My grandson celebrated his 8th birthday last week and as always there was a fabulous birthday party in Gatineau Park. I met lots of interesting people and would really like to keep in touch with some of them; they are doing things that interest me, know things I’d like to know more about, have ideas I’d like to explore. How do I make sure there’s a way to contact them again? I give them my business card and suggest we keep in touch. My business card. Yikes! There’s another thing that is about to disappear, and of course that once again raises the spectre of my own potential disappearance.
I’ve had lots of different business cards in my lifetime and they all provided a frame for knowing who I am. Sometimes they were printed by my employer, with the place of employment taking precedence on the card and providing a range of ways to contact me. These ones were usually white with an identifiable logo of some sort. Then there were the more colourful and artsy ones that I had printed to support other work efforts and ideas I’d pursued over the years: BEST (Bereskin Education Support Teams) or JAMANS (an educational consulting business that grew from my children’s names). Yes, my name and contact info appeared on all of these cards, but more importantly they told you something about what I could do, how I could be of value to you through my work.
So, here’s the conundrum. As the character Hiro Nakamura said in the 2006 TV show Heroes: “I’m different now. I feel I’ve been given a chance to start over. A new life, a new identity. A new purpose”. I don’t want to think about what business opportunities I want to support with a new post-retirement business card. So, what do I need this card for at all?
Bratter and Dennis (in Bratter, Bernice and Dennis, Helen (2008).Project Renewment: The First Retirement Model for Career Women. New York: Scribner) share the words of one of the participants in a Project Renewment group: “Two months into retirement, a woman was asked the dreaded retirement question at the grocery store. “What do you do?” Her reply: “I used to be a stockbroker.” She couldn’t bring herself to say, “I’m retired.” It made her feel invisible. She told women in her Project Renewment group, “Unfortunately, I didn’t have the forethought to have had a card made to reveal my retirement identity.” (p. 39)
Many times I know that I’ll meet people that I want to stay in touch with; people that I want to pursue a passion with or just share a latte with on a sunny afternoon. I need a card that I can give them; a new version of the old concept of calling card. Not the new understanding of this (as in a card you can charge phone calls to) but the old meaning of it: An engraved card bearing one’s full name. Also called visiting card. A distinguishing characteristic or behavior. (www.answers.com) . A card that, when its pulled out of your pocket just before you throw your jeans into the laundry, will speak to you, will say: “yes, I really want to get in touch with her, glad that I had this reminder”.
So, what do I put on that retirement card? It can’t just say Sylvia Bereskin: Retired Person. Might as well just print “old fart” on the card if I’m going to do that. It can’t look back at what I once was; it has to reflect who I am now. I’m thinking of a card in some beautiful colours with my name and contact info and a few words that will remind you who I am: dreamer, planner, doer.
- Did you print a post-retirement calling card? What does it say on it?
- Any other ideas for how to manage without a businiess card and not disappear?