nettime's_roving_reporter on Mon, 8 Mar 2004 03:35:11 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> dotbomb casualties

     [ via tbyfield. at this point it's strange to see even a doff 
       of the hat to dotcom 'casualties' (itself an interesting 
       choice of words in the current context, what with real rather 
       than rhetorical casualties piling up{1}), and the outsourcing
       of labor becoming a hot rhetorical issue in US electoral dis-
       course). but of course this story appears in the 'regional'
       section of the NYT, framed as a human-interest story (complete
       with a soulful picture of the subject{2}). but then the NYT 
       reporter wouldn't have been able to pluck our heartstrings 
       with a subtle play on 'recovery' in its two main senses in US 
       english: political/economic and trauma/therapeutic. the flip-
       side of this one guy's metonymic journey is slowly filtering 
       out as the national press realizes it can't possibly bear to 
       spend so many months covering the election as a debate, and so
       has begun to indulge in faux-historical analysis of the process
       to date -- for example, in the form of behind-the-scenes docu-
       mentaries about the rise and fall of the dean campaign, which
       was fueled, in part, by angry young white former-dotcommies.
       maybe ars electronica should give its golden nica to howard 
       dean for his contribution to the revealing the dynamics of 
       'emergent democracy' in blogs. so much for social software. :)
       -- cheers, t ]


< >

March 7, 2004

For Dot-Com Casualties, a Slow Recovery


   WHEN he was laid off in the dot-com bust, Mauricio Carey knew that it
   might take a while to find a new job. He never expected that it would
   take two years.

   In July 2001, a supervisor called Mr. Carey, then a senior designer at
   IconNicholson, a technology design firm, into his office. "He said,
   'Sorry, we don't have the business to support you anymore,' " Mr.
   Carey recalled.

   Mr. Carey, who had already survived three rounds of layoffs in a firm
   that had dwindled to 60 people from 140 in six months, said he wasn't
   surprised. Nor was he pessimistic, despite fewer job prospects in an
   economy weakened by dot-com failures. After all, in the fall of 1999,
   he had arrived in New York and received five job offers within a week.

   But by 2003, Mr. Carey had sent out 400 resumes and received only two
   interviews. "I didn't expect that I would have the amount of trouble
   that I did," he said.

   Like thousands of people who lost jobs during Silicon Alley's crash,
   Mr. Carey's situation represents how hard rebounding into the
   workplace can be - even now - for those who were left unemployed by
   the dot-com bust. In today's job market, employers are still seeing
   resumes of job seekers who had chosen to sidestep a bleak job search
   by moving overseas or entering graduate school when they were let go
   from Internet companies, said Christopher Jones, a career columnist at
   the Yahoo site HotJobs.

   Part of the problem, aside from an economy diminished by terrorism and
   troubled markets, was that the typical career support structure
   -former employers and connections to job leads - did not exist for job
   seekers because many dot-com companies closed in such a short amount
   of time. That was particularly true for New York, says Jeff Taylor,
   founder of the job search engine, Monster. On top of that,
   "unemployment rates were high, but even higher for narrow skill sets
   within the Web development scene," Mr. Taylor said. By the time Mr.
   Carey found a job in September 2003, overall unemployment in New York
   City had risen to 8.6 percent, from 6 percent in July 2001, when he
   was first let go.

   Getting to that offer, as an art director at Ann Taylor Inc., was not
   easy for Mr. Carey, 35, who lived on occasional freelance jobs and
   unemployment when the flow of freelance work dried up. At one point,
   Mr. Carey, unable to pay his rent for two months, negotiated with his
   landlord to prorate payments once he found employment.

   Such dire situations have forced some New Yorkers not only to juggle
   bills and negotiate rent payments, but also to seek work outside their
   professions. Mr. Carey, for example, considered applying at Barnes &
   Noble, since he had managed a bookstore in college. But he quickly
   discarded the idea, afraid that it might limit his time to find work
   in his field that could pay more.

   Instead, he cut back his expenses, refusing, for example, to go out
   for nearly two years - a stark contrast to a time when he might have
   spent $75 at a bar. "I was down to eating one meal a day, and there
   were periods when I would sleep a lot," he said.

   Part of the damage of Silicon Alley's collapse was its demoralizing
   effect on workers who were suddenly jolted from a life of feeling
   entitled to high salaries and fast career growth.

   Mr. Carey, who had held upper-level design jobs, found himself
   interviewing for entry-level positions. One potential employer
   demanded to know why he did not have experience designing Web banners.
   "It's like asking a guy who rebuilds carburetors if he can change a
   tire," Mr. Carey said.

   In January 2003, Mr. Carey considered moving to Atlanta.

   That was when he got a call from Ann Taylor. A friend of Mr. Carey's
   gave his resume to the company's creative director. For six months he
   heard nothing. Then, the creative director called. He said, " 'You're
   the only person we're interested in looking at,' " Mr. Carey recalled.
   Even then, he had a series of interviews over six weeks before he was
   offered the job.

   "In New York, I grew up professionally and personally," said Mr.
   Carey, who added that he is now happier than he has ever been. "I was
   determined to not move."

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