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San Jose career counselors feel weight of downturn


Thu Mar 26 2009


(By Patrick May, Mercury News, Posted: 03/24/2009 05:05:00 PM PDT) Lidia Doniz scans the weary faces around her table, each one a cameo from the docudrama of America's pink-slip pain. Some look scared. Others staring at Doniz seem stunned by their own joblessness, as if their presence at this career center today is all some huge misunderstanding.

The only woman in the group, wearing a Sharks jersey, half-smiles and says, "My unemployment is about to run out; I'm getting kind of panicky." She tries to make it come off like a joke. It doesn't.


Doniz, 36, is a "welcome-team member." It's a title more befitting a Disneyland greeter than an intake nurse for the emotionally wounded at this working-world trauma unit.

As one of 52 employees at the city-run Work2future job center in San Jose, Doniz sees the ravages of the recession unfold before her, in the frown of the laid-off Coca-Cola salesman, in the restless hands of the software engineer whose startup has crashed, along with his self-esteem.

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