Unemployment diary: I'm a 31-year-old pharmaceutical recruiter in Florida who's been out of work since June

  • The Unemployed States of America takes readers deep inside the decimated American workforce.
  • Artie Dromerhauser is a 31-year-old pharmaceutical recruiter based in Kissimmee, Florida.
  • When his company transitioned to remote work in March, Dromerhauser at first felt his job was secure and was happy to be spending more time with his family during lockdown.
  • But at the end of June, he and several colleagues were suddenly laid off. Now, Dromerhauser is worried that soon he and his wife may have to dip into their savings to survive or turn to family members for support.  
  • This is his story, as told to freelance writer Nick Dauk.
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I worked for a staffing company as a pharmaceutical recruiter, helping my clients across the healthcare industry place candidates such as trail managers, educators, doctors, and other senior-/junior-level positions. I found my job rewarding: The feedback was instantaneous, allowing me to quickly improve my production, and the company was very accommodating to my home life, which includes three children under seven.

When COVID-19 forced my department to transition to remote working in March, I took it in stride.

I actually thought it was beneficial that I could work from home and spend more time with my family during lockdown. I wasn't worried about losing my job at first, my main concern was navigating new forms of communication with clients who were understandably stressing out over the pandemic. 

Our department was asked to increase production and we felt secure. Then all of a sudden, some of our recruiters were laid off, including a few that had a longer tenure than I did. I felt like I might be headed in that direction, too, so I focused on increasing my production. 

I was laid off on June 30 while still working remotely, just two days shy of reaching seven months with the company.

I've been searching for remote work ever since and am hopeful to start working again within the next few weeks. When we received the additional $600 unemployment benefits from the government, it was keeping us above water. Before we could take care of bills, but now it feels like the clock is ticking. 

I started saving prior to the pandemic and will likely have to dip into it. We're also considering drastic decisions, like moving or asking for financial assistance from family members. Thankfully, we haven't been confronted with that situation yet, but we're lucky enough to have family members willing to help us if we need it. I feel like if I don't get a job closer to the end of the year then we'll have to make those tough decisions. 

However, part of me was relieved when I was laid off, because now I don't have to worry about that possibility lurking behind me. I also think I might be ready to move into a different career field. My wife and I are considering a transition into the entertainment industry; she's pursuing acting while I'm looking into voice acting. 

I feel like now is the time to make that big change and jump into something scary. Everything is uncertain as is; why not take the plunge down another career path? With that being said, I know that I had success as a recruiter, so I feel like it's still a career worth looking into, but I also believe I have a future doing something else.

Until then, we're focusing on our children, trying to keep them as stable and stress-free as possible.

When something like this happens, you have to look at the bright side. I know that this struggle will be longer than I expected, but I truly believe that it will end up being for the best, despite all of the hardship that's come from it.

Freelance writer Nick Dauk and the subject of this story were coworkers from 2009 to 2013.

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