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Surviving a layoff

    The inevitable has finally happened. Your employer had to cut costs, and you were one of the people they cut.  But there is still a little part deep inside you that wonders if it was your fault. Career coach Deborah Brown-Volkman has come through once again with some great advice that I must share with you. She says it's crucial to recognize that losing your job was not your fault.

      Now, what to do with all that free time? Figure out what's important to you. What makes you happy? What gets you excited? These are questions that you can answer because you have been given the gift of time to do so, Brown-Volkman says.

     Maybe you are freaked out with so much time on your hands. I would be, especially if money is a concern. But the coach says to recognize time off is a blessing. (That may be hard to believe when you need a paycheck!) She says, "Things in life happen for a reason. There was some purpose for you to stop and reassess how you have been living your life at this point.  Why do you think this happened now?  Were you working too hard?  Were you neglecting yourself?  Was your family screaming for you to spend more time with them?  Use the time wisely because an opportunity like this one may never come again.

    Now, decide what you will do next. Will you stay in the same career?  Will you do something different?  Will you start your own business?  Or, will you decide to scale down your lifestyle so you can stretch out the time before you go back to work?  There is no right or wrong choice, only what calls to you.  Check out some ideas on the Shifting Careers blog. 

    Here's the part where most of us mess up: Put An Action Plan In Place. Now that you have free time, how will you make it as productive as it can be?  How many resumes will you send out each week?  How many hours each day will you spend searching for jobs online and in the paper?  How may people will you talk to, and how e-mail's will you send out?  Your job search does not have to consume you, but having a daily plan, will keep you from sitting in front of the TV saying "I really should be looking for another job."

     Enlist the help of a friend, spouse, coach, colleague, etc.  Someone who will listen and support you through this transitional period in your life. LinkedIn.com has online career coaches you might turn to for help.

     I'm very into the Brown-Volkman's next tip. Reward Yourself. Yes, the final reward is finding a new job, but there are milestones that can be rewarded along the way.  Sent your resume to five employers?  Reward.  Went on one job interview this week?  Reward. Finished this blog post? Reward.

     A sudden job loss can be very unsettling. Do you have any strategies you want to share for coping and regrouping?