(By Patrick May, Mercury News, Posted: 03/24/2009 05:05:00 PM PDT)
Lidia Doniz scans the weary faces around her table, each one a
cameo from the docudrama of America's pink-slip pain. Some look
scared. Others staring at Doniz seem stunned by their own
joblessness, as if their presence at this career center today is
all some huge misunderstanding.
The only woman in the group, wearing a Sharks jersey, half-smiles
and says, "My unemployment is about to run out; I'm getting kind of
panicky." She tries to make it come off like a joke. It
Doniz, 36, is a "welcome-team member." It's a title more befitting
a Disneyland greeter than an intake nurse for the emotionally
wounded at this working-world trauma unit.
As one of 52 employees at the city-run Work2future job center in
San Jose, Doniz sees the ravages of the recession unfold before
her, in the frown of the laid-off Coca-Cola salesman, in the
restless hands of the software engineer whose startup has crashed,
along with his self-esteem.