A family of five is now without stable income after another round of BlackBerry job cuts. Phil Ingram lost his job at BlackBerry on Monday as the smartphone maker announced its latest round of job cuts, just six months after his wife, Charity Bell, lost her job with the company.
Both Bell and Ingram are optimistic, but admit it's a struggle right now for their family with three young children age 11, 6, and 1.
'I need to be employed in order to pay my mortgage' - Charity Bell, former BlackBerry employee
"When you suffer job loss it gets you back to the basics. It peels away all the layers and you really start to focus on the things that matter. And the things that matter to me are my family and my marriage," said Bell.
Bell was on maternity leave and just about to come back to work when she got the call. With a new addition to the family, she was anxious to find a job fast.
She brushed up her resume and hit the pavement looking for work but despite 13 years in the information technology field and dozens of applications, she's had no luck so far.
"It's something that you can't give up on," said Bell. "I'm a working person, I'm of working class, I need to be employed in order to pay my mortgage, in order to financially look after my children and pay for my retirement. So every morning you pick yourself up."
BlackBerry employees don't have skills start-ups want
Despite reports that there are hundreds of jobs available in the tech sector in Waterloo Region, Bell says many of those jobs, particularly in start-ups, aren't for the skill set many former BlackBerry employees have.
"When you're in the IT industry you're incredibly specialized," said Bell. "When I was at BlackBerry a lot of people did process jobs, administration jobs, project management jobs, that kind of thing. Start-up companies are looking for more programming, entrepreneurial people. Not everyone has that ability and capability to take on that skill set."
On Tuesday, BlackBerry announced it would be cutting 300 local jobs for the second time in a month, bringing the total to 600 layoffs in October.
Bell said her family's story isn't unique; many former BlackBerry employees are go through the same thing each time job cuts are announced.
"Everybody who's lost their job we empathize with you," she said. "Be supportive to one another, you guys are not alone."
This information was compiled by Harpaul Sambhi of Careerify, a recruitment firm that uses social media to match employers and job seekers, for CBC Kitchener-Waterloo. Information is current as of October 14, 2013.