If you're unemployed (and a record number of people are), would you pay $8 for a burger?
How about if it came with a side order of networking?
We found plenty of out of work Silicon Valley types willing to do just that, and making the most of their afternoon. A group called (fittingly) ProMatch organized the Barbeque, specifically to bring tech types together to meet each other, and find their next jobs. It's amazing what a nametag and a plate of food can do to make an otherwise nerve-wracking process (meeting strangers) smooth and easy.
One of about 120 people we found on the lawn in Sunnyvale eating, TJ Sims was an electrical engineer. She admits that meeting new people is difficult for her, but that "an event like this make it much more comfortable." Sure enough, we found TJ sitting among about a dozen others, talking shop, and making contacts.
With the number of people out of work reaching ever higher, it's tough to find an advantage. How about breaking the ice with a group of your fellow techies, some of whom might be able to help you get that next gig?
Pass the ketchup.