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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.




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.

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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  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

How to spot when it’s time to go full freelance

(ENTREPRENEUR) There may come a point when traditional work becomes burdensome. Know how to spot when it is time to go full freelance.



freelance productivity

Freelancing is often thought of as a mythical concept, something that is almost too good to be true. While it isn’t all about hanging out at home in your pajamas all day, being a freelance is something that is completely possible to be successful – assuming you do your homework.

Recently, a friend of mine who is a licensed esthetician was no longer happy with her position at the salon and spa she worked for. The set hours were becoming a burden, as was having to divvy up appointments between another esthetician within the salon.

She noticed an increasing number of people asking her if she could perform services (eyebrow and lip waxing) from her home, as they preferred not to go into the hectic salon. My friend also found an increase in requests for her to travel to bridal parties for their makeup, rather than the parties coming into the salon.

It was around this time that my friend began to seriously consider becoming a freelance esthetician, rather than a salon employee. After about six months of research and consideration, she decided that this was the best route for her.

Below are the reasons she felt ready to pursue this option, and if they resonate with you, you may be ready for a full time freelance career.

1. She had a number of built-in clients and a list of people she could contact to announce her at-home services. Doing this at the start of one’s career would be very difficult without a contact list and word-of-mouth references, so it’s important to have…

2. …experience! My friend had worked for a number of salons over the years, and had the experience of working with all different types of clients. She also learned what she liked and didn’t like about each salon, which were pieces that factored into her own work-from-home space.

3. Since she had years of experience and had done all of the necessary aforementioned research, she knew what was expected of her and knew that getting a freelance career off the ground wouldn’t be a walk in the park. Operating a freelance career is completely on you, so you have to be 100 percent dedicated to making it work – it won’t just happen for you.

4. Once she began thinking about this idea nonstop and became more excited, she knew it was time to move forward. At first, the “what ifs” were daunting, but became more positive as time went on. If the idea of being a freelancer elicits more smiles than frowns, definitely take the time to consider this option.

5. In addition to the clients she already had, she also had an amazing support system who helped her develop her freelance brand and get her at-home business up and running. Having a solid group of people in your life that will help you is crucial, and any offer for help should be appreciated.

Other things to consider are: do you have enough money saved in case the freelance venture takes longer than planned to take off? If not, maybe stick with the day job until you feel more financially secure.

Jumping into something too quickly can cause you to become overwhelmed and drown in the stress. Make sure you’ve covered every single base before making this leap. Good luck, freelancers!

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Business Entrepreneur

Hobby to profession: The new-age entrepreneurs

(ENTREPRENEURS) Turning your hobby into a career is harder said than done but a few knitters are putting on a clinic on how to do it.



knitting entrepreneurs

I’ve often heard the advice that you should follow your passion, and eventually, someone will pay you to do it. But the truth is, turning your hobby into a career is easier said than done. The process by which a person turns a hobby into a business is poorly understood by experts – at least partially because it’s so difficult to collect data on this topic. In order to separate the lifelong hobbyists from the entrepreneurs, you’d have to trace the activities of many hobbyists over many years to understand how their paths diverged.

An MIT Ph.D. candidate has hit upon a novel way to research the transition from hobby to entrepreneurship by following, a social media and pattern-sharing platform for knitters and crocheters, often known as the “Facebook of knitting.” The site encourages crafters to keep track of and share their projects, tools, techniques, and patterns.

The Washington Post reports that by analyzing over 400,000 profiles on and interviewing 100 knitters, found through an additional newsletter and three blogs, Ph.D. candidate Hyejun Kim was able to draw some interesting conclusions about what can “cause someone to flip the switch from ‘fun’ to ‘profit.’” Only 1.5 percent of Ravelry users become entrepreneurs who sell their own patterns, knitted items, or yarns. What sets this small number of knitters apart?

Although the internet provided the crucial data Kim needed for the study, it was, in fact, real-world connections and encouragement that turned out to be the tipping point into entrepreneurship for most knitters-turned-business-owners. When asked why they decided to start their own businesses, most reported that they were encouraged by their friends and spouses.

Most of the crafters who became entrepreneurs were already very skilled knitters, to begin with. Kim was able to isolate a number of knitters who joined in-person knitting groups like Stich ‘n’ Bitch. Those who joined a group were 25 percent more likely to become entrepreneurs than those who didn’t. That’s because their crocheting comrades would compliment their creations, boosting their confidence and inspiring them to take it to the next level.

It shouldn’t be overlooked that 96 percent of Ravelry users are women. The forces of sexism in the world of startups and the undervaluation and domestication of women’s handicrafts likely combine to give women the impression that their skills and talents are just for fun and shouldn’t be seen as an opportunity to make money. Kim’s research shows that when it comes to entrepreneurship, sometimes talented women just need a nudge in the right direction.

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Business Entrepreneur

Teach kids music and they’ll learn entrepreneurship

(ENTREPRENEUR) Sowing the seed of music education and appreciation in your child when they’re young is a great way to produce the fruit of entrepreneurship when they’re older.




With all the focus sports gets as the petri dish for producing driven adults, I’d like to offer up a different extracurricular activity for your consideration: music. Supporting your child as they learn how to harmonize with others will help set them up for success later in life, as music cultivates many of the characteristics that entrepreneurs rely on every day.


Anybody who’s played an instrument or been a part of a choir can tell you that the number one thing you’ll learn in a musical group is that you won’t make it unless you practice, practice, practice. Although in the moment it’s not that great to hear little Timmy or Ginny run through their C-scale a hundred times, a few years down the line when all those hours of iterating result in the lilt of Beethoven through your household, you can be sure that your kid has learned that repeating the little steps helps them achieve large goals.


A large part of being a successful entrepreneur is knowing your markets, or your audience, and able to keep their attention so that they come back to you when they need your business. Being a part of an ensemble not only teaches children to be comfortable in the spotlight but to crave putting on a show.


When young musicians come together to play in a band or raise their voices in a choir, they’re learning a lot about how to collaborate with others in order to achieve a goal. When a young alto sings alone, her notes may sound strange without the soprano tones filling out the melody. The duet that comes from them learning to work together and complement each other builds a strong foundation for any team venture your child will encounter later in their careers.


Although music provides a solid foundation in harmony, it also contains just as much grit and competition as the football field. Music groups compete in regional and national championships just as athletes do, and solos offer opportunities to self-select and advocate. Hell hath no fire like a second seat musician who dreams of being first chair.

Self Confidence

Unlike sports, music is accessible to those who might struggle with finding confidence. There are no “best” requirements to play—regardless of height, weight, and other characteristics that nobody has any control over—nearly anyone can pick up an instrument or find their voice. This perhaps may be the greatest gift that you can give your child, the confidence that no matter what they look like they can excel.

As your child begins to consider the different activities that will help them build toward their future, don’t discourage them from pursuing a musical path. When they have to stand in front of an audience of their peers and deliver a presentation with an unwavering voice, they’ll thank you for the years they spent getting comfortable in the spotlight. Especially if they pursue entrepreneurship!

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