To paraphrase Bob Dylan: You don't need a newspaper to know which way the layoffs are blowing. With the unemployment rate at nearly 10 percent, it may only be a matter of time before your boss asks if you can "have a little chat" late on a Friday afternoon. Then again, if you know what you're going to do when the ax comes down, you don't have to worry.
We asked two experts for their wisdom on the topic of life after corporate work. Ernie Zelinski -- despite being an admittedly bad writer -- is the bestselling author of "The Joy of Not Working
." Barbara Winter
is an author and advice guru for those seeking a "joyfully jobless life." Through their advice and some other solid layoff tips we tracked down, you can turn layoff lemons into post-work lemonade.
After the jump, check out suggestions for making the most of your mandatory time off
Pick a Recession-Proof New Career
Zelinski mentions debt collector, shoe repairman and bankruptcy lawyer as evergreen jobs that always survive a recession. His rundown of "Best Recession Jobs
" also cites alcohol, gambling, pharmaceuticals and "erotic services" as fail-safe careers -- proving that sex, drugs and vice are the best ways to survive the meltdown of capitalism. Want real job security? Become a pill-popping, card-dealing, bartending gigolo.Reframe the Language
"In the Chinese language, 'crisis' and 'opportunity' are the same characters," notes Zelinski, which might have some bearing on that tramp stamp your girlfriend got in college. "Substitute 'opportunity' for 'problem.' When I got fired from my job over 28 years ago, it was very traumatic. But it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Orson Scott Card said that 'unemployment is capitalism's way of getting you to plant a garden.' Don't freak out just because you got laid off or fired -- sell the produce from your garden." Hell, that's a lesson that intrepid folks in Humboldt County have been trying to teach us for years now. Start a Business, Outsource All the Work
Empty your savings account to start a new business, and then find cheap contractors around the globe willing to do all your work for peanuts. Sound heartless? Welcome to the 21st-century economy, baby. Zelinski recommends Elance.com; other post-work gurus like Tim Ferriss, author of "The 4-Hour Workweek
," swear by the hire-an-Indian service, Brickwork
. Make Cash As a Hack Writer
While all of the writing you encounter at Asylum is Pulitzer-Prize-winning caliber, it's not vital to be as articulate and ingenious as we are. In fact, as Zelinski attests, you can be a crap writer and still make a killing. Itching to write a book, but don't have the chops? "DO IT BADLY -- BUT AT LEAST DO IT! Jump in! Once you get into it, you will improve," he promises. His "badly written" guide, "The Joy of Not Being Married," earned him $50,000 before taxes. Self-Employment Is a Tax Haven
One reason not to miss cubicle hell: You can reimagine yourself as a freelancer and take advantage of creative accounting. "Suddenly, your home office, travel expenses, even your book purchases, may qualify as tax deductions," explains Barbara Winter. "This is one of those invisible perks of self-employment, although it becomes more apparent at tax time." Save every single receipt and just hope the IRS doesn't come a-knockin' with a magnifying glass.Don't Let Joblessness Affect Your Mojo
If you're young and savvy, Zelinski suggests, unemployment won't affect your chances of getting laid. "Read Double Your Dating
by David de Angelo and remember not to come across as being a 'nice guy,'" he says, somewhat sinisterly. "An unemployed funny, cocky young man will do a lot better with young women than an employed, 'nice' young guy." If all else fails, we suggest lying. Why not be a funny, cocky young man who just happens to work for a highly successful, imaginary, hedge fund?