Recession brings back "pink slip mixers"

October 31, 2009 10:19:06 AM PDT
Social media and networking were on tap at a different kind of Labor Day get-together to help unemployed workers. An all-volunteer group is leading the effort, and it is reminiscent of the pink slip parties held during the dot-com bust.

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They call it a "pink slip mixer." However, the nearly 80 people who attended this gathering got their pink slips a long time ago.

As their unemployment stretches from eight to 12 months, they are anxious to network and to find that next job.

"This is about, I think, the fourth one I've come to in San Jose, and every time I walk out with two or three people that I've met that I can definitely call," said marketing and communications specialist Carol Montalvo. "I've talked to them since then, or emailed them or LinkedIn with them."

This a typical cross-section of Silicon Valley, all with bachelor's degrees, half with masters, and with years of experience in marketing or engineering or finance.

"I think what's made a difference for me in being able to get that much farther along is getting out and talking to people -- like events like this," said customer logistics specialist Andrew Hereth.

The non-profit group PinkSlipMixers.com started hosting these events 14 months ago. There are seven of these mixers going on Monday across the country.

The job seekers hear how social media can get the word out about themselves. They can also get advice on their resume or career.

Sometimes, they just need to hear it's time for a change.

"If you've had a job that you hated for the last 20 years, and now you're going to go and spend 10 times the amount of effort to get that same job back you hated, why not go out and start your own company, go out and find something you're passionate about, and do something you love," said Jennifer Hill of PinkSlipMixers.com.

There is talk that the recession is winding down, leading to a rise in job postings.

"I've probably put in for more jobs since June than I have since between October of last year and May," said health and safety manager Ed Marshall.

Several job seekers mentioned that they are getting called in for interviews. However, they haven't gotten hired.

What sets these people apart is not that they are unemployed, but rather that they are spending Labor Day working hard to find a new job.

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