Some 40 of the white-collar unemployed came to a recent Wednesday morning meeting of Resource Dallas, a networking group for financial professionals and attorneys, in a basement room of the Wilshire Baptist Church, 4316 Abrams.

All but a couple of the financial professionals were men. The seven attorneys, who split off and conducted their networking in another room, were mostly women. Almost everyone wore business dress, spiffed up as if going on an interview. As they introduced themselves around the room, almost all had master’s degrees and extensive experience in their field – in many cases from 12 to 30 years.

Unless there is a drastic upturn in the economy,moderator Drew Dorsey says, the two-year-old group seems likely to continue its weekly meetings indefinitely. It had 93 unemployed professionals on its roster this summer, with new addendums being printed monthly. Dorsey is one of them, unemployed for nine months.

They sipped coffee, thumbed through stacks of flyers and resource books, then met for two hours on the usual subject: finding work.

After a spiritual message from a church member, the meetings began with a heart-felt testimonial from a recent “graduate,” Barry Hickman.

“I found a position as a controller after a nine-month search,” Hickman told the group. “It would never have happened had it not been for Resource Dallas. I was really starting to panic. I want to say to all of you, work hard, don’t get discouraged. Don’t dig a hole and crawl in it. Something will break. Thanks to all of you for befriending me and sharing your job leads with me.”

Dorsey prodded members to ask the group for inside knowledge of companies in which they were interested. Several did, and often, another member would answer: “I know someone there. See me at the break.”

“Those of you who saw the ad in the Wall Street Journal for the EDS consulting position, don’t respond unless you know someone inside,” Dorsey said. “They’ve received 5,000 resumes, and they’ve stopped answering the phone.”

George Giles, who runs an out-placement business and volunteers to help the group, spoke for 45 minutes on job-finding techniques.

“One fellow was taking out his garbage,” Giles said, “and the garbage man asked him why he was home during the day. He told him he had been laid off, and what his field was. The garbage man said his brother in Phoenix was putting together a company and needed people who did that. The garbage man brought him the number the next time he came around and the guy got a job with his brother’s company. So don’t pass up any opportunity to network.”

For information about Resource Dallas, or to offer the group a job lead, call 407-HIRE.


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