You hear the numbers everyday: unemployment hovers over ten percent. Millions of Americans are out of work. We all get the scope and the magnitude of the situation, but we need to understand the impact on the individual. In the twenty-first century, what does it mean to be unemployed for over a year? What does it take to walk away from a job in this economy? How do you survive the crushing competition or navigate complicated procedures?
The Brian Lehrer Show is very pleased to introduce five job seekers who will help us explore the job market in this tough economy. These five have pledged to share with all of us the good and the bad moments on their journey to a new job. Their introductions are below. Their stories, as well as discussions, advice and helpful links, will remain on a new page in Facebook dedicated to this project. It's called Help Wanted. You can follow along and respond to the authors there.
Meet Naomi, Alyson, Maryli, Ginger and Jim
Commercial, landlord/tenant, and matrimonial litigation
I was born in Wisconsin and grew up in Vancouver, Canada. My parents, refugees from Germany and Poland, had first landed in New York and attended college here. I moved to the city on my own when I was nineteen, but spent long stints away before I settled down and became an attorney. I worked for an American exhibit traveling in the former Soviet Union (Moscow, Tashkent, Irkutsk, and Tbilisi), as a Russian-speaking resettlement counselor in Boston, and for the U.S. State Department program that admitted refugees from the USSR. My most recent position was as recoupment counsel for Fidelity National Title Group, a fortune 500 company. The carrier issues policies on property titles when there is a sale, so we were very hard hit by the recession. In January, 2009, the company announced that it was closing its claims offices in midtown Manhattan, Buffalo, Chicago, and New Jersey. I was laid off along with almost all the other counsel in those offices. Prior to Fidelity, I practiced motor vehicle accident litigation, mainly writing and arguing motions and appeals.
One good thing that has come out of my layoff is that I have been able to spend more time with my three daughters. Also, I have had the opportunity to work as a volunteer attorney for the city and the state. I did research and writing in the chambers of a Manhattan Supreme Court judge who handles international commercial litigation, represented low-income New Yorkers in court, sat as a volunteer arbitrator in small claims court, and did research for a city agency. Even though I don't have a paying job, on good days, I still get a thrill out of being at the heart of life in New York.
I am a 25 year old assistant fashion designer for a vendor in New York City. Disappointed with my employment, I am currently seeking a new job or possibly a new career. When I lived in Ohio, I had very high aspirations to move to New York City and work for major designer labels. When I was laid off from a large corporate brand in Ohio, it pushed me to move to the city earlier than I had planned. Employment opportunities in the fashion industry were already sluggish when I graduated college in 2007. Determined to remain in the fashion industry, I have worked for two less than satisfactory companies.
I started actively seeking employment five months ago and have not yet received one reply or interview. Quitting is not an option in this economy, so I remain employed. In the past year, I have attended resume and portfolio