newclutchlogoblackEverywhere you turn there’s news about the tough economic times we’re facing. Every day it seems like a new company files bankruptcy and hundreds or thousands of people end up without jobs. If you find yourself without a job right now, you don’t have to sit at home and fret. Here are some ideas for making the most of being laid off.

Get educated. While you search for another job, take this opportunity to hone your existing skills or learn something entirely new. If you cringe at the thought of going back to school, remember that learning doesn’t only happen in a classroom. Consider tapping into your network of friends and associates to teach you something new. Your best friend who’s a chef or your neighbor, the computer whiz, could help you learn a new skill. In this age of the do-it-yourself mentality, you could become your own professor by studying interesting topics online also. The old saying “the more you know, the further you’ll go” definitely applies in this economic climate.

Pursue personal goals. Have you always wanted to learn to swim or take a sewing class, but never had the time? Well, now you do! Not only would this be a great opportunity to achieve personal goals, but it’s also a chance to network and let others know you’re looking for work. The person you sit next to in an art class might very well be the head of human resources for a company looking to hire. Achieving personal goals will boost your confidence and keep you going as your job search progresses.

Start a business. Becoming an entrepreneur in the midst of a recession may not sound like a great idea at first, but it’s actually not as daunting as you might think. There are plenty of businesses that require little to no start-up capital and can be done right from your kitchen table. Consider becoming a consultant in your industry of choice. If you are a laid-off accountant, market yourself to other small businesses that might need your services. Lost your job as an administrative assistant? Consider becoming a virtual assistant for busy professionals. Graphic designers who are out of work can solicit freelance jobs in the meantime. Make the most of your existing skills and make some dough at the same time.

Get out of the house. While you’re waiting for call about that job interview, go out and meet new people. It may be tempting to spend your days watching reruns of your favorite old TV shows, but you could make better use of your time by attending social events or volunteering. You’ll meet new people, expand your network, and increase your chances of landing a great new job.

Work part-time outside of your field. Use your time off to try your hand at something new. If you’re a lawyer, try working at a bakery part-time. If you’re an engineer, take up pet-sitting. Whatever your field, step outside your comfort zone and try working part-time doing something new. You never know, you might just find a great new career.

Relax. Losing your job can be a very stressful and traumatic experience, especially during this tumultuous economy. While it’s natural to feel some anxiety, resist the urge to beat yourself up about it or to take your frustrations out on others. Take active steps to remain calm by meditating, spending time with loved ones, practicing spiritual beliefs and engaging in fun, yet inexpensive activities such as yoga, walking or reading a good book. Being relaxed will not only help you physically, but it puts you in a positive state of mind during your search for a new job. It will help you remain motivated to continue your search if interviews don’t happen as quickly as you would like.

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