BANGOR, Maine — Jeff Lucas donned a nice blue suit Thurs-day morning and readied his resume.
Some attendees at the Fall Job Fair wore jeans and casu-ally loped around the Spectacular Event Center, scoping out the area’s available jobs.
But not Lucas, 57.
For the laid-off Newburgh medical administrator, the job hunt is a serious business — with serious consequences.
“I’ve applied for positions above my qualifications and below my qualifications,” Lu-cas said as he filled out his fourth job application. “I’m not really getting any response. If this continues, I might have to look out of state.”
Lucas and his wife don’t want to leave Maine, where they’ve spent the last 15 years. He said that they chose to come here from Cleveland for good reasons that are still true.
“We came from a big city en-vironment in Ohio. We wanted a lifestyle change and that’s why we came to Maine,” he said. “We took the sacrifice in income in order to enjoy the lifestyle.”
That lifestyle has been harder to enjoy since June, when he lost his job at Sebasti-cook Family Doctors in New-port.
“We’ve been living off our savings,” he said.
The Spectacular Event Cen-ter was crowded with job seek-ers of all ages and backgrounds. Some were college students checking out what their field has to offer in the Bangor area. But too many of them are from the ranks of the recently laid-off, said one employer.
“It’s a little concerning to look around the room and see so many people who don’t have jobs,” said Kevin Lord of Phoe-nix Employment and Rehabili-tation Center. “You hear ‘job fair’ and you think fresh out of college. More and more that’s not the case.”
Ellen Wilbur, 62, of Levant is a case in point. She has worked as a phlebotomist, or blood-drawing technician, for 18 years. She teaches the skill to others. Wilbur had hoped to continue to work at Orono Medical Center for one more year and then retire from full-time work. Her layoff in June changed those plans.
“I’d like to work for a while. I’m not an old lady yet,” she said, smiling. “The Lord always takes care, and he always sup-plies. I think he wanted me to take a little time off work any-way. But unemployment really doesn’t cut it.”
She and her husband have been feeling the financial pinch since June.
“We’ve cut way back on va-cations. We eat out less and watch pennies a little closer,” she said. “We’re just trying to stretch things a little further, especially with winter coming.”
Job Fair officials said they were happy with the turnout, though they didn’t have a count of job seekers. More than 60 employers, or vendors, had ta-bles at the fair.
“It’s a great way for job seek-ers to interact with vendors,” said Paul Ruggiero, a consult-ant at Career Center, one of the co-sponsors of the event. The other sponsor was the Bangor Daily News.
Many seekers, though, didn’t have the qualifications for the available jobs.
A Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. recruiter said there were three engineering jobs available, but that the majority of job seekers were looking for clerical work.
And some jobs are simply not for everyone.
Recruiters with Direct Tech, the company that installs Di-rect TV, received just seven applications for the 30 positions available at Direct TV.
Those jobs pay from $28,000 to $45,000 a year — but they’re not easy.
“We work in all kinds of weather. If it’s raining, you put on a raincoat,” Richard Stoots said. “You have to be able to handle lifting, ladders and have a good driving record.”
Elisha Plourde, 22, originally from Caribou, is in a more tra-ditional bracket for the job hunt.
She’ll be graduating in May from the University of Maine at Augusta, and plans to work as she goes to graduate school to become a psychiatric nurse.
She wants to stay in Bangor, even as the national trend of a shaky economy plays out lo-cally.
“There’s more to offer here, with the colleges and huger employment,” Plourde said.