Your career. What happened? Your stories

We asked you recently to tell us what the recession’s done to your career and we asked you to write short.


Really, really short. Six words, precisely.

MinnEcon readers flooded us with creative responses from practical (“Raise? +0%, Insurance? +26%. Tough year.”) to sadly philosophical (“Insurance, overtime, vacation. Unhappy; stifling dreams.”) to surprisingly upbeat (“Career colleges booming. Job is safe.”)

So then we threw the question to MPR’s Public Insight Network, asking for their six word career stories — and the story behind those words. Once again our sources gave us a vivid view on the recession. (You can add your voice here.)


3 jobs rolled into one.

That’s how Susanna Patterson of Stillwater summed her career in the past year or so.

“Layoffs at our company have the ‘survivors’ filling in the gaps created by our less-fortunate colleagues,” she wrote. Her job(s): “Secretary, accounting, receptionist, sample department, etc., etc., etc….”


Art. What art? Why buy art?

Minneapolis painter Christi Furnas said she learned that,”after the housing bubble popped, having walls was more important for people than finding original art to hang on them.” She’s confident, though things will pick up.

Here’s one that surprised us: Churches hurting, want younger male pastor

“The large number of baby boomers who are pastors are having trouble finding calls because they are too expensive,” wrote Karen Grandall, a pastor from Spring Valley. “As one council member said, ‘Why have a Cadillac when we can get a Chevy?’ We have to take part time in order to find something.”

Click on the map icons to read stories of how the recession’s affected the professional lives of your friends and neighbors.

The recession turned into a blessing for some, a chance to change gears professionally.

“I was laid off from my job as a blogger for a web development firm but have found a new career as a freelance writer. Best thing to ever happen,” said Jodi Chromey of Shakopee, who threw a bit of math in her headline: 11 months of cube-free freelance > 9-5 cube dwelling

Kevin Sweeney of St. Paul feels like he’s had some job security in this recession.

“I work in corrections and unfortunately, a small minority of people have just not figured out how to live honestly and peacefully with their neighbors. They keep breaking the laws and I keep my job. It’s really too bad things are that way,” said Sweeney, a juvenile probation worker who summed up his career: Still have one and APPRECIATE it!

Others told us how their lives changed when the recession torpedoed career plans of family members.

Mothering with family in the basement.

That’s how Meeka Urlaub, a stay at home mom and international education worker in Minneapolis summed up her experience. “My sister-in-law and her family have moved into our basement, since her husband has been out of work for over a year.”

Job-wise, there wasn’t much to applaud in the most recent Minnesota unemployment numbers. We’ll get the next set of numbers May 20. But experts have told us not to keep our job growth expectations low in 2010.

Maybe the hardest story to read came from Charles Oakes of Willmar. He told us he manages a community rehabilitation program that finds jobs for adults with disabilities.

“I have laid off staff, cut benefits, reduced wages, increased co-pays, and canceled most training and memberships. I have disappointed more employees & friends in the last 18 months than in my entire 30 year career in nonprofit management,” he wrote.

“I have personally had my pay and benefits reduced too for things that we have no control over at all.”

He summed up his experience in six-plus words: Nonprofit leader, hatchet man now. Woe is us…

Post your six words below or drop us a line.

NOTE: Our efforts were inspired by SMITH Magazine’s ongoing Six-Word Memoir project. SMITH and our public media colleagues across the country are exploring six-word economy stories. Check it out.

Also, read the newest entries at SMITH — 6 words on the financial crisis.

  • Maria C Herrera

    My 13-year-job as a radiology transcriptionist for Kaiser Permanente has been replaced by technology. White privilage in America has left me out of another less paid position. Being treated for depression. Union protecting employer. Need counsel as to what my rights are under labor law or workers’ compensation. August 11, 2010 deadline to be totally displaced.