I just read an article from Computer World about how to remain positive in a down economy. I found the article to be spot on.
The first item was going back to your roots and doing the things that attracted you to a career in IT. I agree. If you are not doing something you love now, go back and reflect on why. Perhaps it is learning something new, or fixing something old. Get the flame back.
The second item referred to social networking. I am on Linked-In, Twitter, Facebook, Plaxo, etc. I know a number of people who have made this their personal addictions. I have not become addicted to it, but I find a lot of value. The ability to connect with friends, colleagues (current and former), peers, and associates is truly satisfying. It can help you in many ways, as long as, you are careful not to post anything that you would not be proud to show your mother.
They mention getting out into the real world. I would agree. I recommend joining your local user groups (Java Users Group), and attend free conferences like the Southeast Linux Fest. These groups are your peers, and contacts to potential jobs. Conferences can enhance your technical skills, and allow you to meet like minded individuals. It also can expose you to new technologies to make your IT life better.
The article also mentions getting technical certifications. I could not agree more. Here again, your local technical user group may be able to help by offering courses, certification boot camps, or technical deep dives. You can also enhance your knowledge by offering to give talks. You will really learn how much of a subject matter expert you are based on the questions the attendees ask.