I saw an article today at http://www.abcnews.go.com/Business/Story?id=7179157&page=1
discussing how a former stockbroker pretty much lost everything and ended up being a pizza delivery man:'Overwhelming' Reaction to Stockbroker Turned Pizza Man
Ken Karpman Plummeted From a Six-Figure Salary to Earning $7.29 an Hour
By DONNA HUNTER and GAIL DEUTSCH
March 26, 2009
Ken Karpman knows that a reversal of fortune can happen quickly.
After losing his job making $750,000 a year as a stockbroker, he works today as a pizza deliveryman making $7.29 an hour.
Now he is fielding hundreds of job opportunities after being profiled last week on "20/20." Karpman describes the response to his "20/20" appearance as "overwhelming" and estimates he has received at least 300 phone calls, 25 letters and 25 e-mails with potential job offers.
Karpman says he's determined to "strike while the iron is hot"" and convert the media exposure into gainful employment. In the meantime, phone traffic at Mike's Pizza and Deli has skyrocketed.
"For every call for a pizza, there have been 10 calls for me," said Karpman.
For the first 45 years of Karpman's life, everything was close to perfect.
He graduated from UCLA with a bachelor's degree and M.B.A., then got a high-paying job as an institutional equity sales trader. He married his dream girl, had two children and traveled the world on expensive vacations.
Over the span of Karpman's impressive 20-year career as a trader, he climbed the company ladder, reaching a salary of $750,000 a year.
"Life was good, we were making a lot of money -- and why wouldn't this just continue on?" Karpman said.
From all appearances, Ken and Stephanie Karpman were living the American dream in Tampa, Fla., nestled in their 4,000-square-foot home that sits on a golf course. "I had no idea what anything cost in a store," he said. "I'd just put it in the cart and buy."
Karpman was so confident in his good fortune and the strong economy that he left his job in 2005 to start his own hedge fund. To pay for the new business and their standard of living, Karpman quickly burned through $500,000 in savings and, like so many Americans, took a line of credit against his house.
But in the reversal of fortune that followed, Karpman was unable to attract investors and was forced to dissolve his hedge fund. He found himself jobless in a job market that had collapsed.
Turning to Pizza for Help
In the past, Karpman had found it easy to get a job. It wasn't so this time around.
"When I used to go into a job interview, I probably came across as a jerk because I was like interviewing him to see whether this firm was worthy of me," he said. "Now it's kind of like you almost feel like you're coming in with your hat in your hand."
After a lengthy and fruitless job search, the Karpmans were shocked to find themselves in financial dire straits, with zero savings, hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and their home in foreclosure.
Desperate for quick cash, Karpman tried to find a job bartending but came up empty. Finally, he drove his Mercedes to Mike's Pizza & Deli Station in Clearwater and applied for a job. Mike Dodaro, the owner of the pizza shop, said he was shocked when he read his application but he offered him the job despite some reluctance to hire an over-qualified candidate.
Stephanie Karpman said she was more than a little surprised when he came home with his new job, initially saying, "You're kidding me, right?
"Delivering pizzas," she said, "Never in my wildest dreams did I think he'd be doing that."
Karpman's salary plummeted from six figures to $7.29 an hour -- plus tips -- but it's money that he's grateful to earn, even when it means delivering to neighbors or his old office building.
"This whole progression down, it's amazing how many things you say, 'I can't do' and a week later you say, 'Yeah, I could do that,'" he said. "I'm not going to make a career out of this but, until I get something that pays more, this is what I'll do to keep food on the table."
The stress has also taken a toll on their marriage. Stephanie Karpman said she didn't want her husband to leave his trader job in the first place and wishes he would have put more in savings.
"There's no question of where the fault lies," Ken Karpman said. And when it comes to finger-pointing, "I point it in my direction.
"If we didn't have to worry about the lights getting turned off, we can spend more time talking about us."
'I Need a Couple of Wins'
Each day has brought new lows and new lessons in living with a little less "stuff" and a lot more humility.
"The worst thing for me, for both of us probably, was, you know, to go to just friends around here, and say, 'Can I borrow some money?'" he said. "Pizza was a step up."
The Karpmans are now on food stamps and a tight budget that doesn't nearly cover their children's $30,000 private school tuition. But thanks to an anonymous donor, the Karpmans children's tuition has been covered through next year and they are deeply appreciative.
"It's just something that kind of makes you a little misty every time you think about it, that somebody would do this for our kids," he said. "But we'll have a chance at some point to do that for another family."
The family's jet skis now collect dust in the garage near the Mercedes, with its broken transmission they cannot fix. The home they will soon lose has fallen into disrepair.