While those white-collar workers at GM who still have jobs were recently told they will have their compensation restored to its level before a pay cut, those who took severance packages from the auto makers are struggling to find comparable work, says the WSJ.com.
The stories in this WSJ article are less than uplifting.
Tom Boileau, 55, has seen how difficult the transition has been. After 35 years in product development at Chrysler, Mr. Boileau was earning roughly $110,000 a year when he took an early-retirement deal last fall that pays him a pension of nearly $4,000 a month. He was later hired by Michigan Works, a state agency that helps displaced workers retrain and find jobs.
Each day, Mr. Boileau says, 90 to 100 unemployed people sat at his desk at a state office in Detroit, where he handled primarily suburban white-collar engineers’ cases. “They kept coming back and coming back and coming back, and working on their résumés,” says Mr. Boileau. “I didn’t see anyone get anything.”
Mr. Boileau himself hasn’t fared much better. Since his contract with the state expired in April, he has been without a full-time job. He fills his time working as a part-time hockey coach, which pays $500 a week during the season. While he’d like to work full-time, he acknowledges that at age 55 and without a bachelor’s degree, he’d be lucky to get a third of what he used to make at Chrysler.
What’s a mid-career Michigan worker to do? Relocation seems to be one of the only ways out of the Michigan mess, the article suggests.
The jobs left in Michigan are less than ideal for a mid- to senior-level workers. Consider the example of Dave Duncanson, a former product development manager at Chrysler, has gone from making $109,000 to around $31,000 as janitor at Stoney Creek High School in Rochester Hills, Mich.
The article also details one woman who sold her house at a loss but covered the mortgage and relocated to Oregon. While it can be very hard to uproot a family, sometimes a fresh start is the best solution.
[Image by S. Hurley via Flickr CC 3.0]
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