Job search struggles take emotional toll

September 17, 2010 6:57:12 PM PDT
More Californians found themselves out of work on Friday. The state's jobless rate increased to 12.4 percent last month, up from 12.3 percent in July. California employers shed another 33,000 jobs in August.

Bob Fowler's full-time job is trying to find a job. He worked for six years as a shipping associate for a medical company in San Jose. The layoff notices went out in July of 2008.

"You go out bang on door every day, you're knocking at people's door, you're calling people, and you still don't get a job," says Fowler.

Bob's now living off his retirement savings caring for his dependent brother. He's one of nearly one million Californians that have been out of work for longer than six months.

"We're not going to McDonalds, we're not going out to eat dinner and stuff like that. You're staying home and instead of three meals, you're having two meals," says Fowler.

Anyone looking for work will tell you as the months wear on, the stress is not just financial, there's a huge emotional toll.

Lourdes Reyes worked for the school district for 21 years as a special education teacher. This is the first time as an adult she has ever been unemployed.

"It hurts and I've been angry. I've been through that emotional ride," says Reyes.

The fight to find work brings 720 new clients every month to the Connect job center in Sunnyvale. Kristen Jacobsen found out Friday her unemployment benefits won't be extended.

"Emotionally, it kind of does remove the floor out from underneath you," says Jacobsen.

This is a place where tears and determination share the same room. Fowler is at one computer; veteran high tech engineer Michael Hsieh, Ph.D., is at another.

"I have never imagined there would be one day for me to be sitting on unemployment benefit roll," says Hsieh.

The recession has created an unsettling reality -- no one is in this alone.

"The most important thing is just to keep at it and see if something good can happen," says Fowler.


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