Re: Laid off
Got laid off once (2009), was one of the 'lucky few'* (including our then manager) that had been selected to be 'at risk'. (we're sure they selected those they needed most to go since those were the ones to go). During the next 3 weeks before we were given the final decision that we were going I think I vaguely turned up for about 2/3 of the time, almost no work getting done and our manager (again, one of those slated to go) couldn't have cared less.
* this statement means more than it first seems - see below
On the date we were destined to go it had alresdy been decided that once we were officially redundant all we needed to do was hand in our official laptop + charger + mobile (POS really) + it's charger and we were free.
What didn't go so well was the fact that one of the people slated to go (who had worked out how much he was going to get and had mapped out 2 years of travelling etc) was then told he wasn't going and that he needed to get back to work asap. I ended up about 3 months later getting the contract to go back there to work on a rollout (they hadn't shitted on me really so I went). Strangely enough I met up with about 5 or 6 others who'd been let go who were also contracting for the rollout.
I did spend some time at the branch that the guy that hadn't been allowed to leave was still stationned at - the other rollout contractors moaned that the onsite guy was very un-cooperative, when I saw who it was I quietly enlightened them as to a small bit of recent history and none of them complained any more. In another twist, one of the guys at another branch that'[d been allwed to leave was back 3 days a week on more money than he was before working full time, basically doing the same job he'd been doing before he left.
Rollout finished (and this time I was very glad to go, the project managers for the rollout were total assholes, and we managed to get through about a dozen of them before the rollout was complete). I was the last of the original batch that had been let go that were still there, some had left, others had been shown the door (to be fair those shown the door had mostly deserved it because of their attitude).
Roll forward to my next but one contract that was a local(ish) ISP that had been bought out by a multi-national software giant and they needed 'Corporatising' (as well as removing the old redundant IT kit from the estate). Strangely enough I found the guy heading up my batch of contractors was none other than the guy I'd been working for (he was the co-ordinator, not the boss) when I was full-time at the previous place. Didn't need to interview - he saw my name and said Yes without needing to think too hard about it (nice when this happens).
Turns out that they'd shat on him as well and the place had gone to the dogs after we all left - he was good at 'mitigating' SLA breaches so they invoked an almost never before used clause burried deep in the small print to dump him (the 'We don't like you so you're gone' clause). I also met a number of other former colleagues at that contract (not necessarily in the IT area either) who'd jumped ship when the writing on the wall started to reveal itself.