Mike and I have a friend who was just laid off from his in-house job. The timing of the thing is pretty unfortunate because he was only at the company for about 6 months, so current interviewers seem to have a hard time figuring out why he's moving now, and because he and his fiancee are currently planning their wedding for later this year (just a bit of stress and expense accompany that sort of thing). We went to lunch with them today and we didn't really know whether to bring anything up and what to say. It could have been pretty awkward, right?
The amazing thing is I left lunch feeling really happy and excited for him. It really brought the point home to me that life is what you make of it. Our friend is seriously considering using the new situation he's in to take an opportunity to hang a shingle. He (like me) never would have expected that would be something that might interest him (BigLaw resume, transactional guy), but he's taking a bit of stock and he's genuinely excited to be doing the research and figuring out what is feasible for him - whether it be getting office space or working from home, whether he should get some contract/overflow stuff or if things would come along through his connections, how he'll be able to manage his schedule and choose what jobs/projects he wants to do. Mike and I were able to talk about our friends who have done something similar* and brainstorm a bit with him, and you could tell by the way he talked about things that he was really happy to get feedback and ideas.
I really hope that this goes his way. He deserves it and I'm completely in awe of his attitude and determination.
*[one of those people who happens to stop by here from time to time should expect e-mails or IMs on the subject from me sometime soon]