Will Manage for Food

White-collar workers are being laid off at a record pace. So what do they do? Start new businesses, find lower-paying work--and take to the streets

Frank Ruppen was a jet-setting marketing executive dispatched to Australia, Japan and Venezuela by a string of brand-name employers--until the economy soured, and he was dispatched to the street. The Harvard M.B.A. hit the job market with confidence this spring, but after months of rejection, he decided on what he calls "guerrilla tactics." Ruppen, 45, milled around a midtown Manhattan sidewalk in shirtsleeves, spectacles and a sandwich board with 20 other jobless executives last week. Standing firm amid the lunch-break crush, he shouted, "We want work!"

It has come to this. White-collar workers are joining the jobless ranks in record numbers,...

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