Jobs: Going Out In Style

When Sharron Kahn Luttrell learned she was getting laid off last month, her boss insisted on throwing her one of those awkward, cake-in-a-conference-room fetes. Luttrell had another idea: an unemployment shower, fashioned after bridal or baby showers. Some people brought Rolodex cards with contacts for her job hunt. Some brought samples of standout resumes. Says Luttrell, who wrote about it in The Boston Globe: "I wanted [an event] that was really practical that would send me off with something to help me build my future." With the economy still idling, experts say layoffs will likely continue, creating more guests of honor if the shower concept catches on. It wouldn't work everywhere, says outplacement consultant Bob Gardella, since many companies send layoff victims out the door immediately. But Diane Zielinski, an unemployed Rochester, N.Y., marketing executive, says the idea needn't be confined to offices. She envisions showers thrown by friends, with music ("Take This Job and Shove It") and maybe pin-the-tail-on-the-boss. What to bring if you're invited to one? Nancy Collamer, author of "The Layoff Survival Guide," suggests an I.O.U. to take the person to lunch a few weeks into her job hunt. Beyond the free meal, "what people really need the most of is your time, your attention, your help," she says.