In tough economic times, even good employees may lose their jobs. If you have just been handed a pink slip or, worse yet, received a mass e-mail saying your job has been eliminated, respond in a way that ensures you are well thought of long after you have moved on. Consider the following strategies:

1. Leave your job on a positive note.

Avoid making negative or disparaging comments about the organization or your managers. View this development as an impetus for you to explore other previously unimagined career opportunities.

2. Examine the reasons for your dismissal.

If you've lost your job simply because of the economic downturn, accept that and move on. If, however, your firing is directly related to some action you undertook, take responsibility for your behaviors. If you offended someone within your organization, and that is the cause of your dismissal, make sure to apologize for your actions.

3. Contact your managers and thank them for the career opportunities and direction they provided while you worked with them.

Don't hesitate to ask those managers whether they would be willing to serve as a reference for you as you begin to explore new employment.

4. Commit to staying in touch with managers and peers.

If they are not already part of your professional network, immediately ask them to serve in that capacity. Any one of those individuals may be able to direct you to a new job.

5. Avoid burning bridges.

Losing a job is a tough and emotionally draining experience. Lashing out at others, however, will not improve your employability. Make sure you leave in a manner that ensures others wish to continue to help you.

Finally, keep in mind that losing a job is not a unique experience and instead look at it as an opportunity to start fresh.

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A graduate of George Washington Law School, Mary Crane lobbied in Washington, D.C. for nearly 10 years before pursuing her life-long interests in food and wine. Crane enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America and, upon graduation, worked at the White House as an assistant chef. During this time, Crane discovered the important relationships between food, wine and business. Her desire to share this unique knowledge yielded Mary Crane & Associates. Today, Crane travels North America delivering high-impact, high-energy programs to Fortune 500 companies and more than 50% of the AmLaw100. She supports new employees by explaining how to quickly assimilate in today's fast-paced work environment. Crane also helps managers understand how to best recruit, motivate, and retain today's newest workers. • Visit her Web site

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