Re: Timing is everything
We didn't get laid off though.
I did - from a company that produced RTOS'es, later aquired by Intel. I was the EU network and Solaris admin and worked with my counterpart in California to keep things running.
One day in 2001/2002 (can't remember the exact date) I rode into work and saw that my boss was sitting in the HR office. At that point I knew that either myself or my Windows-side colleage were surplus to requirements.
It turned out to be me - on the basis that "my colleague in the US" would look after the EU stuff.
Amusingly, he quit about a month after I was made redundant.. Apparently, things went a bit haywire for a while since no-one knew anything much about the network and how to herd YP to add new users.
 A thoroughly nice bloke, usually resident in Paris. Which meant that I got to go there at regular intervals to meet him. Not the worst job in the world :-)
 He had always promised that, were any of us to be made redundant, that he would always come in person to give us the bad news and he stuck to his promises. That guy taught me more than anyone else how to be a good manager. He was also happy for me to tidy stuff up off my desktop and not have me marched off-site immediately since he trusted us.
 Our regular HR person was away at the time so the finicky details (money and the like) were all handled by HR in Germany. When she got back, she blew a fuse and changed things so that I ended up with several thousand more in redundancy pay, all tax-free. She might have been about as non-technical as you could be, but she was one of the (very few) good and compassionate HR people I've ever known. That was a good company to work for, except for the brief period when it was run by the usual MBA-psychopath types.
 Good old packet-switched stuff. I think we had a 10Mbit Frame-Relay PVC over to our EU headquarters and several shadow-PVCs that could come in if we needed more bandwidth or the main one fell over. One month our bandwidth usage shot up and we discovered that one of the programmers had started listening to BBC Radio 1 over the Internet. Given that we paid by the MB, it was costing us a fortune. Since I had a Packeteer to manage bandwidth, after my first request for him to stop was ignored, the bandwidth allocated to Internet streaming media 'accidentally' got reduced to a max of 500 bytes/sec. Just enough to give some sound but very, very long skips and pauses. He got the hint.