They say the economy’s getting better, but I don’t think “they” know what the heck they’re talking about. (Who are “they,” anyway? I loved the Far Side cartoon with the wife walking in on her husband answering multiple phone lines, and she says, “Stan! So you’re the ‘they’ in ‘That’s what they say!'” Ah, good times…) After all, the news is still just full of jolly statistics.

If you think there’s a chance you might be facing a firing line soon, I can tell you about a couple of things I did that took this event from horrific to merely nauseating.

1. I prepared to get canned. I did all the obvious things–brown-bagged it to save money, cut down on unnecessary expenses (I still don’t miss those premium cable channels), paid off whatever debt I could, blah blah all the things They tell you should do blah. In this case, They were right.

2. I tried, though the sheer effort of it made me want to hurl, to be calm. Okay, so I got the call from HR. I could’ve ranted, raved, begged, pleaded, cried, etc. Would it have changed anything? Yeah; I might have been escorted out the door by a burly dude in a uniform. Instead, I took the news like a man–a very Zen man. Possibly the Dalai Lama, or his female equivalent (who is she? Oh, I know, Pema Chodron! Yes, that’s better: I took it like Pema Chodron). Because of that, I was able to negotiate a few extra months’ work–and salary–just by being chill. I know a few other people who pulled this off too. Hey, it’s a little extra money, and freaking out generally doesn’t pay well.

3. I left a good impression–and (almost) everything else. It’s not unheard of these days for people who’ve worked at companies for ten years to be given ten minutes to pack their stuff and leave. Niiiiiiice. Or, even better, workers are even herded outside and told that not only are they getting fired, but that they can’t return to their offices. Now that’s fun! Okay, employers do this because they think that angry now-former employees are going to kill their computers, take staplers, and perpetrate other acts of office mayhem. Brief satisfaction, for sure, and not unheard of. When presented with my brand-new cardboard box, I only took out what I’d brought in–photos of my cats and the Hubbins, my Clark’s Botanicals mug that my friend Francesco gave me, and three packs of Rolaids antacid. Oh, and my Rolodex full of contacts; sorry, Company, but those were mine.

May you never have to use any of these allegedly helpful tips, but if you do, I hope that exit goes well. Oh yeah, another thing–if you do get laid off, don’t blow all your money on getting drunk that night, or at least let still-employed friends buy your Recession-tinis. And now you can spend more time with the love of your life, your adorable offspring, and/or your version of Teddy here.