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Dulcie Long: Laid off at 49
Accounting specialist, 49, Denver, Colo.

I had a great job at an oil and gas company -- good benefits, generous vacation, etc. On December 4, I was let go with no explanation (they don't have to give one -- Colorado is an at-will state), no severance, nothing.

I've only had one interview since then and there's just not much available right now. I borrowed $1,200 from my 401(k) plan to use as an emergency fund, but I assumed at the time that I'd be re-employed soon and able to make the payments. Months later, I still don't have many prospects.

I'm fortunate in that I have virtually no credit card debt and my vehicle is paid for, so unemployment does cover most of my day-to-day expenses. But I'm in bad shape with my student loan.

I don't have to drive much so gas prices haven't impacted much, and I hope to work downtown again so I can take the bus. But food has just gotten insanely expensive. Fresh fruit is especially pricey and meat has been mostly out of reach except as an occasional indulgence. Lots of grits and potatoes for me these days.

NEXT: Brooks Groves: Loonie days
Last updated November 15 2009: 6:21 AM ET
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