|
|
|
MailTribune.com
  • No handouts please; just work

    College-educated father of two takes to the street in a last-resort search for a job
  • MEDFORD — Joshua Berger is not looking for a handout or a bailout. He needs a job.
    • email print
  • »  RELATED CONTENT
  • MEDFORD — Joshua Berger is not looking for a handout or a bailout. He needs a job.
    So on Wednesday afternoon he donned his only suit and a sandwich-board sign listing his qualifications. He then took up residence at the busy intersection of Crater Lake Highway and Delta Waters Road and handed out copies of his resume to anyone who asked.
    "A lot of people have been shouting out phone numbers and saying, 'Good on ya,' " Berger said. "I don't want anybody's money. I just want to get back to work."
    After he recently was laid off from his part-time job as an airplane mechanic at the Jet Center, the 33-year-old Medford resident cast his resume far and wide in hopes of landing a full-time gig.
    He scored a few interviews in the Medford-area, but as the recession dragged on, sending more people in search for jobs, he found employers had increased their expectations.
    "They want people with more experience," Berger said. "Every job I applied to, there were 10 people with more work history than me."
    Following an eight-year stint in the U.S. Marine Corps, Berger graduated from Southern Oregon University last year with degrees in physics and chemistry. His focus was in engineering and medical services.
    He exhausted his options in Southern Oregon and sent more than 100 resumes around the country. No luck.
    Now he is four months behind on his mortgage and creditors hound him five to six times a day, he said.
    "Some calls you answer, some you don't," he said. "Some of them yell at you and some of them lie to you."
    Berger is not eligible for unemployment benefits because of his thin work history in recent years while he was attending SOU full-time.
    "I had a plan that I was going to join the service, use the GI Bill to get my education and then find a job," Berger said. "But with this economic downturn, that didn't happen."
    Berger read about a man in New York who took to the streets wearing a sign and handing out his resume. He decided it was worth a try.
    Now comes the waiting, he said.
    "I am willing to branch out and do different types of work," Berger said. "I just need a chance."
    Berger said he focuses on his two children when things get stressful. As a recently divorced father he also has to make monthly child-support payments.
    He doesn't consider bankruptcy a viable option and is not looking for donations.
    "The only thing that would help me is to be employed," he said.
    Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 776-4471, or e-mail cconrad@mailtribune.com.
Reader Reaction
      • calendar