With three job seekers for every opening, the unemployed are taking any position they can find. Even if it means a huge pay cut. Here's how people are coping.
Old Job: Media relations, $55,000
New Job: Part-timer at Lucky Jeans, $10.25/hour
Hardest thing to give up: Not thinking about the details, like if it is worth the gas to drive somewhere.
"I was laid off in March of 2008. I was making $55,000 a year as a media-relations manager at Pace Global Energy Services. The company reorganized, and now I work part time at Lucky Brand Jeans in the mall making $10.25 an hour.
I applied online to more than 400 positions. I applied to everything and anything, and I'm still looking. I started working part time at Lucky right after Thanksgiving.
I've had to budget everything from food to when I go to the dry cleaners - if I even go to the dry cleaners. It's all those little things that you take for granted that you notice now.
Even the definition of 'splurge' has taken on new meaning for me. Before, splurging could mean a shopping trip at Saks or a weekend trip, but now it could be a cup of coffee or a full meal out.
In 2009 all I am looking for is stability in my career and my life. Just a solid income, health benefits and to not think so much about the unknown." - as told to Larissa Padden
NEXT: Michael Antidormi - 78% pay cut