These are the people behind the unemployment statistics.
Sue Wietecha has been out of work four weeks. She worked 42 years in the mortgage industry, most recently as an escrow officer.
"It's kind of the end of your life when that happens, especially when that's all you've ever done," says Wietecha.
John Swager starts a new job next week after searching for three months.
"A lot of times you send out resumes, especially online, you never really get a response," says Swager.
The number of job seekers has been on a steady rise the past six months at the One-Stop Career Center operated by EASTBAY Works. The Pleasanton-area has been particularly hard hit by the real estate slump and layoffs in the loan industry. A placement service told ABC7 the ratio of applicants to jobs is three to one.
"There is absolutely nothing available in my industry, so I'm thinking that I'm going to have to make a career change."
John Alves, the site manager here, says coming to that realization is the hardest step.
"It's actually hard changing and coming into a career center and saying that I've been doing this for 10 years, and I need to change. How do I do it at that point?" says Alves.
Starting anew means re-training and adapting to a much different job market.
Kerry Kiley is the regional operations manager for the staffing agency Adecco.
"It's not the typical historic job market out there where you can go to the employer, and [say] 'I want to work 9 to 5 and I need to have these days off and this much vacation.' It's more of an employers' market right now where the employee really needs to be flexible," says Kiley.
Susie Flores was one of 20 people laid off from a loan office five months ago. She's one of only three to land a new job, by switching to insurance.
"So it's very hard. You have to look for something else to do. Go for training, it's 100 percent. You have to go to training and get some other field."
Career counselors say the concept of climbing the ladder of success is passé.
"What I heard recently is a very interesting metaphor that we no longer have a career ladder. We have a career web and that people move around in that -- maybe it's lateral, maybe it's upward, sometimes it's downward -- if that's what's happening in the market."
To put it another way, go with the ebb and flow of the job market.
ABC7 has put together five important tips for succeeding in your job:
Landing a job is challenging enough as more people are laid off, adding to an already growing pool of applicants. Keeping a job can be equally challenging. Kerry Kiley, regional operations manager for the national staffing agency Adecco, provided the following tips for success.
- Focus on your work (stay out of office politics)
- Turn off your cell phone and don't surf the net at work
- Productivity – make yourself valuable and make your value known
- Perform 100% before you look for a promotion or your next job
If you're a job seeker, Kerry Kiley urges applicants to check their grammar and spelling on resumes. She says many employers won't even look at an applicant's qualifications if there are misspellings or grammatical errors.