Human Collateral: Real Layoffs, Real Damage; Share Your Stories

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Welcome to Human Collateral, a weekly column that explores the real-life side of the Wall Street fallout. This is the place to read about the often gritty and graphic blood-and-guts realities of the largest financial catastrophe in memory. The way I see it, there are already plenty of sources for jobless rates, unemployment trends and sector news. Here we'll look at what's going on person-by-person, job search by job search.

I hope this won't all be devastating tales, however. While I suspect Wall Street's job forecast may be worse than many pundits predict, we'll explore strategies and techniques others are using to cope successfully, persevere, and launch new careers - and even find new jobs.

But for this to work, I need you to share. Send me your experiences. Tell me what you see in the market, in the office, in your neighborhood. Let me know what keeps you up at night. Are the economists keeping it real, or are they overly optimistic? Do we deserve this mess, or are we victims of greater forces?

Most importantly, read. Let me know what you think. Post comments here to connect with others who know what it's like to walk in your shoes, no matter how hard the slogging has been.

Emma Johnson is a New York based journalist who writes about money, business and finance for publications including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur, Forbes, MSN Money and others. Reach her at emma@emma-johnson.net.

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