Many years ago I worked for a small event management company who got into serious financial trouble. Everyone lost their jobs but because of the nature of the financial trouble we didn't get any sort of payout. Essentially we were told there wasn't going to be enough money to pay us after X date and that was it. Turns out the company hadn't been paying our superannuation for the last few months either so that was a mighty big mess and extremely stressful.
Four of the team were hired by another event management company who took on some the existing clients. Thankfully, one of my clients who didnt go to that other firm recommended me to a different event management company that had taken on their work. So, luckily for me, I wasn't unemployed for very long and ended up working with fabulous people, but the whole experience made me very wary of working for small business.
I also took one of the Qld Govt's "voluntary redundancies" in 2012. Our GM was told he had to shed 25% of his staff. He just needed to pick and choose which ones to go. Awful position for him to be put in and he was devastated that it had to be done but there was no choice. In my case it was voluntary (I was desperate to leave that environment and put my hand up) but for many it came as a complete shock.
I got a reasonable payout (about 6 months pay once you included payout of unused holiday leave) despite only being there for three years. Because of the timing of the redundancy (in October) I decided to take off until January 2013 and then start looking for a new job.
During my break I put some of the redundancy money towards upskilling (all tax deductible too) - I work in marketing and communications, so I did a digital marketing course and went to some networking events to meet other industry people. My husband and I also develop iPhone apps on the side so I spent my time coming up with concepts and testing apps.
When I started applying for work again it took me about three months to find another position. But the Qld economy was a bit of a mess at the time given how many people had flooded the job market at roughly the same time.
I was glad I took some time out to do my own thing. My head wasn't in the right space when I first finished up and I know I would have blown a lot of interviews if I'd gone in carrying the negative baggage from my previous job.
Don't discount the idea of taking a couple of weeks to have a break and relax. Remember that when you do get a new job, it will be awhile before you can take holidays again so take the opportunity while it's there.