Your Recession: Laid Off Then Asked Back

We asked you to send us stories of how you’re coping with the recession. Here’s the first of what will be a new series focusing on you guys.
Ellen* worked in California as a marketer for a major publisher. In November, she was told she’d lose her job in January. Yet when January came and went, she was still waiting for the axe to fall.
Ellen had been underemployed the past year, and before that had dipped into her 401(k) to go to school to study graphic design. “I did not think there was going to be another publishing job for me,” Ellen says, but she was hoping to stay with her current company at least long enough to rebuild her 401(k).
Instead, two weeks after the January deadline, she was laid off.
“It could not have come at a worse time…My child is off to college next year,” she says, and because she had to raid her 401(k), “now I have no savings and a big tax bill…Unemployment does not make a dent in the cost of living.”
Two weeks after being laid off, her employer asked her to come back part time, which Ellen says she’s grateful for. But, she says, it’s only a matter of time before the money runs out, so she’s looking for a job. She’s looking outside of publishing (“The field is just too unstable”) but hasn’t found anything yet.”I have put in at least 30 resumes with no response to date…it’s hard not to get depressed.
“I do bite my nails and get jittery at night. I check the cabinets to see how much canned food I have.”
It’s not the first time Ellen has been in this situation—she was laid off after the dot-com bust—but had money saved to back her up that time. This time, there’s no safety net. “I feel like I am living on the edge this time,” she says.
*Name changed at employee’s request.
Send us your stories of your recession.