Dave Menter

A director of training for Häagen Dazs, Menter was laid off right after he and his wife committed to a complete home remodel.

Lisa Newell

Was a recruiter for 15.5 years at Ameriprise before she was laid off in October, part of a series of layoffs at the financial services company.

Suzanne Winzenburg

A nurse, Winzenburg was laid off before she'd even completed orientation at United Hospital.

Todd Bol

He was fired from the company he started and ran.

Vickie Swanson

She was an assistant at Regis for five years before it had its first ever layoff in October.

Photos by Glen Stubbe

Out of Work

Vickie Swanson: Fearful and embarrassed five months into her layoff

The biggest thing I deal with right now is the uncertainty of when I will get a job.

It has been 5 months since I was laid off; this is hard to say but I've only had one interview so far.

And things seem to be getting worse with fewer openings and more unemployed people vying for the few jobs that are out there. I never thought it would be this hard to find a job.

Your emotions are a roller coaster; there is the constant self-doubt and ongoing fear. I am aware that my lay-off was something that I could not control, but I feel embarrassed. I wonder if people perceive me as weak because I have yet to find a job.

On a positive note, with all this time on my hands I have decided to refresh my Microsoft Office skills; I will be taking a few courses this next month to stay current.


Minnesota companies are laying off hundreds of employees at a time.
And those workers are entering the worst job market in decades. The Star Tribune is following the fortunes of five recently laid off workers, from a nurse to a CEO. We've invited them to write about their experience of being out of work for the next several months. Please follow their lives as they look for work in these trying economic times.

More Diary Entries

Lisa Newell: Month 4

Staying out of the pity pool.

Suzanne Winzenburg: Hired!

The layoffs just don't seem to have an end. There are and will continue to be a lot of hurting people in need of support. Losing a job is hard enough, but having an economy that can't support finding another one is devastating.

Vickie Swanson: A new networking group with a lot of new people

In an increasingly difficult job market I have come to realize more and more that if I am going to get a job I am going to have to think outside the box and most importantly keep a positive attitude.

Lisa Newell: News keeps getting worse on job front

The news just keeps getting worse on the job front. With Target announcing large layoffs yesterday, and Best Buy resorting to involuntary ones, prospects for a quick turnaround dim.


Minnesota unemployment through a human lens

Minnesota employers slashed jobs at an astonishing rate last year, scrambling to adjust to a worldwide recession that looks to be both deep and long.