Despite statistics that indicate many of us are in a growing economy, layoffs will continue to be the norm.  I meet many people who were surprised after their employer started headcount cutbacks while business and stock prices were growing.  This means that many solid performers might find themselves on the outside, for reasons beyond their control.

If you find yourself on the wrong side of the employee door, don't just get mad. Use this moment to help yourself in the future.

Here are  5 smart actions I've seen taken by careerists who were recently called into their last meeting as an employee:

1. Keep cool ( or at least as cool as possible) - Avoid showing anger or tears if you get laid off. Try to treat it like a business decision that has little to do with who you are, and your contributions while there.

2. Don't try to talk your way out of it - The decision's been made.  Debating the pros and cons of this will get you nowhere.  Their minds won't be changed.

On the other side, you may end up with a better 'package' if you behave well - it can't hurt to say that you understand their decision - even if you think it is wrong - and wish them well.

3. Ask for a little more help 'out there' - Although most organizations  will have pre-determined salary of wage approach for all, you may be able to get a little more assistance.

That could include a letter of referral, some outplacement or coaching assistance, even moving expenses.

4. Keep in contact - Make a copy of the names and addresses of any people inside and outside who may be able to help you get another job elsewhere.  Do this one first.

5. Look after your body...and soul - Even those who expected to be let go will have a tough go of it.  Recognize that your body is going to go out of sync as your routine is changed dramatically.  Get into a new regimen that includes exercising (good for body and helps deal with the mental stress), diet changes (less coffee/beer/sweet buns - you may crave more of those,) and take a few day trips to museum / park / art gallery.

This will help clear your head.

Finally, if you're asked to go for a 'good bye' drink - do it.  Former colleagues, even the boss, are still one of the best ways to learn about other opportunities.