You hear a lot of talk about the economic recovery, but if you’re one of the nearly 3 million Americans who lost their jobs in July 2014, you might not believe the hype. And even if you’re still gainfully employed, you never know when the ax might fall. As Micha Kaufman reports for Forbes, “layoffs still plague millions of Americans,” and sooner or later, you may find yourself clutching a pink slip, wondering what to do next.

You shouldn’t freak out, Kaufman says. Plenty of great people — Oprah, Steve Jobs, etc. — have been canned at one point or another. Instead, follow his “5 Tips to Thrive the Day You’re Fired.” His advice takes into account both your short- and long-term well-being, so read on to see how to conduct yourself if you get the heave-ho.

1. Express Your Grief Privately (But Express It) — It’s healthy to scream, cry, and complain, but don’t do so in the office. Send emails or texts to your closest friends and family members, Kaufman writes, and then gather your things and leave. “But don’t be afraid to really let it all out after you finally clock out,” Kaufman adds. “Grieving loudly — in the appropriate setting — will help you purge the pain and ultimately get past it.”

2. Make ‘Em Say, “He Took It Well” — When news gets around that you’ve been fired or laid off, coworkers will ask how you took the bad news. You want people to think of you as calm and confident. You never know when you might see these people again, and if you get a reputation as a short-tempered computer thrower, it’ll only hurt you later.

3. Think About Your Dream Job — Your first instinct will probably be to jump online and look for jobs in the same field, but take five and think about what you really want to do. This is a golden opportunity to take steps toward your dream job. It might involve taking a class or going outside of your comfort zone, but no guts, no glory.

4. Consider Freelancing — Nowadays, there are numerous websites that will help you market your skills to potential employers. Look around, do your homework, and immerse yourself in some of the online communities.

5. Ask Your Old Boss for Work — If you go the freelance route, Kaufman writes, try making your old boss your first client. “What better way to remind yourself of your strengths, stay current in your field, and stop burning through savings and severance?” he writes. You’ve got nothing to lose. It’s yet another reason to not storm out on your last day.

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