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Experts give advice for laid-off 20-somethings

Friday, March 27, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

NEW YORK — Losing a job at any age is tough, but for 20-somethings in the beginning of their careers, it can be devastating.

Here's some advice from the experts on how to cope:

  • Know that it's not your fault, said Alexandra Robbins, author of "Conquering Your Quarterlife Crisis." ''You can't take job rejections personally," she said. "There's no shame in it. It's not an uncommon situation to be in right now."
  • Consider if a real threat exists, said Judith Orloff, author of "Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life." For example, if you have marketable skills, can take a part-time gig, have savings and can curtail spending, tell yourself, "I can deal with this," she said
  • Think of the recession as an opportunity, said Nancy Molitor, a clinical psychologist in Wilmette, Ill. Have you always wanted to go to graduate school or start your own business? Now might be the time to try.
  • Consider working for free. Gain some valuable experience that will position you favorably for when the economy recovers, said Nicholas Aretakis, author of "No More Ramen: The 20-something's Real World Survival Guide."
  • Don't let health insurance lapse. You're only one accident or health crisis away from financial ruin, Aretakis said.
  • Eliminate discretionary spending. Eat at home, buy secondhand or refurbished merchandise, curtail spending on social activities, Aretakis said.
  • Pay attention to how you are handling your stress. If you are really having a hard time sleeping, or are worried about bad habits such as drinking, talk to your doctor, said Molitor.
  • Focus on the future, Molitor said. "Our country has been through tough economic times before and has always bounced back," she said.

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