Stop shooting yourself in the foot. Fired vs. Laid off: What's the difference? The word 'layoff' gets thrown about very easily, especially when times are tough and the unemployment rate is high, but getting laid off and getting fired aren't the same thing. Getting fired - when a person is let go from a company, often due to their poor performance, without any hope of being rehired Example: if he hadn't resigned first, David Sokol probably would have been fired by Berkshire Hathaway for violating their ethical code of conduct by buying shares in a company that he knew Berkshire would purchase. Getting laid off - when a person is let go from a company, usually due to their company's poor performance, with the possibility of being rehired if the company's performance improves Example: my entire team of web developers and I were laid off in early 2006, as my employer hoped to save money by outsourcing our work.