. The url attached is to a job site that my employer posts jobs on. I wanted to give my Queer Brethren (or Sistren) a shot at gainful employment.

  • Your Friendly Neighborhood Drug Dealer

    @ Rowen,

    Go to nursing school. If you or your parents can’t afford it there’s still a chance you can get grants, scholarships, or financial aid. I’m about to enroll. As someone else previously posted, you lose your job as a nurse, someone somewhere will be desperate for you. There is a wide variety of work environments: if you don’t want to work in a Doctor’s Offices, there’s Hospitals, Hospice, Home Health, Rehab, Schools etc…

  • Rowen

    @Your Friendly Neighborhood Drug Dealer: Hrm. I used to work as a PT/OT Psych Tech.

    I have about 25k in student loans as it is, which makes me kinda freak out about the idea of taking more for other types of schools.

  • Chevy


    Right on, Man! You are so right! America will never be the same. We are changing and not for the better. History will show that the 20th century–probably from about 1945-1970 or so, was America’s best time. I see the future of America as that of a third world country–overpopulated, most people poor, working for low wages, a wealthy upper class protected, literally and figuratively, from the hoi-polloi. I’m old now and don’t have long for this world. In my time, I was a college English professor (retired 2002) and worked for a college with a strong union. Always had job security and excellent benefit package–health and retirement incentive. That won’t happen again. Colleges are staffed more and more with part-time people who work for low wages and get no health or retirement benefits.

    I go back to the 60s. I’ve always said to my friends, “Call me when the Revolution begins” because we need a lot more change in this country than Obama and stimulus packages for people who should be in prison rather than being financially rewarded.

  • Hamburglar

    …and apparently all it took was “saying it out loud” to spoil it: I’m officially demoted as of today.

  • sioraiocht

    I am a doctoral student in computer science and am on a fixed income. I have actually felt better off recently because prices for EVERYTHING seem to have dropped. The only sad thing is that our department, and most of the sciences, are expected to have a 40% cut in our budgets due to research council cutbacks and a decrease in government grants.

    I won’t submit my thesis until 2011 at the earliest. I am hoping that people will be re-hiring, by then.

  • Andrew

    I am graduating in June with a BA in History & International Studies from a top-ranked university. I will graduate with 30K in student loans and 4k in credit card debt. I never thought I would be 23 and potentially dependent on my parents – a public school teacher, ready to retire and an attorney who has only recently found work in bankruptcies. It took me 3 months to find an unpaid internship with a political affairs firm in my state’s capital. I spent another 6 months looking for a paid part-time internship in public affairs work, which I finally found in January. Over 100 people applied for two part-time internship positions, most of whom were college graduates. I was chosen along with a UCLA grad with a 3.9 heading to a top-5 law school next fall. I really lucked out. Our firm is expanding, so it seems that there may be hope yet for when I graduate. Thank god politics are recession-proof. Who knows what I’ll do otherwise.

  • John from England(used to be just John but there are other John's)


    Yes there is. Stay positive, you can only be disapointed if you expect something that you never should have.

    Just be smart about your career path. Things will pick up again in a few years but only if people use this time to get smart about the economy and concept of globalization or free market ideology.

  • buster

    It’s been almost 8 months, so I can relate to NickII.

    I was making over 100k and now I had to cut back on everything. I don’t go to the movies, I’ve frozen my gym membership, I’ve canceled all my subscriptions, I schedule my appointments and errands so I can walk to where I need to go, I don’t eat out, I’m down to 2 meals and day (and lost about 12 lbs–NOT good) I don’t go out, period. Luckily, I’m debt free, but my severance is gone and I don’t qualify for unemployment, so my priorities have been food, rent and health insurance.

    I’m not expecting the stimulus package to improve the economy quickly because recessions take years to cycle. So, I’ve rented my parking space and plan to rent out my spare room. For the last month, I’ve been attending job search seminars and they’ve been helpful for keeping me focused and sane. A career change might be around the corner.

    Most of my friends are supportive, but if I hear one more guy complain about his vacation in Miami ending too soon… Anyway, back to the job search.

  • drresol

    I work as a title abstractor/IT guy in the oil & gas biz; so far we’re holding pretty steady. *knock on wood* One of our competitors, though, just let 27 people go. I make about 40K, which in eastern TN (given adjustments for regional cost-of-living) is okay. None of us are sure what will happen, though. The cut-backs on spending aren’t just from people who have lost there job….it’s also from those of us who still have one, but are squirreling away every spare dime to prepare for the worst.

  • Mark M

    @Your Friendly Neighborhood Drug Dealer: Nursing school: I know it isn’t making the press yet, but this train has left the station. While we are still in very strong need of nurse specialists with advanced (masters level) degrees.. the typical 2-year nurses are (believe it or not!) getting turned away. I would suggest either spending a lot less on a nurses aide degree or a lot more on a physician extender’s degree.

  • Y.F.N.D.D.

    @ No. 53 · Rowen,

    Sorry, that was actually aimed at Brianna the future high school grad. If you’re and under-grad picking out a college program, nursing and pharmacy will be a career that is always in demand. But hey, as I mentioned before, the pill peddlers are hiring and if you have a college degree you could get a job if is in something related…if you can slant your resume/interview in the right direction. I’d like to think I helped the Brotherhood/Sisterhood out. My company offers great benefits: education assistance, health club reimbursement, great medical insurance, and domestic partner benefits.

  • Webster

    I’ve been unemployed for almost four years. No health care (of course) and the industry I was once a respected member of has imploded–firing hundreds of people. On top of that, I’m at an age where all of these younger now-unemployed people are competitors for whatever positions do come open. I’ve had interviews all over the country–and the positions invariably go to younger, less-experienced candidates (though I would be happy to take any position offered me at any salary).

    These past few years have been hell. My partner has a job that pays slightly over minimum wage–and to survive, I had to pull what I had in my retirement funds. Fortunately, the stock market was at 13.000+ when I pulled, but now the IRS wants to take a huge chunk out of what I pulled–all we have to survive on for the rest of our lives, I’m afraid.

    I truly have no idea how much longer I can go on with all this worry, fear, and depression. I work as a volunteer in an organization tangentially related to the work I used to do (just to keep my hand in)–and they slip me whatever they are able to afford when they can. But this life is pure hell–and daily, daily, hope diminishes. I’m down to one meal a day–we keep the heat at 50 degrees and bundle up–we’ve moved to a bad (but cheap) neighborhood–we live primarily on pasta and cheap, canned soup.

    This is not how my partner and I wanted to live out our lives. And we are in despair.

  • Anthony in Nashville


    I know what you mean about people complaining about their vacations. I hear it enough to wonder if people are really struggling as bad as they claim. For example, my sister and husband claim money is tight but they just bought $2000 in furniture and are debating between Miami/Barbados/Jamaica for their next vacation.

    I spent 2 days in Atlanta last year for my first out-of-town trip in years.

    A couple of days ago, I was eating with some associates when someone began complaining about their financial situation. When he realized some of us make less than $30K, he was like “I guess I should not complain.”

    Suffering is relative, I guess. Some people are living check to check, others think their world is collapsing if they can’t afford $300 jeans.

  • Tim W.

    @tavdy79: I’d be happy with getting sent for training. At least that would feel like some kind of forward movement, not the unemployment limbo into which I currently find myself. Good luck with your situation as well.

  • Tim W.

    @sal: Thanks for the positive thought! Every day I tell myself to just keep plugging away.

  • Phoenix (Secret Agent Man: The International Gay/Zionist Conspiracy)

    Well, when I’m not plotting the conquest and enslavement of Heterosexualist Christians from my mom’s basement, I work in a call center for a collections agency. They’re the only people hiring where I live.

    FYI: For all those out there who blame poor minorities for the real-estate/mortgage melt down, lots of the people who are in foreclosure had a serious illness which put them in a financial hole. Plenty paid for health insurance which suddenly decided what ever they had was “a pre-existing condition” and wasn’t covered. So a bunch of people wound up being unable to work and in debt up to their earlobes. But socialized medicine is communism and wrong!

  • gkruz

    Thank you, Chevy! I’m glad someone is listening. I go back to the 60s as well, although I was just a kid then. I grew up witnessing all the social turmoil if that period, but like most working class suburban kids, my family seemed to have it pretty good. Once I got to high school in the 70s, I watched everything begin to unravel and realized that the American Dream was fading, but I never expected it to end up like this so fast. In fact, it was my own declining fortunes in the economy (like a lot of people here I once made decent money, long ago and far away) that really radicalized me, as I have always been averse to ideology of any stripe. But there is no sense in hiding from the cold hard fact that we’ve all been raped by capitalism once again, and not for the last time, but probably for the last time that we can do something about it. I’m not trying to be clever or cute, everyone who has posted here or has read these posts and is scared of what the future brings needs to face the reality that we aren’t going back to the old system, and shouldn’t even if we could. We need a revolution in every sense of the word right now. I’ve had enough, how about you?

  • Cee

    I still have my job, but it is in jeopardy. I live in California in a field directly related to real estate. Needless to say, it is extremely slow right now. I also managed a Military account, which was pulled from every branch nationwide and centralized at our corporate office. The other account managers have either been laid off or relocated to another department. There is no other department at my branch to send me to. I was warned a couple weeks ago by a friend at corporate that I am on the chopping block. I am supposed to train someone at corporate tomorrow on the phone to do part of my job. I actually confronted my boss prior about what I had been told without throwing my corporate contact under the bus and he said he did not know what was going to happen with my job. I think he knows full well what is going to happen. I’ve already started looking for a new job and it doesn’t look good, but I’m ready. I packed my desk up last week. I don’t want people to watch me with their sad faces as I pack up, asking me what happened, etc. There will be no tears. No long goodbyes. Just quick hugs, and my departure. I have about 10 positive letters from clients ready to go and take with me on interviews. I may even ask my boss to write a letter of recommendation. I’m going to need all the help I can get to land a new job. The market is really bad right now. That’s my story. Wish me luck! And the same to everyone else who has already been laid off, or in my situation.

  • Andy in CA

    As bad as it is, I really feel that this was the best thing possible for my generation’s (Gen-Y / millenials) financial future. Growing up in the late 90’s and currently about to graduate, it was sickeningly normal for me to spend $250 on a pair of jeans that wouldn’t last me the year. I’ve worked since I was 15, but that was only so I could blow my money on trips abroad, expensive cocktails, and designer threads. I haven’t even a scrap of a savings account. TV Shows like Laguna Beach highlighting teens in similar positions spending $600 on a pair of designer sun glasses, is an example of how our generation grew up EXPECTING to be wealthy. Granted, a lot of us have to tools to do it (educational opportunities, family assets, what was a good economy), few anticipated that it would include hard work. Have I thrown away my aspirations of private school for the kiddies and two homes in high-end markets? No, but I am just now learning how much of an up-hill challenge that will be. I’ve started a savings account and paying down debt.

  • pseudonymous

    My husband is a consultant for technology companies, which means that his employment is spotty for months at a time. He was just offered a lengthy project at a local company, which is great — except that the company has a reputation for treating its employees really poorly.

    He’ll probably take the shitty job in spite of the company’s reputation. As stressful as the job will be, it still won’t be as stressful as having to live off of savings at a time when we need to be squirreling more away.

  • J. Clarence

    I still have my job, and I started here just before the economy collapse late last year. Was offered the job in October and started the second week of November. I’m in the education sector, working in Higher Education has a Resident Director at a college. My salary is 24k – 30k range but the position provides an apartment, or sorts, and a meal-plan on campus so it saves me a lot. My next venture after this is graduate school to receive my Masters in Higher Education so that I could get a higher position in the same field. I’m not too concerned about losing my job currently, at least for the upcoming year. Which is good, because I am fortunate enough to weather out the storm for a while, if it ends in 2010 that is.

  • RLS

    I still have a job. For now. My company just went through a round of layoffs today, which would make the 4th boss I’ve had fired in a year of working at my agency because the higher-ups just can’t seem to hire people competent enough to deal with the crazy client. It sucks, and on top of all that, I have to pull double duty working for two clients because the agency is too cheap to hire more junior-level people. I’m about 15 months out of college and have been at my job for about a year, and I’m bored to tears because I’m ready to move up, but the timing just sucks. I’m just wondering how long the company can continue to take advantage of me, pay me $32k in NYC, and not promote me. On top of all this, I’m pursuing a side career in online journalism and TV-hosting and I feel pulled in a million different directions even though things are going well with the freelancing. I’ve figured out that I want to build a career in writing and public speaking because, to be honest, the prospect of spending the next 25 years of my life in somebody’s cube or office terrifies me. I’m a talented writer and orator with an interesting life story, and I’ve just started looking at grad school for 2010 admission. Call me naive, but there’s got to be more to life than this.

  • Hamburglar

    @RLS: If your boss keeps getting laid off every couple of months, you definitely *don’t* want a promotion. At least not until you have somewhere to go when in a few more months it comes your turn.

  • james ii

    @Charles J. Mueller:

    Obama only gets 400K a year? to carry all the problems of the nation (and, pretty much the free world) on his shoulders? I’d say he (and anyone who is in that position) is underpaid. Shit, it’s not like he was just given the damned job.

  • Charles J. Mueller

    @james ii:

    That does not include all the “Perks”

    Take note of some of our past Presidents net worth before and after they left the Oval Office and the benefits they continue to collect for the remainder of their lives.


    @Charles J. Mueller: “Perks” like Secret Service protection, which must be an awful intrusion and which they wouldn’t need had they not been President?

    I’ll keep my job, thanks, where no matter what I do it won’t cause any major disaster and where I’m not working 24 hours a day year round even on vacation.

  • June

    I was working for the government ($3,040/mo.) until I moved from Olympia, WA to Buffalo, NY last year. After several months of unemployment, I found a job at HSBC ($1,536/mo.) until I was laid off Xmas Eve. Yesterday, I started my new job doing outbound calls for the MDA ($1,100/mo.). I was unable to collect unemployment during my 3-month gaps in employment.

    I have a bachelor’s degree in journalism. I’ve never had a job at a newspaper after college because the newspapers are all collapsing. Right now I’m a Jill-of-all-trades, doing what I can for money. I’ve actually considered everything from freelancing to trade school to stripping to pay the bills and keep food on the table–for myself and my friends who are now homeless from their job losses.

    We “joke” that the silver lining is that maybe our grandparents will stop telling us stories about how bad the Great Depression was, once I tell them I’ve been in a bread line myself. Say brother, can you spare a food stamp?

  • John

    I also worked at Nielsen and was let go so they could hire a bunch of underqualified Indian contractors at a lower price. I watched for over a year while they brought in these contractors who had no idea what they were doing, but management was okay with that because they didn’t have to pay benefits, and they could pay these people dirt and get away with it. I watched some of the departments move from 80% US employees and 20% Indian contractors to almost the opposite ratio. And Mitchell Habib has been in bed with Tata for years, but since both companies are private, they didn’t have to disclose all of the financial relationships that Habib had with TaTa. By far this was the most unethical place that I have ever worked. I was promoted and sent to a week of training to replace someone else who was let go, only to receive the same news a month later. Lucky for me, I found a job that pays nearly 40% more than what I was making there, so I at least got the last laugh, and got to collect severance from them while I was making money at my new and much better job. I would never recommend this company to anyone with a brain or a soul. If it was the only job offer that you got, I would suggest looking into unemployment and maybe get a job picking up trash – you would have much more job satisfaction.

  • PC

    I work for a massachusetts company that pays us a base rate plus a bonus of 2 to 12% based on calls per hour. My employer will take our bonus away for the pay period if we are out for any reason without time to cover it. Is it legal for a company to take a bonus away after you have already earned it?

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