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$ign Of The Times: "Pink Slip Parties"

A new trend on Wall Street and elsewhere has people who are out of work gathering at "pink slip parties."

They're for the recently laid off, and not-so-recently, reports Early Show financial contributor Vera Gibbons.

Job hunters show up and, in some such get togethers, put on brightly-colored bracelets. At a party Gibbons went to, pink was for job seekers, green for career coaches and recruiters.

Attendees mingle to get career advice, network, and commiserate.

With any luck, people walk out with a couple new contacts and career tips.

Gibbons suggests workers who lose their jobs move on and not dwell on their old positon or situation. Don't bad-mouth your employer: Stay positive! That period is over, Gibbons points out, and there are new chapters ahead.

Layoffs force you to think about what is it you really want to be doing.

Once you've figured that out, get out there and network-- 65 percent of people get jobs through personal contacts, recruiters say.

If you're worried about losing your job, Gibbons advises hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. Accoding to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, the average job search is lasting five months now, and even longer in some sectors. You should set up an emergency fund containing money to cover at least six months of expenses. Put that money in a basic money market account. That way, you're not dipping into your 401k or maxing out credit cards if you suddenly find ourself out of work. Start looking around now so, if you do get the ax, you're not starting from scratch. It's also a good time -- while you're employed -- to invest in yourself: Update your resume and skills.

Those who work in a manufacturing or service business tied directly to consumer spending are most vulnerable to layoff, Gibbons says, including workers in the auto industry, construction, retail, financial services, travel, and restaurants.

No one is immune to the downturn, she adds, but you can breathe a little easier if you work in education, healthcare, or businesses that focus on defense or homeland security.

You're also less likely to get the ax if you're either making your co money or saving it money.

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