I've been laid off 9 times until now. First time was the wrong career, and not the one I really wanted. After two years I took my troubles to my employer and we agreed to cancel the contract.
The second time was in 2001, after the dot-com bubble had burst. No surprise here.
The third was after 3 months. I had been hired to programm an LMS but was used to teach a class because they were out of teachers. After the course was over I got laid off.
The fourth was after a company that had grown with 6000% (six thousand percent) in one year downsized from roughly 600 to about 350 - I negotiated a good severance. Half a year later roughl 150 people were laid off with no severance at all. ...
I've since found that for me it makes no sense to bend myself to fit into a position that no longer has any worth to it - neither for me or my employer. I actually usually feel quite alive when I'm out of a job that has become a drag and usually can see it coming months ahead. Downsizing in expenses, strange project cancelations, weird/crappy assignments of positions, poor gouvernance actually hurting the bottom line, etc.. It, of course, also comes with the type of job I do: non-specialised web development. Last decade I was specialized in Flash/ActionScript, and we all know how much worth that is now.
I've since moved to FOSS only / proprietary never again and now do LAMP with Wordpress as main toolkit. Not exactly the most stable proposition either, but I can always get a new gig within a few days. I've also done very long stretches of freelance / contract work. It feels good to be able to walk on your own if the need arises.
I've also since discovered how important it is not to work with assholes and that roughly 80% of agencies/webshops are actually run by those. 20% however, are not. I'm currently at one of those. IT cluelessness that makes you gasp for air every once in a while - as usual - but a surprising lack of douchebags. The bosses are all cool, I as the lone IT guy am free to do as I wish and we have a very high count on women PMs (actual women, not office-girlies) that add a lot to the relaxed, professional and non-pissing-contest vibe at the company.
It rather work at such a place than at a "professional shop" filled with antisocial idiots I've since found out aswell.
Almost every layoff forced me into action and almost every one had a measurable positive impact on my life and career. I'm now a seasoned professional and can smell a dead project or a company in emergency douchebag shutdown mode from miles away. I've seen enough shops and teams and companies to instantly tell which crew will fail, which will make it and why. And I have become self-confident enough not to be pushed around by psychopaths who haven't got a private life.
Being laid off is far less bad than being stuck in a dead-end job for years on end.