Rumors are flying and this time you might be on the list. We all know the financial adage of 6 months of emergency funds, but how are you going to maintain your sanity and self-esteem? Read on for 14 tips to emerge from an unplanned layover intact and happier than before.

An inviting home office is a great place to plan your next move.

An inviting home office is a great place to plan your next move.

Before the Layoff

If you sense an impending layoff, you would be wise to:

  1. Use your benefits—knock out those visits to the doctor, dentist, and dermatologist. Get your eyes examined. Order 90-day prescription refills. Heck, get your colon scoped!
  1. Use your VTO—if you’re fortunate enough to work for a company that offers volunteer time off, or VTO, use it now to decide where you might want to volunteer your time between paying gigs.
  1. Shop at home and polish your shoes—this is not the time to lay out money on clothes, shoes, or jewelry. Root through your closet and jewelry box. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it. (You will thank me later. Read on.)
  1. Dress your best—looking good helps you feel good. Put your best self forward every day.
  1. Don’t burn bridges—this is not the time to tell your boss all about himself, stir fear among your coworkers, spill company secrets, or wreak vengeance through social media.
  1. Clean up your home office—you’ll want to have an inviting space from which to work your plan.
  1. Update your LinkedIn profile—do this while you’re still working, so you capture your most important projects, tools, and skills. Once you’ve left the job you may forget. This is also helpful as you prepare to update your resume.
  1. Have a box, have a plan, have a list—make a list now, while you’re calm and unemotional, of the things you want to take home with you. It will make getting out of there faster and you’re less likely to skip something you really wanted to keep.

After the Layoff

Now you’re in between jobs—a tweener. Once you’ve taken a few days off, it’s time to make the most of this unplanned layover:

  1. Use the coaching services—many employers provide outplacement services to exiting employees. Get expert feedback on your resume, practice interviewing, and network throughout your community.
  1. Find a part-time gig with benes—get some cash flow and cover any medical emergencies while you write your novel or lay the foundation for your own company. Some major companies offer benefits to their part-time employees, including UPS, Lowe’s, Staples, and Nike. Click here to learn more.
  1. Volunteer—read to kids at the library, walk the shelter dogs, pick up litter on the beach. You’ll feel better and you’ll be helping others. Plus, employers dig seeing volunteer work on tweener resumes. You may even make a contact that will turn into your next paid job.
  1. Work out—use this time to get into the best shape of your adult life. Establish an early morning routine so that you’ll be able to maintain it once you’re back to a regular schedule. The extra benefit (remember I said you’d thank me later)—new clothes for the new you!
  1. Learn something new—many states offer free job training services. Polish your computer skills, join Toastmasters and lose your fear of public speaking, learn a second language, or catch a Saturday “how-to” at one of the big-box hardware stores. You won’t have to pay someone to upgrade your backsplash when you can do it yourself.
  1. Write, draw, paint—this is the big one. You can view this as just a painful chapter in your working life or take the opp to live your dream. Write that novel. Start that business. You won’t get too many chances to rest, breathe, think, and choose. Don’t waste it.

I hope you find fulfilling, meaningful work in a safe harbor.

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