This story does not have a happy ending.
Let's start with how much I hate my job. I'm working for a company so horribly mismanaged it's beyond funny - but beyond that, the culture is one where nobody takes responsibility but everyone casts blame. The loser in this game is someone who is responsible... because he doesn't engage in the game. That's me.
Last Friday, my employer laid off about 15-20% of its US workforce. I was out that day, taking care of Vicky. On Sunday, when things returned a bit more to normal for us and we decided to do some shopping, Vicky checked out bank balance and... found out that my check hadn't been deposited. After a little digging, I learned of the layoffs and Vicky said, "You know, they don't direct deposit your check when they lay you off... They cut you a live check." My position - in fact, my whole team of three employees - is responsible for walking papers to people. I'm not kidding. I take paperwork from one group of people and walk it to another group of people. Basically, it's the least necessary position at the company. If anyone was going to be laid off... well, you get the picture.
Immediately, I was afraid. Terrified. In this economy, the last thing you want to be is out of work. And I'd only been at the company for six months. It had only taken a few days to learn what a hell-hole it was, to be told that there were no raises, no promotions, no bonuses, no incentives... that everyone did only what they needed to do to keep their job and, when they didn't do that, blamed the other guy. But I couldn't lose my job! I needed the money! I didn't quite panic, but I did get close. I worried quite a bit...
... and then, Monday morning, I realized: Wait. I hate my job! I'll get unemployment benefits and find another - or I'll do consulting work, or contract jobs. I'll find something better, something meaningful and fulfilling and worthwhile!
Then, I found out I hadn't been laid off. I still had my crappy ass job.