LAID OFF: And loving it?

While the very people who built Web 2.0 are being ushered out the door by industry conglomorates focused on shoring up bottom line profits, many newly-christened jobless techies are finding the social networking sites they helped to create are offering them invaluable refuge as unemployed.
Wired.com reports Chris Hutchins, laid off in September 2008, used Twitter and a Wiki to spread the word about LaidOffCamp, a free, day-long seminar style meetup for technology workers recently handed pink slips.
Held last week, more than 300 folks came out to the event, including reporters from The New York Times and CBS.
The camp was an opportunity for people to network, discuss business ideas and look for new jobs.
Attendee's backgrounds were diverse -- IT consultants, Web designers, freelancers and programmers all made it out to the event -- but many said they found they had one thing in common ... Yeah, it sucks not getting a paycheck, and, sure, you've gotta tighten your belt a little, but hey ... unemployment's not all bad.

"Getting laid off is an opportunity to find what you're passionate about," says Hutchins. "And not only what you're passionate about, but how you can leverage that passion to sustain yourself."
As more and more tech workers are forced to face that great question — "What do I do next?" — the most enterprising among them are revisiting the goals they once abandoned in favor of a high-paying tech job. By putting their web-savvy skills to use, they're finding success.

The article continues ...

For others, their new-found freedom has led to real business opportunities doing what they love.

LaidOffCamp attendee Jeff Steinmetz put his audio and photo production company Urge Productions on the back burner to take a job as an editorial director at a start-up. When that job evaporated, Steinmetz resurrected his old business and returned to composing and producing music for a living."

After the wave of reductions in work force, it has been great to follow my passion," he says, "and re-focus on the arts with my production company."

The advent of social networking and Twitter certainly has revolutionized the way we use the Web in the past several years. When (if?) the economy begins to recover in a few months (years?) it will be interesting to look back at our Web 2.0 footprints and note some of the more innovative ways folks helped each other out in these hard times.

Hutchins seems to be off to a good start. As to what's next for LaidoffCamp? Possibly a stop in NYC. Bring it on I say!

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