If you work in this business for more than a couple years, odds are you will be impacted by layoffs. It's the nature of the industry. When a client leaves an agency--layoffs. When a client cuts their budgets--layoffs. When an agency gets a little too fat--layoffs. When a new head creative takes over an agency--usually layoffs. When that new head creative hires some big guns--layoffs! We need to buy some new $2000 ergonomic chairs--layoffs!
So let's pretend you're one of the unfortunate ones. Remain calm. A little anger, bitterness, shock, bruised ego, whatever is fine. But don't beat yourself up over it. No, it's not fair. Very rarely are the people who lose their jobs deserving of it. Sometimes it's related to performance, but more often it has more to do with salary, position, timing and politics.
Layoffs are just one good reason you always want to have your book no more than a day or two from finished. Make sure you have copies of everything--all your spots, print ads, web files, etc--in a box or drawer somewhere. The best thing to do is to constantly update your book and website, but let's face it, most creatives aren't that responsible. But at least have everything standing by.
Most of the people I know who have been laid off end up saying it was one of the better things to happen to them. I don't think they were just trying to cheer themselves up either. They will tell you that being laid off forced them to put their book together and look for greener pastures. And one thing you'll find out--most everyone in the industry would rather be looking for greener pastures, if only we weren't so lazy about keeping our book current.
And one final note: All those social networking sites may just be of some use. LinkedIn, anyone?