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Jon Mikres
Family: Single
Former job: IT specialist
Hometown: Woodbury, Minn.

I didn't expect to be laid off. Not at all. I graduated from college in 2006 and quickly landed my first job as an IT specialist in Woodbury, Minn. I knew the company wasn't doing as well as it had been, but I was still surprised.

The timing was awful; I had purchased a more expensive phone plan a few days prior, a new car one year ago and my first home a few months earlier.

The unemployment checks started the beginning of January, and I have to cut into my savings. I took no taxes out of the unemployment insurance benefits so I can get cash now. That means I won't have the nice tax return next year.

I'm making it work, but without my roommate paying rent I'd have defaulted on my mortgage. My savings could last me through summer, but after that I'll be cutting it close. With the salary at my last job, I couldn't save much after paying for bills and food.

I've cut back on everything. I eliminated going out for lunch and going out on the town on weekends. I go out about once every two months now. It's not the life I expected at 26.

Every day, I search for new job postings. I've had some interviews but nothing solid has come from them. It's tough. I have ups and downs. Some days I feel hopeless, but I know I have to be optimistic. --J.P.

NEXT: Jason Rohrick

Last updated June 15 2009: 10:12 AM ET
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