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For Ex-Cons and Laid-off Execs Alike, Dim Job Hopes

In the next in his series on making sense of the financial news, economics correspondent Paul Solman reports on those in society -- such as executives or ex-convicts -- who are struggling to find employment.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    And next tonight, some perspective on finding work in a bad job market. It comes from some people that our economics correspondent, Paul Solman, first introduced us to in a story earlier this month. His latest report is another in his ongoing series of making sense of financial news.

  • PAUL SOLMAN:

    Unemployed engineer Peter Sturdivant, convening an executive networking group meeting in suburban Chicago. It starts with a report on how much time was spent job-hunting the prior week.

  • JOHN FRECH:

    I had a pretty good week last week. I had 37 hours invested in job search.

  • PAUL SOLMAN:

    John Frech lost his auditing job in January, Barbara Tomczak, her human resources job in February 2008.

  • BARBARA TOMCZAK:

    For the 20 hours I spent on LinkedIn, I was able to garner a phone interview out of that, and now I actually have a face-to-face interview scheduled this week.

  • JOB-SEEKER:

    I had my usual good numbers, as far as hours were concerned. I had 65.

  • PAUL SOLMAN:

    Laid-off executives all, mainly in manufacturing and banking, they've been out of work on average almost a year, networking like mad. We taped them for a story on the undercounting of unemployment and were impressed by how candidly they spoke about just how tough it is out there these days.

  • JOHN FRECH:

    The agenda item I have is how to secure a conversation with a contact that we've been given. It's just I just can't break through.

  • JOHN LEONE:

    Well, what you need to do is catch them in the parking lot as he's going home in the evening.

  • BARBARA TOMCZAK:

    Yes, stalk him. That's the idea. Yes, that'll work.

  • PAUL SOLMAN:

    Former I.T. executive Bharath Tolappa said he'd honed this particular craft.

    Exactly what is your stalking technique?

  • BHARATH TOLAPPA:

    I could've tried to reach a person through as many as, you know, a dozen people.

  • PAUL SOLMAN:

    A dozen people, and then how many e-mails might you have sent?

  • BHARATH TOLAPPA:

    Probably four dozen e-mails.

  • PAUL SOLMAN:

    Four dozen e-mails, and then how many phone messages would you have left?

  • BHARATH TOLAPPA:

    Probably, you know, about 24 messages. In many of those cases, I'm still waiting.

  • PAUL SOLMAN:

    How much more demoralizing can you get? Or as ex-financial executive Chris Demaio put it…

  • CHRIS DEMAIO:

    No one's really interested in talking with us.

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