[Just so you know, you’ll have to click on the graphics to see them properly. Ah, technology…]
I have now had roughly a gazillion people tell me I need to have a business card. Long ago, I had one for my freelancing stuff – but then all my contact information changed. Since I’d never really found much use for them (I had a ton of my old ones left over), I just let it go.
But now people say that I need a card. Not for freelancing, but for my job search.
Yes. I need a card for a job that I need to have.
At the book shop, I’ve always just written my name on the back of our bookmarks. The bookmarks have all my contact information at the shop on them, and no one expects booksellers to be especially slick.
My resistance may be born from past attendance at telecom trade shows. For reasons that in retrospect seem unclear, I used to go to a lot of these. They suck. If I ever tell you that I’m going to a conference for telecom stuff again, shoot me in the head. It will be the kindest thing.
At those sorts of uber-boring gatherings, guys in suits who think they’re cool (take a high-school bully, put him in an off-the-rack grey blend, send him to college and remove some of his hair: you have the man I am talking about) hold out their business cards to you while scanning the room over your shoulder, looking for a client with more money. This fails to charm. And here’s where the cards are these fellows’ downfall: They think you don’t notice them looking behind you for a fatter mark. They think you are looking at their card.
So: we come to the ugly bit, where I ask myself, along with every other under-employed generalist on the planet, what the heck do I put on my card?
“Highlight your strengths and duties at your present job,” I hear all you What Color Is Your Parachute* readers saying. Ok:
That doesn’t mean I’m overworked. That is just indie bookselling. And it is (except for the toilet fixing part) great fun. I bet you thought we sat around and read all day, didn’t you?
The point is that no card is big enough. And if I were to get a variety of cards, each highlighting a different skill, I would wind up with a set of 52 (collect ‘em all!**).
What to do? I could get a card that just says my name and contact information. Like an old fashioned calling card. But then I’d feel like I was living in a Henry James novel. Also, I’d have to learn to turn down various corners to signify different things, as they did in Victorian England.*** And we’d all have to go out and buy silver salvers for people to leave them on, and the purchase of a silver salver would necessitate me having a job that paid more, so you see where this is going.
Besides, if my card had nothing but my name on it, people would retrieve it from the depths of their wallets and purses and briefcases and say sad things like, “who’s this?” and “So what?”
There is a school of thought that advocates putting one’s photograph on one’s card. Realtors do it all the time. It makes sense, since when you’re looking for a realtor, you probably talk to more than one and with their photos there, you can remember which was which. There are also people who think you should put your photo on personal cards. One of these people runs a matchmaking service and writes books.**** I think having a photo on a personal card makes someone looking for a “match” seem as though they are looking for something offering more concrete remuneration, but maybe that’s just me.
Do feel free to comment. The great What Should Mary Put on Her Card debate is open to all (but remember: this is a family show). In the mean time, I give you:
*Yes, the banner at the top does say, “The Hard Times Edition.” Kind of makes you want to take to drink, doesn’t it? http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781580089876
**And for fun geeky-ness (I mean that in a good way) check out: “Collect all 21: Memoirs of a Star Wars Geek” at http://fieldsedge.com/wordpress/?page_id=155
***For more on this, see the Etiquette Grrls, who are funny and snarky and are determined to teach the world a thing or two whether we like it or not.You can find this book at: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780425183700
****Patty Stanger, who has a show on BRAVO came up with this idea. God help us all: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781416597711