LaidOffCamp, Networking The Unemployed

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Looking for work? Go to camp! LaidOffCamp that is. It's a camp for the unemployed, where the laid off look for work, connections, ideas, and maybe a little hope.

Looking for work? Go to camp! LaidOffCamp that is. It’s a camp for the unemployed, where the laid off look for work, connections, ideas, and maybe a little hope.

“It’s been very encouraging because you come here and you meet other people who are in the same situation, but we’re hearing very inspirational ideas about how we can take our skills and create our own opportunities.”
-Gloria Williams, LaidOffCamp Attendee

Gloria is one of many people attending what’s called a summer camp for the laid-off: it’s a place where people can try to find work, learn to start their own business… and maybe just find a sympathetic ear.

“I equate it to, you know, a barn raising in the Amish country where the whole community comes together and helps people out. I just wanted to do something that would give people some hope, instead of sitting around and complaining. You know, get some ideas and get out there and get hired.”
-Rick Tuttle, LaidOffCamp

These camps started in San Francisco and are now spreading around the country. It’s very informal: the attendees of the conference set their agenda and discuss whatever they want. In fact, the agenda isn’t set until the morning of the camp and anyone is welcome to be a presenter. And the cost? Free… including breakfast and lunch.

For people like Gloria, it may not be as good as a job, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

“When you’re by yourself, you tend to get depressed and you feel like there aren’t many opportunities. But when you come here, you get very excited by the ideas that are presented to you. So I’m really glad I came today.”
-Gloria Williams, LaidOffCamp Attendee

Bottom line? Camps like LaidOffCamp can help the laid off discover other options, like becoming self-employed. But if nothing else, they’re a great place to pick up something that for many is in short supply these days: hope.

To find a LaidOffCamp near you, or start a new one, visit

Stacy Johnson

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