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Unemployed in Westchester: Alissa Ciurczak


Alissa Ciurczak
45, of Goldens Bridge
Until December 2009: Senior Business Development Analyst at Verizon
Salary: Between $85,000 and $95,000

How long were you at Verizon?
I got the job when it was still WorldCom in 2000, then Verizon. I worked there throughout the bankruptcy. Right before Thanksgiving in 2009, I was told I had a month left. My boss basically said, ‘Your job over the next month is to find a job.’  But between Thanksgiving and Christmas, there’s not a lot of hiring going on. I’m fortunate because part of my severance package included outplacement, or job-search, assistance; I hadn’t looked for a job in nine years. My resume was on a hard drive of a computer that no longer booted!

What have you done since then?
I went on unemployment and kept looking for a job. It was very discouraging. I found some groups in Westchester like Women Helping Women, and WJCS Connect to Care. Those support groups were invaluable, really. I found a job with Tangoe in 2010,  putting the deals together for telecom customers. It was a natural extension of what I did at Verizon. But the nature of the group was changing, and the skills I brought into Tangoe were no longer applicable to what I was doing. It became clear to me that they needed someone with a different skill set, and I was let go in February of this year. It happens, but it was the first time it happened to me.

How is looking for a job now different than it was in 2009?
It’s more of a here-we-go-again-type feeling, rather than a what-do-I-do feeling. There’s something out there for me. There’s a company that needs me. Hopefully it won’t take as long as it did in 2010.  I have a family to support. I can’t sit around and do nothing. The togetherness with my husband is starting to wear quickly!

Photo by Stefan Radtke