Unemployed since October

Was: CEO of Global Scholarship Alliance, which he founded in 2001

Looking for: Consulting work in health care and nonprofits

Biggest surprise: "When one of my business partners said, 'We need to cut back on resources, and you're the resource we're cutting back on.'"

Todd Bol was let go last fall from his own company -- by the very investors he had invited in, trading a 90 percent stake for their cash infusion. Bol had created Global Scholarship Alliance in 2001 as a recruiting company with a twist. For a typical staffing fee to hospitals, the company brings in nurses from such far-flung places as India and the Philippines and covers their graduate studies -- so that they are qualified to return home as instructors and help address a global shortage of nurses.

Bol was devastated when his partners told him to close his Hudson, Wis., office and move to Cincinnati or leave. "I thought that company would be the highlight of my life," he said.

Emotional reactions piled up, like flinching at the standard employer line -- "He's no longer with us" -- that he has heard and used for the newly unemployed. "It sounds like you've died," he said.

Bol intends to reinvent himself as a consultant on creative economic models that he pitches as replacing charity with self-sustaining systems -- as in the old aphorism about helping the hungry with fishing lessons instead of a few fish. He's hoping to exceed his former compensation of about $100,000 a year, so that he and his family can stay put in their home overlooking the St. Croix River.

He is contacting philanthropies, foundations and nonprofits that are familiar with Global Scholarship. He is in talks with one philanthropist about creating a self-sustaining hospital in Sri Lanka -- where patients "pay" for care by helping build roads or schools, for example. Bol believes that consulting work may even be a good fit for his entrepreneurial bent: "My skill is in creating something, not organizing and managing," he said.