Four former Borders employees were tracked down by Ben Freed, to see what they were up to after losing their jobs one year ago.
What does a person do when their career has revolved around books and there isn't much need for such work skills in the world?
If you're Peter Drogaris, a veteran of Waldenbooks before moving over to Borders, you don't have a full time job. Twenty years at Borders. It gives you a hint as to his age, which isn't twenty-something.
Older people, especially those in their fifties, simply haven't had any luck landing jobs because no one wants to invest in training, only to have the new employee retire a few years down the road. He is a member of the demographic that is hurting in the downturn, those who haven't looked for a job for decades because they thought they were secure.
Susan Aikens used to buy books for the Borders chain. She would have been courted by publishers who wanted their titles in the shops, the one who made the decisions on which children's books would be available and which would not.
Now she's buying camping gear for Dunham's. The new job isn't easy. She knew books, of course. She had to learn about camping gear, and learn fast. Imagine the stress of such a job, after losing the previous one. The fear of making mistakes, of getting fired, again, and there's the unemployment rate in Michigan above the national average.
Her husband, also once with Borders, landed a spot with a firm that connects farmers with consumers in an "eat local" movement. Unfortunately, their jobs are miles apart and Ms. Aikens faces a commute that can consume four hours of her day.
What is life like after Borders? A lot like any life after a company goes out of business. A lot like life for so many people, over 300,000 per week, who have to start over and oftentimes re-invent themselves.