Meg and Bill Kurek, whose struggles with unemployment and declining fortunes opened this series, have a happy ending. Or at least a new beginning.
Mrs. Kurek, who was laid off last year from a project manager's job at UPMC, leaving the couple without their major income and health benefits, has a new post with a Washington, D.C.-area federal contractor with a long-term contract in Western Pennsylvania.
She declined to give the name of her new employer. She's happy for now to regain her anonymity.
"I'm actually making more money than I did at UPMC," Mrs. Kurek said.
She started her new job at the beginning of the month.
The job will allow the Kureks to dig their way out of debt, including overdue bills and a late mortgage payment on their home in Ross.
Mrs. Kurek survived the disappearance of the Pittsburgh region's steel economy 25 years ago -- an economic disaster that hastened the end of her first marriage and drove her back to school, where she earned a master's degree and began a career in health care management.
Bill Kurek, a cancer survivor who has postponed some medical tests, provides the family's second source of income. He was selling real estate in an imploding market for houses.
He, too, has landed another job, with a company specializing in home sale closings.
"We are beginning to pay off those bills and enjoy life," said Mrs. Kurek. She offered this advice to the newly unemployed, words she said she got from her late mother, Agnes Brogan: "Hang on. Things have a way of working themselves out."
First Published April 19, 2009 4:00 AM