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Monday November 30, 2015
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Laid Off - Again



Smith is one of the hundreds of thousands of people downsized from the shrinking auto industry: she took a buyout from General Motors in 2005. She worked awhile for a smaller firm out of state before landing the advertising job, where she was expected to find new clients. After ten months, when the money and clients weren't coming, she was out the door again. Since 2007, she's had a "summer job" training auto dealers and, last holiday season, worked on a discount chain's overnight shift, stocking shelves. "You have to suck it up sometimes," she says. The late shift had at least one advantage: she was less likely to run into someone she knew.

She's applied to the University of Michigan many times, to Washtenaw County, and for several state jobs. But now, they, too, are laying people off. She's even visited family in Nevada for a few weeks to job hunt. Some jobs she applies for even though "my heart wouldn't be in it." Others she longs to have.

If anything good comes out of all this, it's that repeated unemployment has made her more resilient. "I know how to manage it emotionally," she says. She's avoiding the "twenty-pound trap-the last time I gained around twenty pounds." She sometimes still wears her red GM jacket.

"I have hope," she says. "I don't know why I have hope, but I do."

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