A day after Christmas, many job seekers picked up right where they left off before the holiday, hunting for a job Wednesday at the Thurston County WorkSource office in Tumwater.
Those job seekers got some bad news: Thurston County’s jobless rate inched higher in November, rising to 6.9 percent last month from a revised 6.7 percent rate in October, according to Employment Security Department data released Wednesday.
For Aubrey Lomas and Sally Toussaint, both of whom were at WorkSource, the job-seeking beat goes on.
Lomas, 47, of Lacey, who has a master’s degree in teaching and is certified to teach in Washington, has been unable to find work because the area is “inundated” with teachers, she said. Lomas has taught as a substitute here before — and in Montana — but now is back to house-sit while she tries to line something up after the school year ends, preferably a teaching job with union representation.
Life is different now, she said.
Lomas refers to herself as a “displaced homemaker,” someone who previously wasn’t the primary breadwinner in her household but now is divorced, she said. Looking for work also has changed, with most of it taking place online, she said, offering few chances to meet with employers in person.
“I feel like I’m 20 years old, and that I’m starting all over again,” Lomas said.
She could look for work online at home, but it feels more productive to go to WorkSource, she said.
Staffers can help answer questions and Lomas, who served in the Air Force, also can meet with counselors who work with veterans, she said.
Toussaint, 42, of Olympia, a single parent of two children, has been looking for work since the end of July. Life has changed for Toussaint as well.
She last worked for an employer in 2002, then opened her own licensed child-care business, then became a stay-at-home mom. Now she’s trying to provide as a single parent but also find a job.
It hasn’t been easy.
She was homeless in summer 2010 but now receives $478 per month, plus food stamps, as part of a program for needy families. Toussaint acknowledges that she should have been evicted in October, but said she does all she can to make at least a partial rental payment, if not pay the whole thing.
After going back to school to complete her degree, she’s torn between finding the best fit or accepting any job.
She has learned that she’s overqualified for some positions and underqualified for others; that employers want resumes identical to the skills listed in job descriptions; and that employers can be very choosy in a slow economy.
But she hasn’t given up hope.
She’s waiting to hear back on two jobs she applied for in October and November, and she also has the option of going to graduate school, although she’s not sure whether there’s financial aid available or whether she’ll have to support herself by borrowing money.
She’d also like to become a career counselor, having helped others with their resumes and answer interview questions — tips that have helped others find jobs, Toussaint said. But she’s still looking.
“I’m ready, willing and able to contribute to my local community,” she said.