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Money News

Wall Streeters seek work while drowning sorrows

NEW YORK (Reuters) - As the financial crisis bites deeper, laid off Wall Street employees used to fielding calls from head-hunters or hearing of jobs through their contacts are searching for new ways to find work.

A Wall Street subway stop sign is seen in New York in this October 10, 2008 file photo. As the financial crisis bites deeper, laid off Wall Street employees used to fielding calls from head-hunters or hearing of jobs through their contacts are searching for new ways to find work. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/Files

And sometimes they get to drown their miseries at the same time.

One such opportunity was a “Pink Slip Party” at a midtown Manhattan bar on Tuesday night which drew about 500 people who enjoyed cheap drinks, networking, and a chance to find a new job with the 25 recruiting firms that attended.

The cover price at the party, sponsored by theLadders.com, an online recruiting firm, and Wall Street blog Dealbreakers.com, was $20, or roughly what an employed Wall Streeter would normally drop for a midtown Manhattan martini.

About 13,000 Wall Street jobs have been cut this year and that number could swell to 35,000 by the time the crisis is over, the New York State Comptroller’s office estimates.

At the Pink Slip Party Wall Street workers wore pink neon glow bracelets to show their unemployed status exchanged cards and resumes with recruiters. Many seemed resigned to a long and perhaps fruitless search.

“I’m getting interviews, but the feedback that you get is that they put (the job) on hold,” said Dave Cerza, who was laid off from insurance and financial services company AXA in February after working there for eight years.

“A lot of these people that are in this room are not going to have jobs in this industry,” said job-seeker Kevin McKiernan.

BE REASONABLE

Some of the largest firms on Wall Street have either collapsed or been restructured in the aftermath of the credit crisis that hit Wall Street earlier this year.

The 150-year-old investment bank Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc filed for bankruptcy protection in mid-September and Bear Stearns, another large investment bank was sold to JP Morgan.

Jobs may now be in short supply but advice on how to find one was plentiful on Tuesday night. The consensus among recruiters: keep expectations in check.

“Be reasonable,” advised Jack Roth, the managing partner of Distributed Technology Solutions, which specializes in technology jobs in financial services.

Flexibility is also important, recruiters said.

“A lot of people think, I’m going to get the same job I had. That’s not necessarily true,” said Richelle Konian, CEO of the recruiting firm Careers on the Move.

Some recruiters offered advice on dealing with the emotional frustration of getting the dreaded pink slip.

“Release your anger. Write an angry note to your boss, put it in an envelope and tear it up,” said Lou Casale, vice president of corporate communications at TheLadders.com.

McKiernan has resigned himself to spending time with his family and working on his “bucket list” -- the list of things to do before he “kicks the bucket”, or dies -- before looking in earnest next year when there may be more jobs open.

“Maybe I have to broaden my horizons to another industry,” McKiernan said. “In the meantime, I’m jumping out of a plane.”

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