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 until they find employment. For their stories, search "news" online at lakewyliepilot.com.
Six "long months" later, Amy Burton will soon trade in unemployment for a job at a Lake Wylie salon.
Three interviews at local salons produced three options, with Amy choosing a salon a few miles down the road from her Lake Wylie home.
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She will start in a few weeks, she says, when her South Carolina cosmetology license is issued. Amy was recently licensed in North Carolina.
"When I walked into this salon, I felt like I was home," says Amy, comparing it to a New York salon she once worked at for 13 years.
Amy will work part time, which she says will become full time once she builds up her clientele.
"I am very excited. So much so that I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas," says Amy, 45, a wife and a mother of two.
Since February, the Lake Wylie Pilot has been providing regular updates on Amy, as well as Paul and Susan Hackney of Tega Cay, as they try to find work in a tough economy.
Amy had a successful career going in the drapery industry until she was laid off last November from her research and development job at the Rowley Company.
When Amy found few opportunities in the interior design business and other industries, Amy decided to resurrect her old career cutting hair.
Later this month, she will attend a hair show in Myrtle Beach -- learning the latest cutting techniques, fashion trends and beauty products.
In Tega Cay, Susan Hackney marked an anniversary she never expected to see -- one year of being unemployed.
A year ago last week, Susan lost her construction sales job. The second jolt to the family came five months later when Susan's husband, Paul, lost his project manager job with a construction company.
"I've never been unemployed. I've had a job since I was 14," says Susan, 36. "I figured I would have had a job last October."
Despite more than 10 years of sales experience and a college degree, 12 months of searching for work almost daily have only produced two in-person interviews and two over-the-phone interviews.
Susan is hoping a recent telephone interview for a sales position with a commercial cleaning company will lead to an in-person interview.
The job search is only going to get harder, Susan says, with recent college grads joining the applicant pool.
Paul, 40, is expected to interview this week for a project manager-type position with a commercial drywall company.