While I was sorting out some old books to get rid of recently (I only managed to force myself to get rid of about a dozen or so) I came across an old business card of mine that had been used as a bookmark.
To be honest, most of my business cards from that, or any other, time got used more as bookmarks than as business cards. We could only order them in boxes of 100 and before many were used either your job would change, or the company would reorganise and your division would change, or the company name would change. I think that only particularly prolific salesmen ever had to re-order.
I used to get mine with my home address and phone number on the back so at least they had some shelf-life for personal purposes.
Judging by the logo, this one was probably late 80′s or maybe early 90′s and two things stand out for me. First of all the telephone number – we still had 01 for London so it was before the changes to 071/081 and 0208 and whatever they have now up in that London. The other thing was the email address, or lack of email address.
I think we had email then, but it was internal. Even when we got internet mail addresses it took a while for people to start putting them on cards because nobody really used it. There was a Telex number on there though, and note that the fax number is on an extension.
Younger people might wonder how you could fax to an extension, but of course back then you used to talk to people before you actually sent a fax – you would have to ask them what type of fax machine they had and make sure your one was set up the same. Possibly you had to agree on a baud rate to use – all the handshaking stuff that later fax machines would do automatically.
Add those technological remininscences to the personal and career memories, there is a lot of wistful nostalgia associated with this one tatty bit of card. I think I will hang on to it and the next time I get users complaining that they found themselves unable to access email from the back seat of a taxi in Indonesia or something I shall look at it and an inner calm will descend as I remember that we would spend weeks at a time on trips overseas without any real connection back home at all.