My sister Jan is the successful one. She's been at IBM for 27 years, in various important-sounding positions. She's most recently working with selling to the government, basically, and government is the one sector in this sucky economy still hiring.

IBM just had an outrageously lucrative quarter. So what do they do? Lay off my sister! This is IBM. They didn't even lay off people during the Great Depression. She's in sales, she's successful, and she's probably already doing at least three peoples' jobs.

She's a little surprised, to say the least. She has a pension, severance, and the opportunity to apply to other internal jobs. Well, her whole department of 80 people who all got laid off today have the opportunity to apply to the 10 reorganized jobs available.

When I got laid off from Fujitsu on August 15, 2001, it was the best day I'd had in years. It was pretty obvious it was going to happen -- our office was left with just me and my boss and we hadn't had a sale for months.

Being in the first round of layoffs, I got a little severance and my piddly 401k grew like crazy in the six required months before I could get to it. The people laid off after me got none of that. So I still haven't found work -- I got to be a stay-at-home mom for a while. You don't appreciate what you have when you're always thinking of what you want.

Since Jan's house is on the market, unsold, and big and expensive to maintain, it would be really convenient if it would sell. Then she could afford to be a stay-at-home mom, too.

And maybe, just maybe, she'd be able to answer the phone when I call!