A smartly dressed Ricky Tong walked up to the door of a potential employer last week, the latest of many attempts to find work since being laid off six months ago from his $20,000 job as a chauffeur. Mr Tong, 33, was no more confident this time, although he said he had finally come to terms with losing his job. 'The hardest thing about being unemployed is whether you can accept the fact that you've lost a job you had worked up to for years and now you must settle for work that pays only $6,000 or $7,000,' he said. 'It felt like falling from the top of a hill to the bottom.' Mr Tong was laid off in January with 50 other workers when his company trimmed its staff. With his track record he was not worried at first, but then anxiety set in with the economy changing to an employer's market and chauffeur jobs paying $10,000 at most. Though single and with no family to support, it is hard living on his savings. 'I cut back on going out to karaoke, later yum cha and finally I began skipping breakfast,' he said. He sold his car, coin collection and pawned his gold watch and gold pens. 'The worst thing was when friends asked me to go out,' Mr Tong said. 'When I admitted I didn't have money they would say, 'Don't worry. I'll treat'. 'But the second time they treated, I would feel ashamed. The third time, I felt even worse. I was completely afraid of seeing these friends.' One thing that kept him from abject misery was the Internet, where strangers would encourage him to keep trying. He later met other jobless people at a clerical course and grew closer to his family. Mr Tong is living off money borrowed from his credit card, but he said he had more self-esteem than six months ago. He is ready to start again and plans to switch to a clerical position, where he can grow professionally. 'The economy will improve. We'll all see better days again,' he said.