Frank Ciprian had a pretty good thing going.
After working as a supervisor for Starbucks in Gilroy, the Los Banos man found a trucking job in San Jose when his hours dropped in 2008.
He bought a house in Los Banos and settled into a truck-driving career. A year and a half later, he got laid off. His lender refused a mortgage modification, and "I ended up losing my house," he said.
Ciprian, 49, said he could still work at Starbucks, where he left on good terms. But the hours wouldn't be full time, and with the struggling economy, "Now you're competing with doctors for those jobs."
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Merced Sun-Star
He worked with counselors at Stanislaus County's Alliance Worknet, which provides job training and other employment services, and got into a property management program at Community Business College in Modesto.
"I'm prepared to finish class here, and I'm going to try to go into business for myself," he said. "There's still not a lot of opportunity out there, but I'm going to do what I can to move forward."
In addition to taking classes, Ciprian said he's developed a network of contacts that will help him find work when he's ready.
It's not what he envisioned for his future, but he's excited about the new direction.
"Nobody expects to get laid off," he said. "But that's just the way it is. Hopefully some other good will come of it."
He's worked hard to keep a positive attitude. And he's re-examined his priorities.
"You pray, you ask for strength every day," he said. "I've got my friends, my life, my family. You thank the Lord for what you have."