Unemployed in Westchester: Ken Lee

Ken Lee
49, of Croton-on-Hudson
Until August 2010: IT Compliance Program Manager at IBM in Armonk
Salary: “High five figures”
What has your work history been the last few years?
I was at IBM from 1995 to 2007, working in the IT space, and I got caught up in downsizing. From 2007 to 2010, I did a bunch of different things to bring money into our household. One summer, I worked as a bartender. I was able to pick up a few Census assignments. I worked at Trader Joe’s for a year and a half. I was out for thirty months before I landed a full-time job at IBM again in 2010, but that was not renewed because of cost-cutting. Now, I’m in a temporary situation working in the IT space with March of Dimes in White Plains, but it’s open-ended at this point. It all depends on project approvals and funding. It’s a bit stressful not knowing if it’s going to go on for another week or another month.

Have any of these jobs been demoralizing?
I needed to do what I needed to do to bring the money in. The time I got the job at Trader Joe’s, my unemployment was about to run out.

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What advice do you have for others looking for work?
You’ve got to network, network, network. Don’t spend too much time on the computer. I founded the Westchester Networking Organization in 2008. We started at the Croton Free Library three years ago. At first, we probably had thirty people, but it kept growing. The largest meeting had close to eighty people.

Have there been any benefits to being unemployed?
It’s given me a chance to re-evaluate what I want to do. I think I know what I don’t want.

 Photography by Stefan Radtke

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