The Road Back To Work: Jennifer Barfield

Jennifer Barfield, 47, of Maplewood, Mo., got the job offer she had been hoping for — just weeks after her unemployment benefits ran out.
Whitney Curtis for NPR

Status: Hired on February 5, 2012 (after 3 months searching, she had previously been unemployed for more than 2 years)

Position: IT support

Resumes sent out since job loss: 160+

Age: 47

Education: Bachelor's degree

When not searching for jobs, I enjoy... spending time with my husband, Brian Barfield and shopping at the dollar store and Goodwill.

Jennifer Barfield, 47, got the job offer she had been hoping for — just weeks after her unemployment benefits ran out. Then after seven months on the job, she was let go. A month and a half later, she is working again.

Such is the roller coaster of recovering from a bout of long-term unemployment. Barfield is hoping that this job will be one that lasts.

Barfield is an IT professional. She worked at a St. Louis law firm for a decade and was suddenly laid off in March 2009.

She recalls how it happened: "Called into a conference room out of the blue. Find out your job is eliminated, get escorted back to your desk, pack up and leave. I mean, there's no way not to be in complete shock over that."

Barfield says she had a lot of catching up to do. Her resume was out of date, and searching for a job had changed dramatically since the last time she had looked for work by searching newspaper want ads.

She spent more than two years looking for her next job, which was then cut short. She applied for dozens of jobs, and went on numerous interviews. And before hearing "you're hired," she had been struggling to get out of bed in the morning.

"It's hard to not be depressed," Barfield says. "I don't know who couldn't be depressed if they were going through this."

Barfield is a newlywed. She met her husband, Brian Barfield, who is also featured in this series, at a networking event for unemployed professionals in downtown St. Louis

"Blessings come out of the tough times," she says. "I wouldn't have met Brian, our paths never would have crossed, if we both hadn't been unemployed."

Audio Diary

The six people in our series The Road Back To Work are chronicling the ups and downs of their job searches by keeping audio diaries this year. Updates will be posted here regularly.

Audio diary, Aug. 31, 2011: "My first wish would be to pay off the debt."

Audio diary, April 10, 2011: "Today is my first day at my new job."

Audio diary, Mar. 14, 2011: "I was having one of my worst weeks ever, down in the dumps."

Audio diary, Mar. 6, 2011: "These walls close in on you."

Audio diary, Feb. 8, 2011: "But I'm just really frustrated."

Audio diary, Jan. 10, 2011: "Today is our three-month anniversary…"

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