With two masters degrees and a Ph.D. in organizational development, jobless and strategizing on how to make ends meet is not where Reeta Hoskote thought she'd be at this stage in her life.
Unemployed for 16 months, Hoskote said she's not shopping, eating out or spending money on "fun stuff."
"If you look at how long I carry on before money starts coming in, it can't keep out going out, out, out with nothing coming in," she said.
Determined to find a job, Hoskote joined hundreds of other unemployed at a job club in Naperville.
With the search for full-time employment being a full-time job by itself, the job club provides hope, reduces stress and, best of all, provides networking opportunities.
For many, the job clubs that are popping up all around Chicagoland not only help a person realize that they're not alone, but they also provide information on job openings that many people might not know about.
Therapist Joy Maguire Dooley came up with the idea for a job club more than 15 years ago to help ease the stress of unemployment.
"We need hope. We all need to be there for each other," she said. "That is the beauty of it."
Maguire Dooley said the key to finding the next job includes getting out of the house and clearing the mental hurdle of depression and negativity that sets in when unemployed.
"I always tell them because my name is Joy, you can't have joy and negativity in the same room. So when they come here they know there is going to be some laughs but some serious networking," Maguire Dooley said.
Hoskote said she's staying optimistic and motivated by listening to those who have already found jobs.
"I'm sure one day I'll be in a position to help other people, and I'll do the same thing, so that is what helps," Hoskote said.