Business cards from the company that laid you off are like love letters from an ex; they hold bitter memories of better days, but what are you supposed to do with them?
Tom Van Daele knows: He’s started a website, Cardsofchange.com, where people write new messages on their old business cards. Lila Hanft from Ohio got canned by her local newspaper when the recession hit and now typed on her defunct card is the message, “No more cubicle hell. I’m working at my kitchen counter. Shoes are optional.”
Dave Turner of Toronto scratched out his old details and scrawled: “Buh-bye! Decided to do something for ME!”
Van Daele, a California marketer, was himself laid off. That led him to follow his dream of starting his own agency, Uknown Lab.
“The site is dedicated to collecting business cards and stories of positive change from people who have recently been laid off, and to connect them with new opportunities from potential employers, business partners and people who make the effort to look on the bright side of life,” Van Daele explains.
Being let go can be a great opportunity, as the cards show. “People who are laid off are forced to rethink, to reinvent, and most of the time when I talk to those people, they’re like, ‘How in the world could I have stayed three or four more years at that place?’” Van Daele says. “We’re all in the same boat. Life will sort itself out.”
When you fulfill your dream and are perhaps back at a job, go green, says Bernard Hellen, head of Ontario’s Traffic Marketing, who produces The World’s Greenest Business Card.
“The idea was born at a recent green-networking event I attended when someone handed me a business card which said, ‘We’re the cleanest, greenest, meanest thing under the sun,’ and they handed me a laminate business card. I looked at this piece of plastic and I thought, what an amazing disconnect,” Hellen recalls. “As an environmental company, if you’re going to talk the talk, you have to walk the walk.”
His cards are made in Canada of entirely of recycled paper, meaning no new trees are harmed and the environmental impact is limited. “It looks just like your (ordinary) business card; it’s just produced in a smart, sustainable, ethical way.”
To top it off, Hellen will plant a tree for every order, via Trees Ontario. Check it out at Theworldsgreenestbusinesscard.com.