Laid Off Camp helps unemployed

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

Steve Chiotakis: Rachel Steinberg is among the newly unemployed. Since being laid-off from her public relations job, she's been learning, blogging,
and, most of all, coping. This week, Rachel attended a so-called "Laid Off Camp." That's where the jobless go to learn how to live cheap, market themselves, and figure out freelance options.
She's with us now from San Francisco. Rachel, what's your story?

Rachel Steinberg: You know the economy was starting to go bad. We all knew what was happening and January 16th, about 5:00, 5:30, I was called in to our conference room and I was one of the two that was unfortunately laid off.

Chiotakis: So what's the job search been like since that day?

Steinberg: It's been pretty difficult to be honest. You know, not a lot of companies are hiring and if they are, they're hiring for a few months down the line, when the economy could get better. But I've been picking up contract work, which has actually been the best thing.

Chiotakis: So how you doing financially? I mean, obviously you lose your job, your livelihood is gone, right?

Steinberg: Right. And you know, I've had some credit card debt and I have some student loans to pay. You know, I've been very honest with my credit card companies, with my student loans, really trying to make sure that I'm making payments on time if possible. And also trying to keep some kind of semblance of a life as well. You know, living in San Francisco it's a very expensive city, but, you know, it's possible to live here and still be unemployed. You just really have to be very aware of your budget.

Chiotakis: You attended a camp for the recently unemployed. There is such a place. What was that like?

Steinberg: You know it was a camp for people who were recently laid off, unemployed, freelancers, people looking to make network connections and it's actually going to be in a bunch of different cities.

You know, I attended the one in San Francisco. It was a full-day event. Part of it was a support group. Part of it was also just being able to get out of your apartment. You know, if you had an innovative idea it was about meeting other people that could help you. There were developers, there were engineers, there were a few lawyers, there were other marketing and public relations people. So it was really an opportunity to showcase your idea and then if somebody else could help you they were more than willing to say, 'Well, look, I know this person or have you thought of this?'

Chiotakis: What advice do you have for people who were disheartened by their recent layoff?

Steinberg: First of all, you're not alone. I know everybody say that, but there are a lot of us that are out there. And it's frustrating and it's sad and it's depressing, but that's not going to help you get your next job. And being honest with yourself about your skills and what you want to do next -- and then making that happen. We're in a tough point and there are jobs. And it might be making your own job, and it might be taking five or six jobs, but it's really about doing what you want to do now because you have the opportunity.

Chiotakis: Well Rachel Steinberg, thank you and good luck to you and your job search and we hope it turns out well.

Steinberg: Thank you very much.

Chiotakis: Incidentally, Rachel came to us by way of our Public Insight Network. It's a way for us to connect with people who are personally affected by a particular story or issue. There's more about the network inside our Trading Floor blog.

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