Lemonade

February 3, 2010by

One of the common assumptions about productivity and success in the professional world is that various kinds of pressure drive one to do good work. The gravity generated by the expectations of one’s employer/employee, customers, stakeholders and shareholders, board of directors, even one’s family and friends, pushes one to do more, better, faster, bigger. Combined with other factors like the fear of failure, desire for recognition, or even altruism or greed, we find that the pressure can work for both good and bad alike. The story of Stephen Glass is a classic case of the latter.

There is another kind of pressure, though, presently weighing down on around 10% of Americans (and an increasing number of urban dwellers). The pressure of having lost one’s job altogether brings into question not only one’s performance as a professional, but the nature of one’s very existence. It puts your being right out in front of you, and asks the question, “What now?” For most people coping with the pressure of this question takes on the form of searching for another preexisting position in the workforce to fill. But it can also present another kind of question, “What can I do now that I’m free for the moment to do anything at all?”

[sws_blockquote align=”left” alignment=”alignleft” cite=”” quotestyles=”style02″] If life hands you lemons, make lemonade. [/sws_blockquote]

Noticing and embracing this calling into question of one’s being as an opportunity rather than a crisis to be abated has opened the door for many people to some exciting and innovative vocations. Anxiety may accompany innovation as much as despair, but it is encouraging to recognize how the age in which we live is providing for more and more people the possibility of turning what they love to do, their passions, into their vocations.

This is precisely what the folks featured in Lemonade have done. “Lemonade is an inspirational film about 16 advertising professionals who lost their jobs and found their calling, encouraging people to listen to that little voice inside their head that asks, “What if?”” And even though one could argue such things come a bit more naturally to people with occupations requiring some creativity, this is of course no reason to ignore your own potential.

And just for another fun twist on the lemons proverb, consider this poem by David Fischer.

If Life Gives You Lemons
Copyright (C) 1998 David Fischer

If life gives you lemons, make lemonaid.
If life gives you lemons, make poison.
If life gives you lemons, seek vengeance.
If life gives you lemons, clone them.

If life gives you lemons, convert them into pure energy through nuclear fusion.
If life gives you lemons, throw them at your enemies.
If life gives you lemons, throw them at your friends.
If life gives you lemons, sell them.

If life gives you lemons, bury them in your cellar.
If life gives you lemons, swallow them whole.
If life gives you lemons, feed them to a lion.
If life gives you lemons, tease them.

If life gives you lemons, kill yourself.
If life gives you lemons, organize them into soviets.
If life gives you lemons, go back to school.
If life gives you lemons, juggle them.

If life gives you lemons, run away.
If life gives you lemons, throw a tantrum.
If life gives you lemons, sow dissent among their leaders.
If life gives you lemons, paint them.

If life gives you lemons, call them funny names.
If life gives you lemons, blame someone else.
If life gives you lemons, extract their precious bodily fluids.
If life gives you lemons, arm them.

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