While members of the Austin chapter of the Company of Friends, Fast Company's readers network, haven't seen Jeff Mills, the Dude on the Corner, out and about around town, a recent email exchange between local members has touched on the state of Austin's business community — and the potential of Mills' job-search "strategy." Here are some of the highlights:
Jeff Mills is a 35-year-old out-of-work programmer with two masters degrees in Austin, Texas. Since being laid off by Wiley-ValuSource in June 2002, he's been volunteering for SRG — and sitting on various street corners around the city; working at a desk outfitted with a PC, wireless network, cell phone, and signs; and hoping to attract a potential employer's attention. Looking for a job for the past 18 months, Mills and his family have sold their house, their car — even their childrens' toys — to make ends meet. Is the downturn that bad?