Computer support technician, 43, Beaverton, Ore.
I was laid off from the IT department of a large law firm in Portland, Ore., in December 2007 after working there seven years. The severance package I received lasted me three months. I was very thankful for it, as I have two children. Every month I pay $765 in rent, over $500 in child support and $500 on very old credit cards, which I have worked diligently to pay down. I receive no federal tax credit for my kids, even though I co-parent them. Losing individual health insurance has been the biggest impact of job loss. To save money, I'm going without it.Unemployment benefits are very helpful, but obviously that money is not enough to get by on. I am about to liquidate my profit-sharing plan in order to pay bills for another three to four months, as I continue to look for work in a very competitive job market. I am thankful that my last employer at least had a profit sharing plan and a 401(k), and that I left them alone for a rainy day.I feel lucky. The Portland, Ore., metro job market has not been hit quite as hard by the housing crisis as have other places and is showing some signs of picking up again. The unemployment system here, although not perfect, offers valuable resources that I am actively using, such as career resource centers and free access to networking groups. When I wake up every morning, my boys and I are healthy, and I know they are heading off to good schools. NEXT: Joseph Mathew: Job security fears