With the way the economy is these days, you can not only no longer count on working in the same place for the rest of your life, you may not even be able to count on working in the same place for the rest of the week. Getting laid off can happen to anybody in the workplace.  So what can you do if it happens to you? Here are some tips:

Make sure you get what you are entitled to

Don’t think that you are too proud to negotiate a severance, get your vacation time paid, or apply for unemployment. Or think that you will somehow be sticking it to your old employer by not taking any money from them on your way out. Not only are these things all items you are entitled to, but they could keep you afloat until you find another job. In addition, make sure you sign up for COBRA (continued health insurance coverage.) It can be expensive, but it will be priceless if you need it.

Take some time for yourself

Sure, you will need to look for a job soon, but you also need a little breathing space. So if you want to do nothing for a few days, or go to an amusement park or a spa day or a weekend trip or whatever, feel free to do so, within reason. That doesn’t mean, of course, that you can decide to spend the next six months getting caught up on “Real Housewives” episodes , but spending some time attempting to regroup is fine.

Reach out to your contacts – but watch what you say

Tell family members, friends, old classmates, previous employers, and whoever else that is a potential networking contact that you are in the market for a new job. However, keep the venting and the griping with your loved ones, and not with potential job contacts. You don’t want to come across as bitter or vindictive. And you don’t want to badmouth your old employer, even if you are in the right. Here’s the thing – people who could potentially help you find a new job will think less of you if you are griping about your old boss. They will think in the back of their minds that you will be talking that way about them one day.

Think about what you want to do for your career

It may be annoying to hear from others about how getting laid off from your job can be a positive thing – and you will indeed hear that from people – but you can potentially find your calling now. Some people would never have the guts to start their own business or seek out their dream job if they weren’t laid off. Why not try to find a new, better life for yourself? You can also talk with a career coach (click here for more information) for career clarity.

Along those lines, you may want to update or completely redo your resume, go back to school, or do some other next step. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t know what you want to do right away, though. It may take time to decide what you really want to be. Just give yourself lots of opportunities to learn more about what to do next.