Photo: Veronica Orozco
[The following profile is part of a series on long-term unemployment in America.]Nearly five years ago, Veronica Orozco was working as a full-time civil engineer in Chicago when she found out at the last minute that she needed emergency gallbladder removal.
After her surgery, Orozco spent two weeks to recover before returning to work. When she did, her employers told her business was slow and that they didn’t have any projects available at the moment.
They told her to wait two weeks before calling, but she received the same answer again then. This continued for six months.
During this time, the mother of two was paid a stipend, but not a full paycheck and was having a difficult time paying her bills. Since her husband was still in school, she was the financial supporter in her family.
She decided to apply for unemployment, but knew she needed to get back to work as quick as possible. Orozco sent out applications for positions in various fields, including Walmart postings. She quickly realised getting another job would be a lot more difficult than she thought.
“The problem is that people don’t want to hire people who are unemployed. And it’s definitely more who you know, not what you know,” the 30-year-old said. “I have to hope that eventually I’ll be able to find work again.”
The family has had to cut out expenses such as cable or going to Whole Foods for their groceries. Orzoco is still actively applying for a job that will bring in a steady income and is planning on returning to school in the summer of 2012.
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