We’ve all heard the old saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” right? What does this mean exactly? Here’s what my Ph.D. in Google tells me:
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade is a proverbial phrase used to encourage optimism and a positive can-do attitude in the face of adversity or misfortune. Lemons suggest sourness or difficulty in life; making lemonade is turning them into something positive or desirable.
In my case, especially over the last few months, this has been my go-to mantra of sorts. Why? Well, let’s say I’ve had a roller coaster start to the year.
To elaborate on my recent “A Life Update” post from a week ago, I was let go from my job (again) about a month ago, and it was entirely out of the blue. But then again, it always is. You’d think I’d be able to sniff these situations out by now, considering I’ve been let go from two other roles in the past four years. I’m a “let go” veteran. Read more about those life-blips here & here. You could say that I was slightly bitter, i.e., the lemons. I gave my all to my job, always have. But, January 15th still happened. The stages of grief very much came into play.
- The five stages of grief are:
- Denial – There was no denial. I lost my job.
- Anger – Yes, I was angry. And I was confused. I felt mad that I was in this position yet again and even angrier that I couldn’t do anything about it.
- Bargaining – I bargained with my inner demons. Specifically, the inner demons that kept telling me that I had failed. Again. I dealt with these demons that I would NOT let this situation define me.
- Depression – Yes, I had become mopey, distant, and overall meh, but for only a brief moment. I felt I had lost my purpose and self-worth.
- Acceptance – I came to terms with my situation rather quickly and was determined not to let this “blip” categorically dictate my life, career, and ultimately my next position. I accepted that I was in a great place to truly discern what I wanted and who I wanted to work with. This is where I believe I turned the corner.
- After getting over my self-pity and taking a few well-deserved day-naps, I focused on determining my next steps. The first thing I had to do was utilize my existing network ASAP. Here’s what I did:
- I updated my resume – If you haven’t checked out Novoresume, you really should! Making clean, professional, and modern resumes have never been easier!
- I updated my LinkedIn profile – I highly recommend using LinkedIn Premium / Job Seeker. It opens up many great resources on LinkedIn, namely being able to have more “credits” to send recruiters messages via LinkedIn. It will allow you to stand out amongst other applicants and inform you how you stack up to other applicants. (TIP ➡️ You can do a free 30-day trial, and if you’re able to secure a role in under 30 days, Premium would have cost you nothing)
- Update the fundamental part of your profile as well. Conclude the job you just left. Don’t forget to update your headline to what you can do, i.e., what you want to do, etc. (Example: Chief of Staff to the C-Suite / Operations Guru) ˿ This will ensure you’re still “searchable” to recruiters who may be looking for folks in your field.
- I reached out to my strong connections and gave them my latest life update. Be humble. Your network is there to help you, so rely on them! No matter how great you think you are or how capable you are, having a small army to support goes a long way. Trust me.
- Send out a post on LinkedIn alerting your network that you’re searching for your next great opportunity and add hashtags relevant to you and your search. Hashtags are very, very useful and used often! #HashtagsAreCool
- Start looking for roles that speak to you. Do NOT hit the “APPLY” button for every job you see, no matter how tempting it is. Be thoughtful of the roles you’re applying for.
- It should go without saying, but if you see a role open at a company where you have a connection, reach out and let your contact know that you’ve applied, especially if you’ve worked with this connection before. There’s no better reference!
- Now that you’ve started applying for roles, you should consider cataloging them so that you can track them, i.e., saving the URLs of the application online, name of the company, title of the role, location, etc.
- I highly recommend using a tool like Huntr.co – I’ve been using Huntr.co since my first layoff in 2017, and I think I was one of their first customers. I loved it then, and I love it more now. The tool has improved over the past few years and has evolved to be a useful job search tool.
I’m in no way a career expert or job search specialist, but I know what works for me. I wouldn’t say I like looking for a job, not even a little bit, but I know who I am, know what I want, and what I don’t, and I know my value. I’m comfortable speaking with others about my ambitions, which lends well to interviewing. I’m comfortable in my skin as I’m only my authentic self, so it’s not hard to be, well, me. I don’t know how to be anyone else. And, you shouldn’t either.
Life can throw you curveballs, or in this case, lemons. It’s what you do with those lemons. You can choose to be bitter over what you’ve been dealt, or you can make something of it and get back out there and find something truly YOU, maybe even better than what you had before. In my case, that’s precisely what I did. And, today is my first day! I’m thrilled to start my new adventure, and I’m ready to take on the challenge! I’m also excited to join my new work family, and I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone. That’s the fun part!
I’d be happy to lend support to anyone that needs it, whether you’re on a job search from a layoff or you’re looking for something new. Again, I’m not an expert at all, but what I’ve done has worked for me, and it might work for you, too. I know firsthand how frustrating it can be to be in this position, and I’m willing to do whatever I can to help you, even if it’s just letting you vent because this is NOT easy!
Stay positive, everyone! Adversity affects everyone. EVERYONE. It’s how you handle it that matters.