In today’s economy, layoffs and firings are commonplace. Yesterday at work, my co-worker and I shared a laugh about our impending layoff while reading The Dilbert Principle, which takes a satirical look at the workplace and how most employees are undervalued. Although the book was written in 1996, with topics such as outsourcing and layoffs, it’s still quite relevant.

Honestly, I’m looking forward to a layoff, especially since I’ve been working full-time since my sophomore year in college. It will be a welcomed break. Being unemployed doesn’t have to be a depressing experience. Sure, the job market sucks, but in between job searches and filing for unemployment, there are other ways to spend your time.

1. Rediscover the library – Personally, I hate e-readers. A few months back I bought a tablet, and downloaded about 100 books to it. But when I started to read one of my favorite Stephen King novels, it just didn’t feel the same. I missed the feel of paper, and the smell of a book. Being unemployed means you should save money. Don’t run to Amazon to spend $100s at a time, head to your library. With many libraries on the verge of closing and even laying off employees because of budget cuts, plenty of them are giving away books.

2. Cheap travel– Staring at the same walls of your house or apartment day in and day out, is a quick way to go stir crazy. With most layoffs, there’s the chance of receiving some sort of severance. Treat yourself to a little weekend getaway. Use sites like Bookit, where you can actually pay-down a trip, or sign up for travel alerts through Travel-zoo.

3. Volunteer – Being unemployed means you’ll have all the time in the world to give back to the community. Find an organization that you’re interested in and give a few hours of your time during the week. If it’s during the school year, and you enjoy working with kids, offer tutoring or visit the library to see if they need volunteers. If you enjoy pets, animal shelters are always short-handed.

4. Teach A Man To Fish He’ll Eat For A Lifetime – Make yourself more marketable. With college students entering the workforce every day, they could have one step up on you even if you do have more on the job experience. They’re typically more tech savvy and know the latest “it” skills. Take a class online, enrich yourself. Currently, Harvard University offers several free courses online through their extension program. Also, check out your local career services center offered by the Department of Labor for career training.

5. Write – If you’re not a ‘writer,’ pick up a notepad and see what comes out of your pen. Even with technology, laptops, tablets, I find myself more creative when I have a pen and paper in my hand. Get a blog, chronicle your experience. Write about numbers 1-4. When you finally do find another 9 to 5, you’ll wish you’d be able to find the time to do them again.

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