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MILLBURY - Tricia Askins was idled by Libbey Inc., but she hasn't been idle on her own in the weeks since then.
Laid off from her job at the glass factory March 12, she spends a lot of time working. She's just doesn't get paid for it.
These are labors of love: installing a fence with her dad, doing yard work at a friend's house, helping another friend pack up for a move, and making pancakes at a breakfast at her fourth-grader's school, among other things.
"If you don't make yourself busy, then you sit around feeling sorry for yourself, and I was never raised that way," said Ms. Askins, 36. After declaring bankruptcy last fall and being laid off three times in seven months, the divorced mother of two gave up her apartment and moved into her parents' home in Millbury on Jan. 1.
So there'd be ample reason for Ms. Askins to feel sorry for herself - and she admitted her positive outlook does falter on occasion.
"I've asked: Why me? Why am I in this situation? But I think everybody asks that," Ms. Askins said.
Her slumps never last long, she added. Overall, things are going well.
She has been looking for work and has heard back from some employers, though not what she would like to hear. Thank you for your application, they say, but we're not hiring now. We'll keep your information on file. Try back in a month or so.
Her top choice is to land one of the jobs that will be created when First Solar, Inc., completes expansion of its Perrysburg Township plant. She filled out an application and passed the test in February. "I have not gotten a rejection letter yet so I'm still in the running to get an interview," Ms. Askins said.
Meanwhile, she's grateful she has a job to return to. The Libbey layoff is scheduled to end June 21.
"I'm very fortunate that I have these three months to go out and search for something, yet knowing I have something to go back to, because most people that I know that are laid off, they don't have a definite return date like we do."
Until then, there's some time for fun too, and a few controlled splurges. Ms. Askins and a couple of friends in similar straits get together at each other's homes for "Mommy Wednesdays." She's able to attend her sons' sporting events, which her rotating schedule at Libbey prevented at times.
She, sons Jared and Jacob, and her mother drove to Florida over spring break to visit her brother, and on Wednesday she flew to Reno to compete in the United States Bowling Congress Nationals and Queens Tournament. Ms. Askins used her mom's air miles to get a $10 airfare, and her brother, Rob, paid her $300 entry fee.
Another positive: Ms. Askins said she's not as embarrassed as she was at first about having to move back in with her parents. She had been worried about what her friends would think.
To her relief, "people have been supportive."
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