So you're one of the unlucky ones. The entire economy is crumbling around us, and with every single company in existence looking to cut costs and become more efficient, you were deemed to be expendable. It's a lousy situation, to be sure, but with the proper mindset and a plan of action, you can turn getting laid off into a springboard to, if not riches and happiness, at least a few steps above complete destitution and desperation. And really, in your situation, that should sound pretty sweet. Don't get greedy. Anyhow, on to your new life plan.
1. Suck Up to Those Who Wronged You
Your former boss took credit for all the work you did and then got you canned to save her own ass. The intern whose resume you pulled from the slush pile was promoted the day you packed your boxes. And the owner of the company continues to rake in millions while you're now forced to subsist on cans of beans you're too sad to heat up before eating. But while you might want to send off emails telling these people what kinds of unspeakable acts they should be subjected to, resist that urge. Instead, swallow what small amount of pride you have left and send them polite emails telling them how much of a pleasure it was to work with them. You never know when they'll be hiring again, after all.
2. Get Mooching
So you're without a source of income. There's a silver lining to that dark cloud: there are all sorts of systems set up to help you, the unemployed. The first thing you've gotta do is sign up for unemployment, but don't stop there. Now's the time to call the folks and ask for a little help. Assuming it's been a while since you asked for money from them, the chances are good that they'll give you a loan or even a gift of some cash. And what about your friends that still have jobs? Now is when you need to start guilting them and guilting them hard. They should provide you with free drinks at the very least, if not free meals. Try to rotate through employed friends in an organized way to spread out the mooching over as long a time period as possible.
3. Follow Your Dreams
Hey, you've always daydreamed about writing that quirky-yet-heartfelt screenplay or launching a Web 2.0 site that lets people keep track of their exercise regimen. What better time to tackle these impractical dreams than now? The worst that could happen is that you'll have filled up your overwhelming and soul-crushing amount of free time with something somewhat productive, and if it works out you could be better off than you were before. But because, realistically speaking, you're way too undisciplined to actually write an entire novel, it's best to also set some realistic goals too. You know, like finishing Fallout 3 or eating an entire pizza in one sitting. Just so you don't get discouraged.
4. Check Craigslist Once Per Day
You've got to put in your time looking for a new job every day, and we all know what that means: scanning Craigslist in the late morning/early afternoon when you wake up. Send off your resume to jobs from the three main categories that you'll find: those that seem below you, those vaguely described and possibly horrible, and those obviously too good for you to ever have a shot. When you never hear back from any of them, chalk it up to a combination of Craigslist being totally worthless and the economy being so bad that it's literally impossible for you to find a new job. You'll then be able to start your day with a clear conscience, knowing that at least you made an effort.
5. Sell Your Junk
You bought all sorts of worthless-yet-valuable junk when you were gainfully employed, and now is the time to turn said junk back into the cash from whence it came. That Wii you haven't touched in 18 months could probably get you over a hundred bucks on eBay, and your fancy digital camera could easily be sold off as well. Any splurges you made on expensive clothes could turn into cash if you bring them to a vintage store that pays for decent items as well. If you run out of possessions to sell and are really desperate, there's always your plasma, semen, or paid medical experiments (which you can find in the back of the paper). There's plenty of cash to be gathered out there for those at the proper level of desperation.
6. Pool Your Lack of Resources
With so many layoffs coming from so many directions, you're far from the only person in your situation. If you're both unemployed and single, why not work on ameliorating both of these problems at once? Seek out available singles of your preferred gender who are also without work in either the dive bar scene or on dating websites. When you find a suitable person, you'll have someone to help waste those long, long days with. And instead of feeling like you need to go out on weekend nights to places that sell pints of beer for $8, you can stay in, watch episodes of Battlestar Galactica on your laptop that you downloaded via BitTorrent, eat those beans (which you'll be cheered up enough to cook) and have lazy, unshowered sex. It's a cheap weekend on a number of levels.
7. Admit defeat and go back to school
OK, so going back to school because you lost your job is basically admitting that you've failed at adulthood. And going and getting something like a MFA in creative writing is essentially like going to a camp for nerdy adults that will leave you further in debt than when you started. But hey, for those three years how awesome will life be? You'll be drinking 25 cent pitchers of beer with a bunch of Midwestern 19 year olds who will be totally enraptured with your horror stories of working in the big bad real world. And your job will be TAing, as I understand it, which I seem to remember not looking like a very tough job. And let's face it, the alternative to this is moving back home with your parents, and I'm certainly not going to suggest such a horrible idea to you. So it looks like getting your masters in medieval literature it is! You're welcome.