Tuesday, November 10, 2009
This is a fascinating read and, fortunately, for those who were formerly WSJ subscribers and have had to cut back lately, the story is in the free section of the online paper.
Paul Joegriner hasn't worked since March 2008, when he was laid off from his $200,000-a-year job as chief executive officer of a small bank. But you wouldn't know it by appearances.Wow - almost 200 comments over at the WSJ. While I haven't read them, my guess is they are an equal mix of sympathetic views and those thinking Mr. Joegriner should make his own coffee now that he's about down to his last few dollars.
His wife, Marzena, shuttles their two young children to private school every morning. The family recently vacationed in Virginia Beach, Va., and likes to dine on Porterhouse steaks. Since losing his job, Mr. Joegriner, 44 years old, has had several offers. He's turned each down in hopes of landing a position comparable to what he held before.
The family's lifestyle over the past year and a half has been propped up by a $200,000 severance package and another $100,000 in savings -- funds the family has burned through rapidly. By Mr. Joegriner's own calculations, the family will be out of money in six months if he doesn't find work.
"It will be D-Day," he says. "But on the outside, no one has any idea that we're in trouble."
Mr. Joegriner is a member of what might be called the severance economy -- unemployed Americans who use severance pay and savings to maintain their lifestyles. Many lost their jobs in 2007 and 2008, and thought they'd soon find work. Now, they're getting desperate.