Ijustgotfired.com: Your inbox to go

Misery has plenty of company in the Web world: A new site helps displaced dot-commers stay in touch

When Mabel Hooper lost her job producing Web pages for an online design company two weeks ago, she didn't get mad. She got busy.

Refusing to slip into a dot-bomb malaise, the 29-year-old contractor brainstormed with friends and launched ijustgotfired.com, an email forwarding service for former dot-commers.

"We thought 'Wouldn't it be funny if there was some email address for people who just got fired?'" said Hooper, who started the site with fellow webmaster Alec Bennett.

When a company calls it quits, most employees barely have enough time to clean out their desks, let alone scramble to exchange email addresses.

"It's really just a huge goof in a lot of ways," Hooper said.

"But it's a goof that has real functionality," Bennett added. "It's a goof that works."

With about 50 members, igotfired.com joins a host of other sites frolicking in the Schadenfreude of the times. Right now, they include the F**cked Company, which keeps a gleeful account of Internet companies gone bust. Another, despair.com, capitalises on dot-com angst by replacing cloying motivational phrases such as "teamwork" with words like "dysfunction" and "cluelessness" on illustrated calendars for sale on the site.

Still, the issue is touchy.

Hooper said she hesitated sending the URL to her fellow fired friends. After all, some of the newly jobless refuse to believe they're being shoved out the door, never to return.

"Maybe they're just clinging to 'I just got laid off, not fired'," quipped Bennett, who also runs the parody page wrybread.com.

To be sure, football tables are being wheeled out of some failed Web companies, and others have canceled the Friday morning Danish pastry deliveries. But dot-commers aren't necessarily teetering on skyscraper ledges -- or even hitting unemployment lines.

Hooper said that's because so many are rebounding to find new jobs within days.

"If we go toward a very real recession and it's hard to find work, if I had children and a mortgage, right now I might be crying rather than joking around about it," Hooper said. "As it is, I feel like we're still in a city of plenty."

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