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Unemployed 'survivor' ready to switch back to former career


The Lake Wylie Pilot introduced readers to Paul and Susan Hackney of Tega Cay and Amy Burton of Lake Wylie, all unemployed and looking for work, earlier this year. The Pilot continues to update progress and struggles every week until they find employment. For their stories, search "news" online at

A new career focus is quickly changing Amy Burton's luck on the job search, with an end to unemployment in sight.

After months of struggles looking for work and only two interviews, the former hair stylist and Lake Wylie resident is quickly finding there's a demand for stylists in the area.

"By the end of May, I am confident I will be working again," says Amy, 45, who was laid off from her drapery industry job in November.

Amy says she found most of the hair-cutting opportunities through "cold calls" and "instinct."

"The minute I decided to switch back to my former career, I made three phone calls, and within 24 hours, I had three interviews," says Amy, a wife and mother of two.

With 16 years experience in salons, Amy says she "never put down her tools," and frequently cuts friends and family members' hair.

Amy is waiting for her paperwork to go through, which would make her licensed in both North Carolina and South Carolina. The process should be done by next month. She recently completed continuing education work over three days to meet state requirements.

"I am very, very excited about it. I'm a people person. I loved that part of my job before," Amy says. "Word is getting around fast, especially at (New River Community) church. I've had several people tell me to let them know where I'll be working."

Best of all, Amy says, a hair stylist job can survive the economy.

"Back in previous recessions, I was still able to earn a living," says Amy, whose experience includes 13 years in one salon in upstate New York.

Over in Tega Cay, Susan Hackney's optimism remained strong after learning she will not be hired by two companies, which had been promising employment prospects.

A pharmaceutical sales position will not be filled because of the economy, Susan says, while a sales position with a local materials distribution company that sells fencing has been filled. Susan, who lost her job in construction sales last May, had participated in two interviews for the fencing sales position.

"We're not the only ones," says Susan of the difficulties finding work. "You find some security in that.

"But, I'm still positive something will happen."

Despite the setbacks, Susan continued to look for work last week -- applying to three jobs, mostly in the medical field that she says is "unscathed by the economy."

Her husband, Paul, joined Susan on the unemployment line last October when he lost his construction management job. Paul is hoping to hear soon whether he'll be extended a formal offer for a project manager position with a drywall company.

On Saturday, Paul celebrated his 40th birthday, which came with a surprise party hosted by Susan in Fort Mill.