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A veteran navigates life amid job loss and high inflation

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Job seekers look through listings at a career fair

"You literally go through the five stages of grief" after being laid off, said Collin Cook, who's had trouble finding the right job as a generalist in the marketing field. David McNew/Getty Images

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My Economy” tells the story of the new economic normal through the eyes of people trying to make it, because we know the only numbers that really matter are the ones in your economy.

Collin Cook is a military veteran from Dallas. He served in the Army National Guard for eight years and has held civilian positions that ranged from digital marketing and brand work to photography and graphic design. This year, though, he was laid off from the job he had held for four years.

“To have my position eliminated was very much a surprise,” Cook said. “Your heart sinks down to your stomach, and you don’t know how to feel and you kind of shut down. You literally go through the five stages of grief.”

With his varied professional past, Cook has been pitching himself as a “Swiss Army knife,” he said, but found that employers aren’t looking for marketing generalists — they want marketing specialists.

With other employers he’s talked to, it’s not so much a mismatch of skills as a mismatch of benefits.

“I actually turned down a recent job offer because they offered me less than what I was making before,” Cook said. “It was a great opportunity and I’d be leading a team. However, I couldn’t make that commitment. Yes, I needed a job, but there’s got to be something out there that’s more comparable or even more paid.”

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