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Should veterans be up front with employers about PTSD?

(Business News) When a veteran with PTSD is on the job hunt, how should the waters be navigated? Directly or passively? Should coworkers be made aware? Let’s address some of these topics.

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Veterans with PTSD: on the job hunt

Earlier this year, we learned ways that employers can accommodate veterans suffering from PTSD, including the fact that PTSD isn’t visible and companies can’t legally ask if a candidate suffers from PTSD. Also, we learned that employers looking for top notch candidates, accommodations can be made for PTSD sufferers like allowing employees that note they have PTSD to step out of situations that trigger a negative reaction, and that better mental health benefits can be added.

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But on the flip side, should veterans be honest about their PTSD, or should they hide it? Should they share during an interview their struggle, or should they keep it to themselves? Should they tell coworkers? How should PTSD victims interact with the work force – head on or passively?

Four tips for vets with PTSD

Mike Ligouri, the Director of Community from Unite US offers four tips for veterans with PTSD who are on the job hunt, in his own words below:

  1. Know your triggers– There are certain instances or situations that trigger episodes within veterans with PTSD. It is important to understand what those triggers are when job searching so that you don’t search for jobs that will regularly put you in situations that can cause an episode.
  2. Networking– Networking is one of the best ways to find a job, and with a massive military veteran community, it is easy to find a mentor or someone who can help you with interviewing skills, finding open positions, introducing you to the right people in your field of interest, etc.
  3. Find military friendly companies– Most civilian employers don’t truly understand PTSD, making it difficult with those with PTSD to explain their capabilities as well as their limits. However, military friendly companies have a much better understanding of PTSD and are more willing to work with their employees who experience it.
  4. Ask questions in your interview– This goes back to knowing your triggers. By having a full understanding of your triggers, you can ask the appropriate questions while you are interviewing and figure out if the environment or type of work is conducive to you. Don’t forget, when you are on an interview, you are also interviewing the company, and you need to make sure it is the right place for you.

There are ways to navigate the waters when job hunting with PTSD, and employers have ways (as mentioned) of accommodating so they don’t miss out on high quality candidates. A better understanding of triggers by all parties can go a long way toward a positive work environment.

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Wounded Times Blog

    December 26, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    The answer is clearly no. PTSD is not something anyone else is expected to disclose. Survivors of crimes, don’t have to. Survivors of natural disasters, don’t have to. Car crash survivors, fire, floods, you name it, don’t have say a word. Veterans shouldn’t have to either.

    • agbenn

      December 26, 2013 at 6:57 pm

      a thanks for plugging your blog, b read the article. and c, no one says it has to be disclosed, but there are some benefits that come with allowing your employer to help in every way possible. You’re welcome to quip back, but I won’t respond. As a sufferer of PTSD myself every ounce of help our Vets get will never be enough.

      • Wounded Times Blog

        December 30, 2013 at 6:39 am

        a, It was not a plug for my blog or I would have mentioned it. b, I did read the article but did not agree with it. c, Simply pointing out that anyone can have PTSD but since employers are still clueless, it can do more harm than good. Your response was very rude. I have been living and fighting the stigma of PTSD for over 30 years with my Vietnam Vet husband and advocating for all veterans.

  2. Timothy Dempsey

    January 2, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    Agree, agbenn, “every ounce of help our Vets get will never be enough.” The sacrifices they have made are beyond what they imagined and the support they get when they come home falls so short of what they deserve its down right embarrassing…if not unpatriotic. As well, sdnative, with the concern about government sign-up programs for veterans which do more damage than good. It’s extremely frustrating to watch veterans make all the right moves and still not get the help they need and have been promised. And let’s not leave the nonprofits out of the equation. Because of the unprecedented successes of organizations like Wounded Warriors, there are all sorts of nefarious people trying to use veteran causes as an angle to promote themselves and make a buck. It’s absolutely disgusting. And (unrelated to my previous remark) thank you Wounded Times Blog for what you have done for your husband and other veterans suffering with PTSD. I do agree in general that the private sector is clueless about PTSD. Hiring managers in particular need to be educated about what PTSD is and most definitely what it is not. No mater how supportive an employer professes to be, unless hiring managers are brought along their professions are simply promotions and end up doing no good (and probably some damage) to veterans that need a break getting a job. I am also not a veteran and don’t understand all the nuances but I have been pretty active with the issue from within the nonprofit sector and do recognize how poorly society is set up to repay veterans for their service when they return home.

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Business Entrepreneur

Is COVID proving that efficiency is overrated?

(BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR) Forget about maximizing profits. Don’t decrease friction – increase it. Oh, and efficiency? Overrated. Wait… what?

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Cut off man working on multiple devices, but lacking efficiency.

When COVID-19 took off in the U.S., shortages of toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and blow-up pools had many of us thinking the American manufacturing supply chain must be inefficient. How was it even possible that we didn’t – and still don’t – have enough PPE for healthcare workers?

But what if the problem is that the supply chain is too efficient? That’s what Barry Schwartzis, a professor of psychology at UC-Berkeley and author of “The Paradox of Choice,” argues. Streamlined supply chains, just-in-time deliveries, and little slack in the workforce are all part of the gospel of efficiency. But maybe all that efficiency isn’t really working out for us.

Storing huge supplies of masks in warehouses is, arguably, an inefficient use of money and space. But we sure could have used a stockpile when the pandemic hit.

When businesses run lean, there’s little room to hedge against potential disasters. Schwartzis suggests we focus less on efficiency and more on being prepared for all potential scenarios the uncertain could bring.

It’s all about “satisficing.” (Anyone else now have Elvis in your head singing, “All this aggravation ain’t satisfactionin’ me”? No? Carry on.)

Satisficing = satisfaction + sufficing. It’s aiming for the adequate, not the optimal. Schwartzis calls it insurance against “financial meltdowns, global pandemics, nasty bosses, boring teachers and crappy roommates.” Sign. Us. Up.

He goes farther and takes that lesson to our personal lives. Don’t try to blow the return on your IRA out of the water. Set a goal that works for good and bad financial times. Don’t search for the best of all possible jobs. Find a job you’ll like doing even if you have the manager from hell. In short, look for the “good enough.”

Sound familiar to those of you who are parents? Amid all the talk of the Tiger Mom and the Helicopter Parent, there’s also been discussion of the Good-Enough Parent. You might want the coffee mug that says “Best Mom Ever,” but you don’t actually have to be the Best Mom Ever. Ditching “best” for “good enough” is like a magic elixir for de-stressing yourself and your kids.

Still, the idea that we can increase efficiency in our personal lives is so seductive. We all want to spend less time doing the things we don’t enjoy so we can spend more time on things that bring happiness and, yes, more money. You’ve read the books, listened to the podcasts, seen the lists: Structure your schedule. Time your tasks. Organize all the things.

Being able to always find your keys certainly could reduce the amount of cursing in your home. We can’t just toss out the Holy Grail of efficiency.

So Schwartzis has another word for you: Friction. Slow down. Don’t move too fast.

“Building friction into our lives, as individuals and as a society, is building resilience into the system,” Schwartzis says. It’s like tapping the brakes.

For business, friction could come from companies seeing themselves as caretakers of their communities rather than just profit centers. Could that kind of corporate responsibility lead to fewer jobs eliminated in the name of efficiency?

For homeowners, friction could be in the form of kids, pets, neighbors or the community – making you see the property as more than just a big investment. Could that prevent skyrocketing housing prices by reducing speculation based purely on profit?

Sure, maybe that’s a stretch, but it’s an interesting take on issues we’re thinking more about amid the disruption of 2020’s pandemic.

“To be better prepared next time,” Schwartzis says, “We need to learn to live less ‘efficiently’ in the here and now.”

That could be one of the more important lessons we’re learning now.

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Business Entrepreneur

Amazon sets eyes on couture with launch of online Luxury Stores

(ENTREPRENEUR) As of this week, Amazon is an online luxury retailer. Is this good or bad news for smaller luxury retailers?

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Amazon Luxury Stores logo

When I think of high-end fashion shopping, Amazon is not the first store that comes to mind. Groceries, random knick-knacks, and pet accessories for my adorable pooch are the items in my cart.

For years, the retail giant has tried taking over every single market. This year, they came one step closer to realizing drone delivery to customers. And now, they have their eyes set on couture.

This week, Amazon confirmed the launch of its high-end online designer fashion and beauty brand shopping experience, Luxury Stores. Currently, Oscar de la Renta is the first brand to launch on the platform, but more are on the way.

Available by invitation only to eligible Prime members, the store launched on Amazon’s mobile app. Eligible customers received early access to the designer’s Pre-Fall and Fall/Winter 2020 collections. The collection included “ready-to-wear, handbags, jewelry, accessories, and a new perfume,” according to Amazon.

If you’re a Prime member and didn’t receive an invitation, you can request an invite by visiting amazon.com/LuxuryStores.

Alex Bolen, CEO of Oscar de la Renta said, “Oscar de la Renta is thrilled to partner with Amazon for the launch of Luxury Stores.” He told Vogue that “somewhere near 100% of our existing customers are on Amazon and a huge percentage of those are Prime members. For me to get more mindshare with existing customers in addition to getting new customers—that’s the name of the game.”

According to The Verge, Amazon has over 150 million Prime members. With that big of a number and potentially huge customer overlap, we can all see why Bolen is so thrilled.

But what does Amazon’s break into luxury retail mean for smaller luxury retailers? Smaller companies are still struggling to keep up with the retail giant. With small brick-and-mortar stores fighting to stay afloat during the pandemic, could Amazon’s online Luxury Stores be an all-inclusive solution?

According to Amazon’s press release, the company doesn’t plan on only partnering with established fashion brands, but also with “emerging luxury fashion and beauty brands.”

“We are always listening to and learning from our customers, and we are inspired by feedback from Prime members who want the ability to shop their favorite luxury brands in Amazon’s store,” said Christine Beauchamp, President of Amazon Fashion.

Engadget reported that Amazon is taking a hands-off approach with Luxury Stores. The company will offer backend and merchandising tools support. Brands will have control over their pricing, inventory, and selection. With brands being able to have more control over their experience, maybe smaller luxury retailers will feel inclined to use this new sales outlet.

“It’s still Day One, and we look forward to growing Luxury Stores, innovating on behalf of our customers, and opening a new door for designers all over the world to access existing and new luxury customers,” Beauchamp said.

Amazon has yet to reveal which new luxury stores will arrive on the platform. Hopefully, we will also see our local luxury stores on Amazon in the future, too.

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Business Entrepreneur

Small businesses must go digital to survive (and thrive)

(BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR) A study at Cisco reveals how digitizing small businesses is no longer optional, but critical to success, thanks to the pandemic.

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Black woman working on a laptop on a couch, running her small businesses' needs digitally.

As digital transformation efforts ramp up due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a new study released by Cisco has highlighted some key insights into how small businesses will need to adapt in order to survive in the “new normal.”

The study, conducted by International Data Corporation (IDC), analyzed more than 2,000 small businesses across eight different markets, including the United States, Canada, Germany, Mexico, United Kingdom, Brazil, Chile, and France. Using a four-section index to assess a small business’s digitalization efforts, the research found that 16% of companies said they were “thriving and feel their businesses are agile and resilient.” While 36% stated they were in “survival mode.” Regardless of where they were ranked in the index, the study concluded that 70% of firms were in the process of ramping up digital transformation within their company due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the digital divide that was already present in the small business market, and it is forcing companies to accelerate their digitalization,” said Daniel-Zoe Jimenez, AVP, head digital transformation & SMB research at IDC. “Small businesses are realizing that digitalization is no longer an option, but a matter of survival.”

The study also highlighted several challenges associated with digital transformation. The three biggest obstacles that businesses seem to face during the process were digital skills and talent, budgetary issues (lack of funds or previous commitment of funds), and cultural resistance to change. Despite these roadblocks, 45% of companies surveyed stated that they expect over 30% of their business to be digital by 2021. And 32% responded that they are planning on developing a digital strategy. This included investing in talent with the right set of digital skills moving forward.

Those decisions fall in line with Cisco and IDC’s recommendations. These include creating a three-year technology road map and building a workforce with the right skills to succeed in a digital world. Other suggestions include finding the right technology partner, and keeping up with industry trends. Leveraging financing and remanufactured equipment can aid with cash flow and budget requirements.

As small businesses continue to adapt to consumer behavior and the whirlwind of ever-changing rules that have come with the coronavirus, digital transformation will continue to play a major role in the post-COVID world. According to the report, if half of the small businesses surveyed can reach the second-highest tier of the index by 2024, those companies could end up adding an additional $2.3 trillion to the eight markets’ gross domestic product (GDP), contributing to the global economic recovery.

As we approach the six-month mark of the pandemic, just when and how the “new normal” will emerge is still uncertain. But there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel for small businesses — even if it’s faint green and contains zeroes and ones.

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