Making Lemonade with Life’s Lemons

A year ago, my position was eliminated after a corporate sale. Déjà vu to many.

Sometimes you can’t jump back to full-time immediately for fiscal or other reasons. Given the options of resting, hitting the pavement for an elusive senior role in a recession or a hybrid of working and growth, I chose the latter. Here’s what I aimed for and did. Hopefully one or two options suit you.

  1. Pursue a short-term contract (even if it’s slightly below your ideal title or compensation) – While the fallout from an involuntary exit varies, I don’t think anyone escapes a jab to their self-esteem. Bouncing back’s important but you may need to regain balance first. I contracted to a former manager who wanted my skills for a short-term crunch.
  2. Catch up on giving LinkedIn accolades & pursuing some yourself – It’s an ideal time to recognize people who’ve made a huge impression or been a major asset. As networking starts with giving, I didn’t position it as quid pro but separately pursued references from established contacts, with one from my last employer as a top priority.
  3. Boost your social media knowledge & online library – Set-up a feed reader, subscribe and devour social media blogs. Adopt a bookmarking tool to catalogue relevant articles. I set-up iGoogle but readers have grown since. I fell for Delicious to bookmark but latterly switched to
  4. Strengthen  personal use of social media & grow your online brand – Update your online profiles, claim new ones (check your name’s availability) and take ownership of those morphed with your name (begin with Participate in conversations. Post thoughtful comments & answer forum questions. (Even one favoured answer to a LinkedIn query earns you a profile highlight.) For me, it’s a work in progress.
  5. Develop content creation or curating skills in low-risk settings – Learn and develop blogging acumen if possible. If not, focus on curating. (I fail at blogging but took rudimentary steps with a sustainable living wiki using Wikia and managing facebook pages, starting with one for my church.) Curating is on the rise with even more opportunities to explore, such as Paper.Li, the time’s ripe to embrace it.
  6. Volunteer during core hours (as well as night-time) to enhance skills & learn new disciplines – Daytime hours open new insights and sometimes you can negotiate a work-in-kind donation. One day a week, I re-vamped a national, not-for-profit’s website. And don’t forget IABC’s wealth of volunteer roles.
  7. Polish your presentation skills with diverse audiences – Present to professional and IABC forums but also stretch your audience agility by addressing PR college classes or career day at your child’s school.
  8. Teach a post-secondary class part-time – Teaching doesn’t have to be full-time but taking on one class forces you to identify the steps behind core PR skills, keeps you current and gives you firsthand knowledge of gen next thinking.
  9. Take in-class or online courses – They don’t have to be expensive. IABC offers select free webinars  and other organizations offer IABC member breaks.
  10. Reconnect with family & friends for intangible value but sometimes this too uncovers opportunities.

Other ideas?  Please share.


8 thoughts on “Making Lemonade with Life’s Lemons

  1. Great points, Leslie. As an independent, I am also affected by the ups and downs. During the reccession, I lost a couple clients, nonprofits who were forced to take their work in-house. At the same time, all the laid-off communicators were hustling freelance work and driving down rates.
    So I decided to tighten my belt and try writing a book and develop workshops on it. I’m glad I did. In fact, during every slowdown over my more than 15 years as an independent, I’ve taken a business idea that’s been in the back of my mind and gone for it.
    When you’re making less money, you have more time, so invest it, I say.


  2. This is a great post! Being in transition brings many stresses and uncertainties. Amidst all of that, opportunities for growth and improvement exist, too. Thanks for highlighting that.


  3. An excellent to-do list, Leslie. I think professional development is worthwhile at any time in one’s career, but especially when one has just been handed one (or more) of those lemons.


  4. Thanks for the good tips Leslie. Currently going through one of those “lemon”. You have given me new ideas for thought and action.


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