The Seattle Times
March 2, 2009
TEMPE, Ariz. â€” Mark Cooper started his workday recently cleaning the door handles of an office building with a rag, vigorously shaking out a rug at a back entrance and pushing a dust mop down a long hallway.
[efoods]Nine months ago he lost his job as the security manager for the Western United States for a Fortune 500 company, overseeing a budget of $1.2 million and earning about $70,000 a year. Now he is grateful for the $12 an hour he makes in what is known in unemployment circles as a “survival job” at a friend’s janitorial-services company. But that does not make the work any easier.
“You’re fighting despair, discouragement, depression every day,” he said.
Cooper is not counted in traditional unemployment statistics since he works five days a week, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. But his tumble down the economic ladder is among the more disquieting and often hidden aspects of the downturn.
It is not clear how many professionals such as Cooper have taken on these types of lower-paying jobs, which are themselves in short supply. Many professionals are doing their best to hold out as long as possible on unemployment benefits and savings while looking for work in their fields.