The company I work for laid off around 9% of its staff last week, and that resulted in an odd couple of days. While no one in my corner of the org chart got the axe, a few I new in other units did. I understand the math behind it- revenues have fallen off a cliff, and cutting loose those salaries will help margins for a quarter or two moving forward. But it still is no fun.
The hardest art to accept was that many of the layoffs had less to do with the quality of work and more to do with the part of the building you worked in. Some dead wood was cut away, but some high performers were let go because they had become a luxury from a financial standpoint.
I had a conversation with a freelance friend of mine who called to check up on me when the layoffs hit the news. He and I agreed that we each need to adopt more of the other's view of the working world- I need to approach each day as if that day's performance will determine if I get to come back the next, much like a freelancer faces each time he reports for a gig. My freelance friend needs to put energy into the long-term relationship he has with each of his clients, and lessen the "what-can-I-do-for-you-today" mindset that is easy to develop when you work for someone one day at a time.
At the base of it, we're all day-to-day, so we might as well act like it.