Note: The original version of the post was published in February of 2018.

After a very long search (8 months to be exact), countless applications and interviews, I’m heading back to work. But, that’s not the important part, I learned quite a few lessons during my time off! In that, I’d like to share six things I learned in case you’re ever fired, laid off or find yourself otherwise out of work. I hope you won’t need this info, but if you do I hope it helps in some small way.

1. Stay calm. Don’t do anything irrational. This is easier if you follow the next couple of ideas, but it’s important to get your mind straight after losing your job. It will be a bit of a shock to the system no matter how well prepared you are.

2. Set up and save a cash reserve of at least six months of expenses. Ideally, you have this done before something comes up. If you don’t have one yet, stop here and do this NOW!

Having a cash reserve allows you to live for a while without a lot of stress so you can focus on getting a job that moves your career forward instead of taking whatever is available. This is the best piece of advice I can give. It saved my butt many times – including the time I had to buy a new phone unexpectedly!

3. Always have your resume ready. While you’re employed, update this document once a quarter with any new accomplishments. Because of this tip, I had my resume ready to go in about 15 minutes of losing my job. This allowed me to apply for work right away and get my resume into the hands of recruiters and my network.

4. Network, network, network. I really enjoyed doing this during my time off and intend to make it more of a part of my weekly routine going forward. I do wish I was more proactive about this prior to being asked to leave my last job, but it made a difference in my mood and brought in many great opportunities during my search. Plus, I got to hang out and reconnect with a lot of really awesome people.

5. Know what you’re looking for and cast a wide net. Be sure to have a clear picture of what you want. Everyone you talk to will ask you this question. Having an answer ready allows people to start making connections for you. However, be open to different ideas and opportunities that will lead you in another direction.

6. Take time off if you need it. You might get to a point, as I did, where everything about the search just plain sucks. Give yourself the ability to take a few days off. Don’t think about the search at all. Being mad at the situation or frustrated will only reduce your chance of success as it will show in your search efforts and interviews. That said, set a time limit on this, a week tops.

If you’re looking for work, know that you will find a new place. And, if I can be of help in any way feel free to reach out. And, I also recommend that you use my job search tracker. It’s like a CRM for job searchers. The document is easy to manage and has everything you need to stay on top of your applications.