Living through the layoff and holiday
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Scott Jagow: As much anger is directed at Wall Street for the fallout of 2008, there are a lot of regular people who lost their jobs in the financial sector — more than 200,000 of them, in fact — and they had nothing to do with bad mortgages or Ponzi schemes. Jill Barshay talked to one of them as she prepared for the holidays.
Jill Barshay: Until a few weeks ago, Christine Elbert worked in a midtown Manhattan office tower. On any given morning, she was usually busy at work on marketing strategies for her boutique investment firm. These days, weekday mornings find her:
Christine Elbert: Getting my daughter breakfast and getting her out the door. I have a two month — or, excuse me, 2-year-old daughter by now. Time Flies.
Elbert was laid off as a senior vice president of marketing in late October. Not much need for marketing after the firm lost hundreds of millions in assets.
On a recent Wednesday, Elbert has already been up for hours, job hunting online. Her laptop sits open in the corner of the living room.
Elbert: I haven’t found any position that has everything that I’m looking for let’s say, but I’m out there looking.
Elbert’s small one-bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side also serves as headquarters for her husband’s travel business. It’s not doing well either. Elbert hopes she has enough money in the bank to get through the next 12 months.
Elbert: I feel fortunate at least, you know, that we did develop a savings cushion and we’re not going to be out of our home or anything that’s happening to a lot of the rest of people around the country. But still, its very stressful and challenging. And we want to be able to save up money for our daughter’s college and save up money for our retirement, not just drain down our savings right now.
For Christmas, Elbert is visiting her parents in Florida, as she does every year. But she misses the holiday camaraderie at the office.
Elbert: You’re laid off and escorted out of the building right away. So you don’t even have any way to get in touch with them, to wish them well or say goodbye. So that’s probably one of the hardest parts, particularly around this time of year, is just being able to keep in touch with, you know, people you built your lives with.
Now, Elbert is looking at a new life.
In New York, I’m Jill Barshay for Marketplace.
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