- Reflect on your career and recognize what you don't want, but more importantly, what you want from your employment and career. Eventually, you will find that you have options, but you want to be able to judge whether any new situation is truly better for you, or just different.
- Learn something new. Healthy distractions are a good thing. I biked. I biked a lot. I learned about the cloud and big data. I built up a new list of startup ideas.
- Confide in your close friends and colleagues. I owe a big thank you to a handful of you, some of whom I could not disclose any detail on what was going on.
- Find an alternative form of expression - I blogged more. I tweeted. I cooked. I started writing a book. My one regret was not finishing it.
- Determine your "outs". This is a poker term, and refers to making sure you have options and only go all in (or bet big) with your chips when you can draw a big card that can improve your hand. If you're out of work or might be soon, it's critical to do the basic things to make sure you can sit at the table with the pros like network, get your LinkedIn profile updated, etc. but that's not enough. Think about what you'd do if you were solo for awhile. What services could you offer? Who could be an early customer? How might you get the word out that you were available?
I'll be the first to admit that I wasn't very good at following this or any advice. If you've hit rock bottom, hang in there and build your ladder.