Laid Off - Again
All across the area, unemployed individuals are showing up at career workshops, job fairs, and seminars. They're seeking work-but also new tools for finding work, and moral support. Gruner, a career coach since 1979, says he sees "a fear mentality now. . . . It can be a contagious thing. They solidify in the belief [that] this is how things are, and they can lose energy and focus" needed to get on a new path. "It's hard to hold that confidence," he says, when you've been out of work repeatedly.
At the SPARK job event, each job seeker answers with a resounding "No!" when asked if it gets easier to be laid off the second or third time.
"No, the situation is much more dire in the job market than back then," says Colleen Knipple, of Howell, an outgoing woman who worked as an IT support manager. "There were so many more opportunities three years ago"-when she was laid off by an auto manufacturer. She landed a job with an advertising company, only to be caught in a large layoff in January.
In the darkness of Mélange, Glen Erdman waits patiently to see a recruiter for a small tech company. He's lost three sales and marketing jobs in three years. The first was selling supplemental health insurance to seniors, the next working for a tool manufacturer that was downsizing. The last layoff was five months ago, from an insurance marketing job. "I really didn't see it coming," he says. "My employer told me I didn't have any passion," he adds indignantly. "The only way I lack passion is if I'm dead!"