When a company goes belly-up, the rank and file say their good-byes and begin job hunting. But what about the staff of a Web-based outfit, who depend on a virtual environment for their livelihood?
They're reborn in a new cyber-incarnation, of course. That's what happened at Nets Inc., a Web-based company specializing in on-line commerce that declared bankruptcy in May. Two days after former CEO Jim Manzi made the announcement, software engineer Kevin Jarnot created a Web site to help the 200 or so laid-off workers find new jobs. "When we got Manzi's good-bye letter, we broke out the scotch and started toasting each other," recalls Jarnot. "After one glass, I volunteered to build the Web site."
Jarnot created a bulletin board where recruiters could post job opportunities and employees could ask questions like "Will I receive my last paycheck?" He also compiled a directory of employees' names and E-mail addresses and gave his former colleagues the option of posting their résumés on-line.
The Web site quickly became a hot spot for headhunters. "I would put down the phone, and there would be three more calls from recruiters," says Jarnot. Today Jarnot, along with most of Nets's former employees, have returned to work under the company's new owner, Perot Systems, in Dallas. But the site is still up and running. "I'll probably leave it up forever as a memorial to the fallen company," he says.