CORAL SPRINGS, FL – Fran Thomas hasn’t given up looking for work.
Nearly six months ago, the 48-year-old Coral Springs resident lost her job as a recruiting coordinator for a Philadelphia-based company.
Covid-19 knocked out her job, as well as her health insurance, savings account, and sense of normalcy.
Despite filling out hundreds of job listings in her field and getting just a handful of call-backs, Thomas remains unemployed -- joining more than 8,400 others in Coral Springs who have been looking for work in the grueling pandemic economy, according to the latest unemployment data.
“I’m trying not to lose myself over this,” she said. “I’ve worked since I was 16 and haven’t been through anything like this before.”
Born in France and raised in Ecuador and later Miami Beach, she lives with her husband, Neale, and their two rescue dogs in Ramblewood South.
So far, the couple isn’t facing financial collapse, but Thomas is increasingly going into debt using her credit card to make basic payments.
She applied for unemployment benefits, but hasn’t received any checks because she accidentally put in wrong information about her job and hasn’t been able to get through to anyone to update her application, she said. She’s even reached out to local elected officials for help, and they haven’t been able to help her fix the problem.
For Thomas, gone are the days when she and her husband would go out to eat at restaurants, shop comfortably for clothing or go on vacations.
“We still have it better than a lot of other people,” she said. “We have a house and we have food.”
Going this long without working, however, is troubling for Thomas for other reasons.
She used to make about $45 an hour at her previous job, but she’s now seeing job openings that pay closer to $40 an hour in the same field and require a master’s degree and other credentials that she doesn’t have.
Plus, Thomas fears her age may disqualify her from some positions.
While worrying about her future, she’s also concerned about the present.
“It’s depressing being like this,” Thomas said.
On most days, she’s up by 9 am, works out, does household chores, and spends the rest of the time surfing websites in search of work. She makes sure she only watches TV at night.
For emotional support, Thomas turns to her family and friends. Last month, she slipped away to New York City for a few days to help her sister move to a new apartment. (Her sister helped her pay for the trip.)
Thomas said she’s stressed about her situation. She isn’t bitter, though.
Her background remains her strength, even in this economy: she’s got a bachelor’s degree from Nova Southeastern University and many years of experience in human resources.
No matter how hard it is to find work in her field, she doesn’t want to look for lower-paying jobs in other industries. At least, not yet.
“It’s hard. I have a lot of bills to pay, but I’ll keep looking,” she said. “This is a crazy time.”
TAPinto Coral Springs will update the experiences Fran Thomas faces as she searches for a new job in the coming weeks and months.
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