Pink-slip Party Etiquette

On a warm summer evening in Manhattan, hundreds of former dot-com workers are huddled inside Hush, a dimly lit bar in the city’s Chelsea district. The occasion is a pink-slip party, held here on the last Wednesday of every month for hopeful laid-off workers and recruiters from Silicon Alley.

At first glance, the event resembles any other New York bar scene: mostly single twenty- and thirtysomethings drinking US$3 tequilas and Bud Lights and listening to house music while eyeing prospective dates.

But upon closer inspection, you see that the partygoers, such as Zachary Nelson, who graduated from Columbia Business School last year, wear colour-coded glow-in-the-dark wristbands: Pink means you’ve been laid off, green signifies that you’re an employer or recruiter, and blue means you’re just here for the ride.

At one end of the room stands a message board, where job hunters like Nelson, who was laid off from his job as an Internet strategist at a New York-based consulting firm in April, can peruse job listings and post their r