Jobless Execs Face Tough Lifestyle Changes

He once analyzed multi-billion dollar deals; now Russ Long evaluates: "whites" or "colors."

His work was once "Dealing with customers, clients having problem... resolving problems," Russ tells CBS News correspondent Seth Doane.

"Now I'm doing the laundry!" Russ says, sorting clothes.

Eight-eight thousand finance and insurance jobs have vanished since April - like Russ's. For 21 years, he worked at Standard & Poor's, most recently in mortgage-backed securities - at the very center of the meltdown.

"I'd like to think that there were mistakes made," says Russ, "but I don't think that I took down the economy single-handedly."

The good years were really good - a sprawling suburban New Jersey home and the chance for wife Laura to be a full-time mom. Now, there's uncertainty everywhere.

"Do I stay home with him all day with him?" Laura wonders. "Or is he going to be depressed if I don't stay home with him? Should I go do my stuff?"

"Did you worry about that - him being depressed?" Doane asks.

"I did worry about that - yeah… because I just felt like - that was his livelihood," Laura says.

Along with his livelihood, Russ' severance is almost gone too. So, Laura now trudges off to work as a surgical nurse - making a fraction of what he did.

Russ admits it's all very deflating - driving the car pool and doing the dishes. He wonders when he'll be the provider again.

He says he's sent his resume and applied to couple hundred jobs - and only had five or six interviews.

"Internet postings are almost a total waste of time," says Matt Bud, who heads a group that coaches white-collar workers just like Russ.

He says in-person networking is the key - four out of five jobs are found that way.

In meetings across the country, Bud's group teaches the fine art of the "elevator speech."

"If you think about going down an elevator - you've got about 90 seconds - where you just have a brief amount of time to tell people what it is you do - to sell yourself," Budd says.

But it's a buyer's market. At one New York job fair, 2,400 people swarmed recruiters trying to sell themselves - four times more than the year before. The average job search drags on for more than four months now.

For Russ, it's nine months and counting. Missing the camaraderie as much as the work itself, he regularly meets up with other out-of-work execs.

"Hopefully I'll look back at it with fond memories - of a time that I had to, you know, be closer to my family," he says, sorting laundry. "But, you know, right now there are economic situations that make things, you know, cause me concern."

Another American trying to sort-out the future.
  • Seth Doane

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