If you’re laid off, don’t panic! Blogger Lindsey Boycott has four tips to keep you moving toward your professional goals.

You’ve been laid off, but don’t panic! Here are four ways to survive (and thrive in) your newfound free time:

1. Re-evaluate your Financial Life:

Despite how difficult it is, losing your job helps you see things through a different lens. You are living the worst-case scenario right now, so it’s a good time for a reality check. I’m not talking about running rampant through your financial life, cutting contracts short, and cancelling payments. I’m recommending you take a careful and deliberate approach to your money.

You’ll want to go beyond the obvious cut your cable suggestions and plan for how you’ll change things when you’re employed again. You need to do a SWOT (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats) analysis. A SWOT analysis is kind of like a fancy pros and cons list for businesses. It’s traditionally presented as a square divided into four sections: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Here is an example:

Strengths Weaknesses
Internal Factors $10,000 in my 401k, $200,000 condo (assessed by city), $5,000 in savings account $20,000 student loan, $2,500 credit card balance, $140,000 mortgage, $8,000 car payment Internal factors reflect things that are in your immediate control.
Opportunities Threats
External Factors Career promotion, $10,000 raise, buy investment property in five years, build equity Laid off job, lose $60,000 salary, get sick, have to find new less stressful job ($20,000 loss in wages) External factors represent things that exist outside your immediate control.

Looking at all your positives and negatives like this can give you a fresh perspective on your financial life. If you know that you might lose your condo if you get seriously ill and can’t work, you might buy disability insurance for coverage. There are lots of ways this can strengthen your financial situation, take a look and see how it can help you.

2. Meet and Greet to Keep Yourself Sharp

Maybe networking isn’t your specialty, but there are still options to ease into it. Meetup.com is designed to connect people with career and hobby groups across North America. Most groups offer free and/or affordable events and activities for anyone looking to meet people and do something new.

For instance, the oil and gas slump hit the engineering profession hard, and there are lots of people looking for work. I did a quick search of engineering meetups in Houston and found one with more than a thousand members. In fact, they were looking for speakers for upcoming events. Nothing raises your professional profile quite like making presentations on specialized subjects in your field. Check out networking sites to “learn something, do something, or share something.” It may just land you your next job.

3. Earn Extra with a Side Hustle

If your voicemail box is an empty and desolate place, devoid of employer interview requests, it can start to get discouraging. Interviews are important for maintaining momentum for your job search. But what happens when there’s nothing out there?

At times like this, it’s important to shift focus a little bit, and finding a profitable passion might be the ticket. For instance, I now make $800 extra a month tutoring two children a couple hours each week. You don’t have to have an education degree to make this work, just buy a skills book in your chosen subject and review it ahead of time. There are lots of ways to do this on your own terms; find your transferrable skillset and work it.

4. Become a Lifelong Learner

When you’re on a shoestring budget, spending money on college classes might seem crazy, but there are ways to do it for a discounted price. Auditing college courses either online or in-class is a great opportunity to get some training without the hefty price tag attached.

The trick with auditing courses is that you don’t get a mark at the end of it; you are only there to enrich yourself. If you need the marks, you might be on the hook for the full price. But if you’ve got the wiggle room and the wallet for it, auditing college courses can be the way to go.

Lindsey Boycott

Lindsey Boycott is a Canadian-based personal finance writer and blogger at Cents, Sense & SensibilityConnect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

Any third-party resources or websites referenced above are not under Society of Grownups control. Society of Grownups cannot guarantee and are not responsible for the accuracy of the resources, websites, or any products or services available through such resources or websites.

While Society of Grownups hopes the information is useful, it’s only intended to provide general education. It’s not legal, tax, or investment advice, and may not apply or be useful to your specific financial situation. If you need recommendations geared to your personal financial situation, schedule time with a financial planner.

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