He gave up a luxury condominium that came with a concierge service, and he recently moved into an Antioch apartment with his sister. Though living more modestly, he has exhausted a life savings of more than $100,000.
When he bought a new suit for interviews, he had to ask his dad to pay for it.
Once a high-flying executive, the 47-year-old recently accepted temporary work in Portland, Tenn., at a fraction of his previous salary after going 18 months with no offers. He's still searching for something permanent.
"At this point, I'm so far beyond trying to find the perfect job," said Thompson, who was vice president of project planning at Ingram Book in Nashville before he moved to Atlanta to further his career. Or so he thought.
He's back in Nashville now an example of how a rising tide of job losses has encompassed even the once-well-paid professional.
This, economists say, has been an equal-opportunity recession.
"From laborers and lawyers to plumbers and professors, they've all lost jobs," economist Sean Snaith at the University of Central Florida said. "It's reached across the socio-economic strata and across white- and blue-collar workers."
Highly compensated executives and managers usually fare better than lower-level workers when it comes to finding and keeping jobs, but labor data suggest that they're feeling the pain, too, as Tennessee's statewide unemployment rate edged higher to 10.9 percent in December. The rate in the broader Nashville area was reported at 9.4 percent last week.CEOs on the rocks
The jobless rate for chief executives averaged 3.4 percent in the third quarter of 2009. That's well below the U.S. unemployment rate of 10 percent but higher than the 2.1 percent jobless rate for CEOs in the third quarter of 2003.
Likewise, unemployment for all management workers stood at 5.1 percent in the third quarter, versus 3.4 percent in 2003.(2 of 4)
Real Estate Outlook: Strong Sales PredictedSouth’s jobless seek work in Tennessee