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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Broken promises

Economic earthquakes shake Amercan dream

Armed with impressive university degrees and a good work record for a major airline, Ralph Dieter took a position with a semiconductor firm near Oakland, Calif., a couple of years ago. After a year, the company eliminated Dieter's job, and he was released.

"I had a good severance package and benefits for a few months," says Dieter, a member of St. Mark Lutheran Church, Fairfield, Calif. "I thought I could easily find another position, but that was just not the case."

His family lost 60 percent of its income, and Dieter held a series of jobs ranging from store clerk and fill-in church janitor to shipping agent. Last November the family was only weeks away from genuine ruin when Ralph landed a job in his specialty with Goodwill Industries in Stockton, Calif.

"We were on the razor's edge," he says. "We kept our house, and by the grace of God we avoided repossession of the cars."

(Article contains sidebar: "8 ways to thrive in tough times.")


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