Unemployed since November

Was: Director of training at Häagen-Dazs Shoppe Co. for four years

Looking for: A director of operations/training job

Biggest surprise: "How busy I am."

Dave Menter knows all too well that ice cream is expendable. As director of training at Häagen-Dazs Shoppe Co. headquarters in Minneapolis, he also knew he held a job that was not a direct revenue generator. Still, franchising was strong and he was having a busy year when he lost his job in November.

But the timing was lousy. He and his wife were well underway with a complete home remodel. "As my boss was telling me that I'm done, all I could think about was, 'Tonight I'm supposed to meet my wife down at the house to check the progress,'" Menter said.

Because his wife was still working, they decided he should take a few months to shepherd the remodeling project through. So, Menter's weekly 60-hour "work" schedule involves about 25 hours on the house, 25 on an active job search and another 10 in consultation with an outplacement firm. "I'm up earlier now than when I was working," he said.

Menter likes his field, and hopes to find a similar position with similar compensation -- which he described as "the low six figures." That kind of job comes through networking, not computer postings, so he is trying to make as many connections as he can.

He has polished his "exit statement" -- more job-search lingo for quickly covering who you are, what you did and what you want to do -- in response to comments like, "Sorry to hear you got laid off." He's also keeping up on developments in the franchise industry, because he does want to talk about something other than his lack of employment. "It helps with conversations," Menter said. "Otherwise, it would just be so easy to want to close up and talk to nobody at a time like this."