CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

HolidayBuyer's Guide

Gathering in SF

Hundreds show up

LaidOffCamp founder Chris Hutchins

Chris Hutchins on stage

Post-it note schedule

Doing business

Attendee Lexie Tillotson

Varied panels

Pursuing start-up businesses

Filmmaker David Bowsky

Job fair 2.0

Pat Moore, co-founder of Amplafi

BigEar's Michael Pordes

Lee Clark at LaidOffCamp

Resume 2.0 session

Raines Cohen on co-working

Laura Capuzzi

The un-conference

Questions and answers

Jonathan Iger

LaidOffCamp panels

Lydia Schembri

Speakers at LaidOffCamp

LaidOffCamp wrap-up

LaidOffCamp, held during daylight hours Tuesday at the Temple night club in downtown San Francisco, was an ad-hoc gathering of unemployed and self-employed people seeking to share ideas and learn from one other.

Volunteers, speakers, and sponsors came together to facilitate networking and information exchange among hundreds of recently unemployed people.

Another 16 such events are preliminarily scheduled across the nation, with the next one set for Friday in Dallas.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET Networks

Starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday, hundreds of people packed the night club, where the free coffee and bagels ran out quickly.

Dozens of panels ran throughout the day. Some of the workshops were planned presentations, some were question-and-answer forums, and others were thrown together at the last minute.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET Networks
In November, LaidOffCamp founder Chris Hutchins moved to San Francisco, only to lose his job with consulting firm Monitor Group one month later. In January, he conceived and organized LaidOffCamp as a sort of support group and resource for the unemployed.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET Networks
Hutchins sees LaidOffCamp as an entrepreneurial endeavor and says he wants to use his consulting experience to help others forge new connections and find work.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET Networks

The Post-it note schedule at LaidOffCamp might look unorganized, but many attendees found the un-conference quite productive.

Among the topics covered: living on a budget, building your personal brand, finding a job/work in the downturn, learning to freelance/consult, and tracking down affordable health insurance.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET Networks
Not everyone there was laid off. The crowd also included entrepreneurs and recruiters looking to find talent and incubate ideas among the castaways of the turbulent economy.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET Networks
Attendee Lexie Tillotson has been sending out 30 resumes a week for months and has received just one response. Like others, she is looking for ways to expand her job search.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET Networks
Some panel discussions focused on managing your health or finding new methods for job searches. Others presented ways to pitch start-up ideas and attract funding.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET Networks
Far from depressing and worrisome, many LaidOffCamp attendees see their situation as an opportunity to pursue start-up businesses. The conference offered a wide exchange of ideas in a casual environment.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET Networks
Media professional and indie filmmaker David Bowsky was laid off from Nolo Press in November 2008 and is seeking new opportunities in film.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET Networks
Temple night club's decor lent itself to the quirky job fair, which was dubbed a sort of job fair 2.0. LaidOffCamp offered job seekers ideas in a collaborative environment, mixing social networking with discussions about the tools one needs to succeed amid the downturn.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET Networks
Searching for hope, some, like Pat Moore, co-founder of Amplafi, came to LaidOffCamp to recruit workers for their tech firms and start-ups.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET Networks
In addition to searching for work, Michael Pordes, a laid-off senior product manager, is using his time to focus on his recently founded start-up, BigEar.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET Networks
Lee Clark of the Sonoma County IT Co-Op was looking to recruit IT workers at the conference.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET Networks
Dale Larson led the Resume 2.0 session in the basement of the Temple night club. Larson said that in the era of the Internet, your resume isn't just a piece of paper, but rather the sum of your online presence on sites such as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET Networks
Raines Cohen, a co-working coach, spoke at a panel on the benefits of sharing work spaces.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET Networks
Laura Capuzzi, once a contract worker at Google AdWords, was laid off in January.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET Networks

In late January, Hutchins' event had only 26 confirmed attendees on Facebook.

Getting the word out via Twitter, the LaidOffCamp wiki, Upcoming.org, and Facebook, the event had 293 confirmed attendees the day of the conference.

In the end, more than 600 showed up.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET Networks
In addition to the panels and discussions, representatives were on hand from health care organizations, office co-ops, and recruiting firms.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET Networks
Jonathan Iger, representing New Gotham Media, came to LaidOffCamp in search of new hires and found the conference buzzing with qualified people laid off from San Francisco Bay Area companies.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET Networks
Upstairs, financial planning services and consulting sessions were offered. Job loss can have long-term effects on financial stability far greater than simply the loss of a steady paycheck.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET Networks
Lydia Schembri, a life coach, came to LaidOffCamp to offer her service for free.

Looking at the upside of the downturn, Schembri sees this time of flux as an opportunity for people to explore themselves and gain new perspectives on life.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET Networks
Similar LaidOffCamp events are being organized in cities throughout the United States.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET Networks
After LaidOffCamp camp ended, Hutchins' Twitter feed (@hutchins) was updated: "In terms of things going through my mind and # of people met, today was the busiest day of my life, #LaidOffCamp was a success, so worth it!"
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET Networks
Updated:
Up Next
Dead tech walking: 2017's casualtie...
24