"Your position has been eliminated. Your last day of work will be today."
If you haven't heard this line before, it may be in your future. It can be pretty traumatic, and you'll have so many questions, you won't even know which ones to ask. In case this happens to you, here is a list of things you need to know. You don't have to know the answers immediately after being notified, but you should find them out within the next few days.
Here are 10 questions you should have answered. Most (if not all!) should be answered by reading the paperwork you have. If not, call your manager or HR person.
1. The date your health insurance ends
2. Severance amount
3. Conditions you have to meet to be eligible for severance (usually there is what is known as a "General Release" you have to sign)
4. The date you need to have your paperwork returned to the company
5. Any additional obligations on your part—filing expense reports or returning laptops, a BlackBerry, or company documents you may have at home
6. Check references: Will they simply verify employment or will they give you a positive reference?
7. Eligibility for rehire: Can you come back?
8. If you are eligible to be rehired, what job posting resources are available?
9. Can you receive unemployment pay at the same time you are receiving severance?
10. Is there any outplacement assistance?
Suzanne Lucas has nine years of human resources experience, most of which has been in a Fortune500-company setting. She holds a Professional in Human Resources Certificate from the Society for Human Resource Management. She blogs at Evil HR Lady.