10 Things to Do the Day After You're Laid Off

Amid Merrill Lynch, PepsiCo, GM layoffs: an action plan for now or later.

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Outside Voices - ''Working Girl'' aka Karen Burns
1. Get up early, and exercise. Run, walk, ride your bike, dance to a video. Move your body. Sweat.

2. Shower. Wash hair. Put on makeup if you wear makeup. Put on your favorite outfit. Eat a healthful and tasty breakfast.

3. Write a thank-you note to your former boss. Also to the people you worked with. It's classy. Plus, they will be more likely to remember you if they hear of any other opportunities (so include your contact info).

4. Take a good, honest look at your financial situation. Identify where you can immediately cut back on expenses—even if in a symbolic way only. You'll feel more in control.

5. Allow yourself to grieve. A job loss is like a death. Mourning is a normal, healthy reaction. Just don't let it be your only reaction.

6. Talk with someone smart and upbeat who makes you feel good about yourself.

7. Write out a plan of action. List the things you need to do (e.g., file for unemployment, gather references) in the order in which you need to do them.

8. Perfect your résumé. If you need help, remember that the library has, free, many books that will offer it.

9. Make a list of all your contacts: anyone/everyone who could possibly lead you to a new job.

10. Reflect. If you've been yearning to change careers, now's a great time. Start researching. Dive in.

Karen Burns, Working Girl, is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use, to be released by Running Press in April 2009. She blogs at karenburnsworkinggirl.com.