Five years ago many Richmond companies did rounds of layoffs. Here's a look at some survivors.
Laura Ashley, 31, Programming and sales coordinator, $46,000
A week after being laid off from Snagajob in February 2009, Laura Ashley discovered she was pregnant. The newlywed spent her first trimester collecting unemployment and trying to conceal her pregnancy while she applied for jobs. That June, Ashley took a $20,000 pay cut to work as an accounts officer position at Strayer University. Two months later, her now ex-husband lost his job in Chesterfield and started working in Northern Virginia.
"I had a newborn at home, and he was away all week," the WTVR-TV programming and sales coordinator says. "In hindsight, it was the most stressful thing I had been through in my life."
Job & Salary Stories
John Camejo, 57, Unemployed John Camejo says the Richmond Times-Dispatch's executive editor didn't bother to look up from his Blackberry when he told the features artist to pack his things. The newspaper laid off 64 employees on the same day in January 2008. The native Cuban who graduated on a full scholarship from the Pratt Institute took a pay cut of more than $30,000 as a reemployment-services specialist at the Virginia Employment Commission in June 2008. In June 2011, he was hired as a designer for the commentary section of the Washington Times. He would commute back to Mechanicsville on weekends until he was laid off again in January. Jason St. Peter, 31, Creative director at Think 804, $50,000 In the weeks leading up to being laid off from Circuit City, Jason St. Peter remembers noticing piles of cardboard boxes amassing in the office stairwells. "Something didn't seem quite right," he says, adding that his wife was a month pregnant with their first child at the time. In December 2008, St. Peter was called to a conference room with 20 co-workers. He was told to pack his things and leave. "It felt like getting rounded up like cattle," he recalls. After taking a $10,000 pay cut to work an entry-level position at a small advertising agency in Scott's Addition, St. Peter founded Think 804, a branding and advertising firm that he runs out of his Glen Allen home. Deone McWilliams, 50, Occasional administrative work, $8 to $10 an hour Deone McWilliams was notified that her position as an administrative coordinator at Philip Morris USA had been terminated through a letter in her P.O. box in August 2008. "I never thought it'd happen to me," she says. The single mother and sole provider for her daughter and grandson went from earning an annual salary of $60,000 to relying on an unemployment check for $378 a week. Now, the Chesterfield resident works through a temp agency and runs a free good-news only newspaper, Flavor News, with her 9-year-old grandson. Kerry Talbott, 49, Adjunct professor, $2,000 a class;freelance illustrator, $300 to $1,200 per assignment In April 2009, Kerry Talbott was among 60 Media General employees to be laid off from the Richmond Times-Dispatch. "You know who you are for 20 years, and then one day you're not that guy anymore," the former staff artist says. For the next year, Talbott freelanced and taught two classes at Virginia Commonwealth University, but on Christmas Day in 2010 everything came to a halt when he suffered from a massive seizure. Doctors at Johnson-Willis Hospital removed a brain tumor on his right frontal lobe. He still does not have health insurance.