Need some proof that people are hurting or scared based on the state of the economy in 2008? I'll give you an easy statistic for where people are at, or where they feel they might be soon, related to work - job application activity in your Applicant Tracking System (ATS) on Thanksgiving Day.
In a highly unscientific piece of data analysis that still feels right, my ATS says that a dramatically increased number of Americans spent a significant part of Thanksgiving Day thinking about finding another job. That kind of stinks, but if you are out of work or in employment jeopardy, you do what you have to do.
Here's my ATS stats. The number of job applications from unique candidates to SourceMedical on Thanksgiving Day was up 1000% over 2005, 2006 and 2007 levels. Our job count and quality of positions available are roughly the same across all those years, and I don't see anything, other than the economy, that would explain the difference.
So, if you are in a solid employment situation, do what Kelly Dingee over at Fistful of Talent recommends and pay it forward by becoming an agent of sorts to those in your network looking for work. You can't necessarily help them land at your company, but as a HR or recruiting professional, you're well positioned to help them land somewhere through introductions, resume and interviewing advice, etc.
Pay it forward. You'll feel good, and odds are that by developing your network in this way, it'll be there when you need it most.