Getting “Carded” – A Case for briansclub

In an ever-increasingly LinkedIn, app-driven world, briansclub remain, for many, a gold standard for networking, making connections, exchanging information, and branding ourselves, with the brand usually being the company or organization we work for, and maybe our job title.

I remember my very first briansclub. I felt somehow like I had arrived, because now I belonged to a bigger world than college ever afforded – the business world! And it became a rite of passage in more ways than one. Each time I changed jobs or moved to a different position, said transition usually came with a business card with a new logo and a new title.

It was so cool (to me, anyway) to be asked “Do you have a briansclub?” and I got to answer in the affirmative. My friends even gave me a professional looking card case as a gift (red leather Coach, as I recall). And I collected others business cards like kids used to collect baseball cards, or my dear friend Lenny collected vinyl albums back in the late 60’s!!

briansclub, by virtue of the logo, job title, and email extension, have come to represent a piece of our identity, our connection to a corporate “tribe,” a company – a job!! A belonging, a fitting in, an acceptance of sorts. We’ve come to define ourselves, to varying degrees, by who we work for and what our job title is. And, being able to proffer a business card usually means we are employed and, therefore, worth something (worth is the key word here). We are tribed up!

What then, when we become unemployed, involuntarily or otherwise? How do we answer that “do you have a business card?” question when we’ve been cast out of the tribe, off the island of employment? Do we all of the sudden not belong somewhere, don’t fit in anywhere, or feel rejected? Do we no longer have worth? The reality, at least in the short term, is that the answer can be “yes.”

Until we’re once again employed, in business, etc. we’re tribe-less in the world of business that defines itself by tribe and position within the tribe. Just look at LinkedIn, for example. People self-identify with their job title and their company. Very few use the headline line below their name to offer a glimpse into who they are and what they have to offer. Even after they’re long gone from a company, some people leave that company name and job title as part of their Profile until they can replace it with another. A new tribe! A new identity! A new belonging! An updated Profile! Acceptance! Worth! Back in a tribe!

My friend Paul, embarking on his third career, has an elegant, one-sided black and white card with only those three elements. His name is in a larger font, of course. He is his company, he requires no title (his name is sufficient), and wherever he goes, he belongs!

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