On the Rebound, Laid-Off Dot-Commers Look to Nonprofits

According to a recent article in Wired News, an increasing number of laid-off dot-commers are rediscovering a sense of purpose, not to mention job security, in the nonprofit sector.

"I get unsolicited resumes for former dot-commers now, which is great," said Rena Convissor, a vice president at the D.C.-based Center for the Advancement of Health. "Of course, it's hard to know if they really want to give back to their communities or they're just desperate." But Convissor's not about to look a gift horse in the mouth. "Their creativity and computer skills are a true asset to a nonprofit, and things like developing a better Web site means that we can save money on mailings in the long run."

Other nonprofit and volunteer-run organizations are appealing specifically to laid-off dot-commers. Recently, for example, the Peace Corps launched a newspaper ad campaign in San Francisco that read, "Dot-Com, Dot Gone? Now it's time to network with the real world: Peace Corps."

While many former dot-commers working in the nonprofit sector are nonplussed by its lower salaries and often-obsolete equipment, some find that working for a cause can compensate for such shortcomings. "I decided to leave my higher-paying Web master job at a software company for a nonprofit before the big dot-com crash because I wanted my job to have more purpose than making some middle-aged CEO wealthier," said Danette St. Onge, a 25-year-old manager of the Exploratorium, a nonprofit science museum in San Francisco. "And I delighted in the fact that four out of five of the dot-com companies I interviewed at while considering the Exploratorium were bankrupt within a few months."

Jana Reena. "The New Dot-Altruism" Wired News 03/30/2001.