Call it what you want -- being laid off or downsized, getting dismissed or fired, losing your job hurts. Among a variety of life-altering events, such as death in the family, divorce, and serious illness, losing your job ranks among the highest in stress-causing situations
What not to say
"It's not a reflection of your work" – which is exactly what they will be thinking – why them and not someone else?
"It's probably for the best" – why? Even if I didn't particularly like my job – I didn't make the decision to leave.
Avoid questions, questions, questions "what are you going to do now? How will you pay the mortgage? What will your wife say? How will you manage?" You're prying and none of these questions will make the person feel better – just more under pressure.
"You’re so talented you won't have a hard time finding a job" – the job market is bad, and there's no guarantee about anything these days.
What to say
Push aside survivor guilt and seek the person out to offer comfort!
"I'm so sorry."
"I don't know what you want to do, but I want you to know that I support you."
"Can I help you in any way - getting your stuff together and returning anything to the office (cars, laptops, etc) to avoid having to come back in?"
"I would love to stay in touch – would that be OK?" (IF you mean it!)
"I really enjoyed working with you and would be happy to provide references."
"Success is never a destination - its' a journey."
--Satenig St. Marie
"Success is that old A B C - ability, breaks, and courage."
- Charles Luckman
"Success isn't measured by the position you reach in life; it's measured by the obstacles you overcome."
-- Booker T. Washington
"There is nothing permanent except change".
"You learn more from ten days of agony than from ten years of content".
-- S. J. Raphael
"Getting what you go after is success; but liking it while you are getting it is happiness."