100 Things to Do If You've Been Laid Off

100 Things to Do If You've Been Laid Off

Laid off

So you’ve been laid off; you’re a victim of the recent job shakeout. We bet you feel pretty angry, scared, or maybe even a little relieved. No matter what you’re feeling, here are 100 playful suggestions to help you find a new job and have a little fun while you’re at it.

If you feel:

Laid off and Scared:

1.  Don't jump off a bridge. Take an antidepressant instead. Consult your physician first, of course.

2.  Be a crybaby. Call your mom and cry on her shoulder. Not only will she be happy to hear from you, but she'll also be just the support you need.

3.  Give in to your survival instincts. Call your lawyer to see if you can sue.

4.  Read your horoscope. Maybe today will be your lucky day.

5.  Roll your spare change. You probably have more than you think stuck between the couch cushions. While you're at it, clean out the refrigerator.

6.  Trace your family history. Perhaps there's a rich relative or two you can mooch off for a while.

7.  Confront your worst fear. Whether it's loathing public speaking or a fear of heights, conquering it will put your layoff in perspective.

8.  Buy a lottery ticket. Better yet, get a temp job or contract work to help wash away your financial fears until you hit pay dirt.

9.  Query the Magic 8-Ball. Ask, "Will I get a new job soon?" Don't be discouraged if you get "Reply Hazy." Keep shaking until you get the answer you want.

10. Keep your money. This is no time to have unpaid bills. Get your finances in order with a little help from Quicken or PC-based banking.

11. Ask your former employer if you can keep or buy your work laptop. The worst you'll hear is no; at best, you'll have a valuable resource at your disposal.

12. Collect unemployment. Hey, no one likes handouts, but it will prevent you from having to move back in with Mom and Dad.

13. Take an Outward Bound course. When you're lost in the woods, being unemployed will seem very insignificant.

14. Take a vacation. Give yourself at least a day, maybe a couple where you refuse to think about the future. Browse a bookshop. Go fishing. Spend a day outdoors. Just reconnect with your real self without stressing over finances before throwing yourself back into the fray.

15. Sell your high tech gadgets on eBay for extra cash. Who really needs a Palm Pilot, anyway?

Laid off and Angry

16. Get on the phone. Call everyone you know and vent about the injustice of it all.

17. Break your piggy bank. Use the change inside to buy a few beers.

18. Scream! Inside your car, at strangers, on the beach, walking down the street…

19. Get lost. Choose a direction, pick a highway and hit the gas. Stop at every single exit or keep going. Don't forget your map, cell phone and AAA card.

20. Roll off your anger. Ten frames of bowling should do it. Make the game more challenging by trying to knock down pins in other lanes.

21. Go virtual. Fight for your dignity in Mortal Combat or eat as much as you can in Pac Man.

22. Challenge your former boss to a cage match. Try to get The Rock or Stone Cold Steve Austin to referee.

23. Live like a rock star. Wake up late, start the day with a Bloody Mary, hang with groupies and wear leather pants. Try to avoid driving your car into a swimming pool, though.

24. Burn your business cards. You don't need all those pieces of cardboard anyway. Feed the fire with photos from the last company picnic and don't forget to drop in your pink slip too.

25. Throw a party. Break out the nachos and beer and commiserate with fellow layoff victims.

26. Make your car rock. Blast your favorite song on the car stereo and sing it at the top of your lungs; just make sure you still have a voice left for your next job interview.

27. Shave your head and join the circus. Well, maybe just shave your head. When your hair's grown out, you know it's time to start looking for a new job.

28. Write a scathing letter to your old boss. But don't send it. Remember to read it in six months; you'll wonder what all the fuss was about.

29. Sweat out your frustrations at the gym. Tape your company's logo onto a punching bag and pretend you're Rocky.

30. Speak out! Go to Starbucks and tell your tale of woe to anyone who will listen. Pretty soon, you'll get sick of telling it and will be inspired to take action.

31. Buy a voodoo doll. Turn it into your old boss and pin away!

32. Get over it! Learn how to deal with change. Read Who Moved My Cheese? for inspiration.

33. Tell people to have a nice day. When they reply in kind, tell them you have other plans.

34. Take a deep breath and smile. OK, you've gotten it out of your system. Don't bring the negative vibes to your next interview.

Laid off and Relieved

35. Dis disorganization. Whether it's old photos in need of an album or your paper clip collection that needs to be catalogued, take an hour to sort it out. You'll instantly feel like you accomplished something significant.

36. Clean your house or apartment. There's nothing like a scrubbed-down, spotless kitchen to make you feel like you've made a fresh start.

37. Have a yard sale. Maybe you'll make enough selling those old 8-tracks to finance a well-deserved vacation.

38. Write your own business plan. Laugh wildly at the thought that you won't need to sell your soul to the first VC who offers you seed money.

39. Drive your morning commute. But this time, stop at that diner you used to drive by, order buttered toast and coffee, and play the most obnoxious song on the jukebox.

40. Buy a fish tank. You spent so long swimming in circles for someone else, why not watch a school of fish do it instead?

41. Go away. Whether it's a trip to a local farm or Fiji, you need to recharge your batteries for a few days.

42. Walk around the house naked. Even better: Dance around in your underwear. Crank up your favorite song and go to it. Hey, it helped Tom Cruise's career.

43. Throw out your work-related to-do lists. Smile when you think that Bob from marketing has to sweat out an all-nighter finishing the PowerPoint presentation you started.

44. Play Twister. You don't have to tie yourself into knots for your boss anymore. Have fun doing it for yourself.

45. Write your mission statement. Why are you here? What motivates you? What do you want out of life, and how do you plan to get it? Answering these questions will help you plan your next move.

Laid off and Down in the Dumps

46. Kiss a stranger. Revive this cheap thrill from fraternity parties and college bars. It's exciting and reminds you that despite your present work situation, you still have animal magnetism.

47. Go to the local food pantry. But don't go looking for your own free meal. Help out, serve up and realize it could be much worse.

48. Polish your old soccer trophies. And while you do it, be sure to read the inscription. You're as much a winner now as you were then.

49. Stay in your pajamas all day. Spend the morning in bed drinking milk out of the carton and commiserating with Jerry Springer and Maury Povich's guests.

50. Create your own business cards. Have them read something witty like, "Smartest Person on the Planet" or "Employee of the Year." Be sure to bring them to networking parties.

51. Imitate Madonna. Take a cue from the woman who went from boy toy to billionairess and laughed all the way to the bank. Reinvention is the key to success.

52. Learn a few jokes. If laughter is the best medicine, then you'll be better in no time.

53. Eat a whole box of cereal just to say you did it. Set a goal you know you can accomplish, whether it's devouring a whole box of Frosted Flakes or biking 12 miles.

54. Log into a career chat room. Give yourself the handle "world's_best_software_developer" and toss around your opinions with conviction.

55. Spend some time in retail therapy. A shopping spree is good for the soul, but you should avoid the temptation to plunk down your life savings for that new Land Rover you thought you could afford when your company's stock hit its 52-week high.

56. Thank your parents for making you take flute lessons. Then take your amateur talents to the street. Make a sign so they know you're a layoff casualty, set out a cup and watch the coins come in.

57. Set a record. Ron Werner has 11,644 unduplicated beer bottles in his possession. Think you can top him? Better yet, create your own record.

58. Create a secret identity. Give yourself the name you always wanted. Online, no one can tell that "The Warrior Princess" has been wearing the same clothes for three days. Let your cyber disciples motivate you.

Laid off and in Need of Inspiration

59. Play DJ. Spend an afternoon mixing together a CD or tape of your all-time favorite songs.

60. Read a classic. So your job has Gone with the Wind in The Sound and the Fury of the economy’s downturn? Now you’ve got time on your hands From Here to Eternity. Crack open a book to recharge your batteries until The Postman Always Rings Twice and delivers that next great job offer.

61. Psych yourself up with your favorite movie. What is the best all-time feel-good movie? Rocky, Rudy, Babe? Rent it and take a day to watch it over and over again.

62. Get off the couch. Like to paint outdoor scenes or take care of animals? Turn your hobby into a career and get paid for what you love to do.

63. Move. Now’s your chance to get out of town and start fresh. Pack your bags and find a new postal code in which you can set up shop.

64. Be loud. Take singing lessons, hawk beers at the ballpark or apply for a line manager position at Zildjian cymbals.

65. Finger paint. Since your immediate future is a blank canvas, throwing some blues, reds and greens together could offer some clarity.

66. Go bungee jumping. Jumping off a cliff headed toward the ground and springing back up will help you realize you can hit rock bottom and still climb your way back to the top.

67. Be a trendsetter. Stop following the Razor Scooter crowd. Create a new mode of transportation. Do they make big wheels for grownups yet?

68. Redecorate. Remember when you plastered your walls with pictures of your favorite celebrities? Ditch the Martha Stewart look and give Bob Marley back his place of honor in your life.

69. Put pen to paper. It took Cameron Crowe years to turn his life story into Almost Famous. Write your own life’s story. Don’t like the ending? Go make yourself a new one.

70. Pretend you’re Eddie Van Halen. Pick up that guitar and teach yourself how to play. Stick with it. You could end up on VH1’s "Behind the Music" someday.

71. Think about your interests and skills. Take another look at what you do and what you do well. Could you parlay that into a career, or are you happy with your current path?

72. Attend a virtual university. Going back to school full-time may not be an option right now, but there are hundreds of online classes available that will give you an edge over your competition.

Laid off and Raring to Go

73. See the silver lining. Now could be the time to achieve new personal goals or improve your mind, body and skills. If you’re happy, things can’t be that bad.

74. Practice interviewing in front of your pet. Your dog, cat or goldfish can be a pretty supportive audience. So rehearse for your next interview with your four-legged (or finned) friend and build your confidence. Be sure to thank the critter with treats.

75. Read your car’s owner’s manual cover to cover. Sure, it’s been collecting dust in your glove compartment, but that little book could save you big money at the auto shop. It’s time to start thinking practical like this.

76. Try out for a TV game show. Why not audition for "Wheel of Fortune," "Jeopardy" or one of the other game shows hitting the airwaves? If you’re learning anything from this job shakeout, it’s to outwit, outplay and outlast your competitors.

77. Sing your praises. Go into a Monster message board and declare that you’re the best in your business. Your confidence may be able to get you back in business.

78. Get moving! Go on an interview. Eighty percent of life is just showing up.
Watch former US President Clinton work a crowd. His character is debatable, but he can schmooze like no one else. Sit back, watch and learn.

Laid off and Just Want a Job Already

80. Remember your limits. If you’re a programmer in Calgary, Alberta, don’t bother applying for the postal position in Peterborough, Ontario. Pick an industry and stick with it.

81. Stand on a street corner and beg for change. Wear a sign that says, "Will work for T-1 connection."

82. Get organized. Lack structure, huh? Our Career Centre can help you organize your approach to job searching.

83. Log on. Monster has hundreds of new jobs arriving every day.

84. Subscribe. Sign up for one of Monster’s newsletters, specifically targeted to your interests and packed with expert advice.

85. Burn your old resume and start fresh. Don’t sweat about functional versus chronological. This is about you, so be honest, engaging and show your best stuff.

86. Be aggressive. So you screwed up and took a boatload of options over a substantial base salary, and then the stock price dropped out of sight more quickly than the Spice Girls. Make amends by understanding your value and asking for it up front.

87. Apply. Check out the possibility of working at Monster.

88. Stop procrastinating. There are others in the same boat. You don’t want to be the one left without a life preserver, do you?

89. Write down five reasons you shouldn’t be hired. Then write rebuttals and memorize them. Use them in an interview to plead your case.

90. Let out your inner child. Forget about standard cover letters in No. 10 envelopes. Customize your correspondence and make an impression. Good hiring managers smell a form letter before you lick the stamp.

91. Work harder. If you worked 50-hour workweeks in your cramped cubicle, you should spend 60 on your couch-based job search. The results will pay off in no time.

92. Practice bragging. In 90 seconds, describe who you are, your best skills, who you’ve worked for and what you intend to do next. It’s called the elevator pitch. Become good at it.

93. Demand what you’re worth. Research salary information to see if your old employer was getting a bargain. Make a vow that you’ll never be taken advantage of again.

94. Polish your negotiation skills. Forget about what you made at your last job. Demand more. It’s all about persuasion and negotiation. Be assertive and the money will follow.

95. Create a My Monster account. If you think variety is the spice of life, then you’re in the right place. Monster has hundreds of thousands of job postings. Begin your job search by creating a My Monster account, where you’ll find everything you need to manage your job search and career development.

96. Share your wisdom. Join a Monster chat and tell your story to others. Networking is a great way to find someone who can help you land your next gig.

97. Join the Foreign Service. If there’s nothing holding you here, why not explore a world of career opportunities overseas?

98. Research your next company more thoroughly. You’ll stand out during the interview and know what you’re getting into if you take the job.

99. Take most of the metal off of your body. It will give you and your potential employer an indication if a company’s culture is right for you.

100. Think big. Go ahead and look for a "right now" job, but don’t forget your dream job is out there waiting for you, too.