If a Pink Slip Arrives, Don't See Red

Today's rousing economy offers cold comfort to those seeking job security.

Your company could be profitable. You could be out on the sidewalk.

If you find yourself at the wrong end of a pink slip, take a deep breath. It's not a disaster. It's a project.

It's not an opportunity to tell your boss what you really think of her.

It's important not to say or do anything that might damage your future job prospects.

Here are some survival tips from outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas in Chicago.

* Avoid emotional outbursts or arguments with management. They serve no purpose and could even affect your severance package. Your first impulse may be to demand an explanation, but the employer is not obligated to tell you why they're letting you go.

* Avoid the urge to sue. A lawsuit against your former employer makes you a noncandidate in the job market. Most prospective employers shun anyone - even though such action is illegal - who has sued a former employer.

* Don't dump on your family. It's not their fault. And don't try to hide the fact that you lost your job, especially from your children.

* If you need to vent, find a close friend or confidant, someone with whom you can be irrational without fear that the conversation will be repeated.

* Cool off from the job market for a few days. You don't want to do job interviews when you're still angry.

* Keep your normal social contacts. You should not hide from the world. Your social contacts can provide you with job leads.

* Don't take a vacation. Prospective employers will want to know what you've been doing since you were laid off. It doesn't sound good if you were snorkeling in the Bahamas rather than looking for work.

And finally, don't be caught unprepared. The time to prepare the ground for a job search is before you lose your current job.

Network, network, network. If you don't know how, check out Harvey Mackay's "Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty," "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Changing Careers," by William Charland, and "Networking for Anyone," by L. Michelle Tullier.

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