Called in to help companies lay people off, and to offer career guidance aimed at easing the newly unemployed into their next jobs elsewhere, outplacement firms are pretty busy these days, especially in the financial services industry, writes Fortune’s Anne Fisher in her April 4 Ask Annie column.

Have you been offered professional job-hunting help as part of a layoff? Just severance? Nothing at all? Does having a job coach help? Can it speed your job search?