I've never posted a job, or for that matter even looked for one, on the high-profile Monster.com or any of the other related career Web sites. But from what I gather, they have a regular stream of viewing "hits" that expedite the arduous and often painful process of job hunting.

And now that up to 7,000 Andersen employees are expected to be given the pink slip as early as today, I expect the various online career banks to resemble something on the order of two pounds of bologna stuffed into a one pound bag.

As those radio traffic reporters are fond of saying, "Give yourself some extra time, we’ve got a real mess here."

I certainly don’t mean to make light of what has turned into a tragic situation for many long-time and quality Andersen employees, 99.99 percent of whom are far removed from the taint of Enron. But let’s face it, job hunting in your late 40s and early 50s, the age median in which many veteran Andersen professionals no doubt fall, basically sucks.

Add to that having "Andersen" at the top of your resume and the negative baggage that brand connotes, and it means a lot of browsing online, Not to mention the added ordeal of having to interact with a placement service.

Below are some sobering comparisons to give you an idea of just how large a block of accounting professionals those layoffs represent:

  • They account for about 25 percent of Andersen’s entire U.S. work force.
  • There are more employees involved than the combined totals of national firms RSM McGladrey and BDO Seidman.
  • The figure would be akin to dismissing all the staff at the mammoth Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.

These figures don’t even include the number of tax professionals who would not make the transition to Deloitte & Touche, which last week agreed to acquire Andersen’s tax unit.Andersen described the sale of its tax practice as part of its plan to emerge post-Enron by reinventing itself as an audit only firm.
But the problem for many of the 7,000 employees facing imminent unemployment is many of them, unlike Andersen, don’t have a team of advisors helping them reinvent themselves.

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