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15 Ways Vets Can Avoid the Pink Slip

No job is guaranteed in these uncertain economic times. And, while the Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernake and other economic experts say that the U.S. economy is on its way to rebounding, unemployment still remains at its highest level in decades, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This means that employers are still making cuts as needed, especially when it comes to staff.

Veterans who have just entered workforce and have trouble navigating through the ups and downs of civilian jobs, may find themselves wondering if their job is the next to go. But don't panic, there are ways veterans can stay above the fray and stay employed.

As former military personnel, you're already endowed with a strong work ethic, discipline and intelligence, which is why your employer hired you. However, these 15 tips from Veterans Across America, will help stay connected to your company's goals and success, and ultimately help you keep your job:

1. Serve your company faithfully, aggressively and tirelessly, just as you once served your country. But, the first day you sense even a hint of your being expendable, finalize your battle plan. Your next day, start looking for a new job -- inside or outside your company. Discreetly, of course.

2. Develop one or more powerful internal company mentors as allies both to protect your flanks and enhance your intra-company image.

3. Develop and foster professional relationships with an external mentor who is a guru in your professional field or function. If promoted to a new department -- for example, from sales to marketing -- find an external mentor versed in your new field.

4. "Join" your company's Board of Directors. Learn to track earnings just as your board members do. Learn to spot signs that a staff cut may be imminent.

5. Watch for unfamiliar "buzz words" in emails and company communications. Like calls for the team to be "more entrepreneurial"(meaning "produce or leave"). Or a "business check-up," (meaning cost reductions, e.g. layoffs are on the way).

6. Know the danger signs and develop defensive postures accordingly. If excluded from meetings you've always attended ... or you can't see your boss as often as before ... or you're sent on "special assignment" during reorganization - you are vulnerable.

7. Beware of consultants or unfamiliar professionals who show up. Management often turns to outsiders to look "objectively" at how best to boost productivity -- and reduce head count.

8. Make yourself more personally attractive. Pay attention to the preferences of those who evaluate you, on dress, behavior, work habits. Wherever you differ -- adjust accordingly.

9. Develop a personal and professional "wow factor." Every company has one. Learn it and exercise it.

10. Adjust your personal "time clock." If the boss is "AM," so should you be. If he (or she) is "PM," stay until dark - especially when things get shaky.

11. Cross-train to improve your value. Like learning Russian, or what competitor companies are doing. Learn to play the piano or golf, as a counter-balance to work stress. Golf is great because maybe you'll play with your boss.

12. Become a "corporate Baptist" and "self tithe" no less than 10 percent of your time to self-promotion and name recognition. Use outside sources to influence your value to internal management. Follow the lead of the "Big Boys" in building community, political, organizational, and volunteer relationships. 13. Paranoia isn't all bad. Maintain a private diary, including memos you receive, to record events which later may be challenged. Act like there is an imaginary gun to your head. If you're in a staff role, transition to a revenue-producing role.

14. Develop the perception of financial independence. Those who wield the career knife seem less likely to sever the individual who is not going to miss the paycheck.

15. Don't be complacent. Put these survival tactics into play, now. Before it's too late to get started.

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