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Laid off? Don't pitch your business card.

Courtesy of Cardsofchange.com

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The business card – that trusty pre-Internet networking device – was losing relevance even before the economy tanked. Now that recession has pushed so any Americans out of work, millions of those cardboard curios are hitting the trash bin.

But some former employees are finding a new use for them. Scratching out their former job titles and phone numbers, they update their business cards with a message about the perks of unemployment. Then they scan or photograph the cards and upload the images to a new website, Cardsofchange.com.

"I've planned my daughter's wedding!" writes one jobless card writer.

"Became a volunteer @ Read for Kids" and "ended up volunteering on Galapagos Islands for five months," two others write.

Finding the positive

Some card authors embrace the jobless experience: "More time to exercise"; "More time, energy, and inspiration. Priceless."

Others tout their newest venture: "Decided to launch a new business & launch a natural insect repellent!"

The website, launched in May by advertising firm unknownlab, based in Santa Monica, Calif., dubs itself "the positive face of the recession" and allows anyone to upload a business card for free. The creators of the site hope this form of self-promotion will help people find new employment opportunities. So far, around 90 people have uploaded their cards. "A lot of people say this is great to show that you aren't giving up and it's exactly what the world needs – or what laid-off people need," says Tom Van Daele, founder and creative director of unknownlab.

New book

The cards are the subject of an upcoming book due out later this year and will be featured in a documentary focused on people who have found positive change in their lives after being laid off, Mr. Van Daele says.

Since its launch, Van Daele has hired three of the business-card writers as freelancers for unknownlab. He says he knows of no one who's gotten a full-time job as a result of posting a card on the website.

But for now, let's try to focus on the positive, shall we?

– Guest blogger Amy Farnsworth is a Monitor staff writer.


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