Philadelphia Salaries 2010: Second Acts

What happens when you reinvent yourself during a recession?

Old job: Senior director of public relations at CN8.
Last day: January 6, 2009.
Why: Station closed.
In transition: She did charity work and unpaid consulting, interviewed at other large corporations — “Anything to keep busy.”
Aha moment: “The salaries I was being offered were not competitive with what I’d been paid in the past, so I figured, why not go out on my own? At that point, there was nothing to lose other than medical benefits.”
New job: Principal of Leslie Padilla Public Relations, LLC, an independent, Malvern-based firm representing Lindi Skin, Lynn Doyle, Salon 31, Julia Brufke Wenger — “women like me.”
Advice: “If you can be an entrepreneur now, when everybody is watching their budget and cutting their budget, then think how well you’ll do when the country is out of recession.”

Old job: Private equity adviser for Green family of Firstrust Bank.
Last day: December 2008.
Why: Position dissolved.
In transition: “I spent several months thinking I was going to be a business consultant.”
Aha moment: “I got a couple of calls from people saying, ‘I’m looking to buy this company, can you do the legal work?’ I quickly realized: I’m not a business consultant. I’m a lawyer.”
New job: Founding partner of Blume Partners, a boutique legal firm specializing in corporate law with a personal touch (including attending clients’ kids’ soccer games), with offices in Conshohocken and Center City.
Advice: Use your BlackBerry and laptop to their fullest. “Working for yourself is easier than it ever was. Technology affords you the freedom to work where you want — and for small shops like mine to compete.”

Old job: Founder, scientist, Versilant Nanotechnologies.
In transition: Headed up a semiconductor company in Toronto.
Aha moment: “Right after the birth of my son, I realized I was tired of the competition, of the stress. It felt like everyone was fighting for a smaller and smaller piece of the pie. I thought to myself: I have other, more creative interests. Let’s explore those.”
New job: Founder of Henri Paul, a fine jewelry line featuring highly metallic rough-cut diamonds that have been polished using her own patented nanotechnology.
Advice: It’s about quality of life, not quantity of business. “I’ve decided if you’re not nice, I don’t want to work with you.”