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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.

  3. Pingback: Where do veterans stand in today's labor market? #stats - The American Genius

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Business Entrepreneur

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

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

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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

Entrepreneurs’ edge – working quality, not quantity hours

(ENTREPRENEURS) A huge advantage of the entrepreneur life is full control over your day – and using your hours wisely (and creatively) boosts productivity, even if it means sleeping in and staying up late. Think quality, not quantity.

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So often, we hear the phrase “quality, not quantity,” which can be appropriately used to describe ideas we give to our boss or the amount of effort we put into volunteering. The long and short of it is – don’t half-ass something because you think it’s fulfilling the need of “quantity.”

Quality is always so much more important when it comes to output in your job. Like, okay, great, you worked 11 gillion hours this month, but what did you actually accomplish? Did you finish endless busy work and take pictures for social media of how busy you are? Or did you grow your bottom line?

Over the years, we’ve heard a lot about flex hours and more working from home options, but a hot new idea is (you guessed it) quality hours, not quantity hours. Sometimes fitting into that 9-to-5 framework is satisfying the quantity aspect, but are we really being as productive as we should?

Many people argue that we should be working less in order to produce more. Wait, don’t leave, let me explain.

Does it really seem like the best idea to be working when your energy level is in the negatives? Probably not. This opens the door for more mistakes, less engaged work, and less output. If you’re a night owl and your brain fires on all cylinders when the sun has gone down, is it really worth focusing your work energy during the hours that your brain isn’t fully on?

If we work only when we know we’re going to be productive, we can really make the most of our time. Now, don’t get that confused with “sit around and wait for lightning to strike and THEN work,” it means schedule your tasks based on when your mind is typically the most productive.

When are you most productive? In the morning after you’ve had a quick job and some coffee? Or post mid-afternoon when you’re full-on awake? Jonas Downey pondered this question, and said, “I’m usually at my creative peak in the mid-morning and lose steam after lunch, so I shuffle my work accordingly. I do exploratory freeform stuff in the morning, and I save routine tasks (like implementing something I already know how to do) for the afternoon. I also have a rather short attention span, so I take tiny breaks a lot.”

He notes that working just to hit a certain number of hours is counterproductive, because in that time, there are likely to be hours worked when you are not at your best. Click To Tweet

Be honest – do you do your best work when your head is in the clouds, or when you show up to a task, raring to go?

Glorification of the 80 hour work week is dead in most circle, so consider scheduling yourself for times and days that your brain will cooperate with you instead of work against you and force you into menial work that feels like you’re accomplishing tasks!

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Business Entrepreneur

Is this normal (you wonder about your business)?

(ENTREPRENEURIALISM) It can be lonely not being able to openly ask potentially embarrassing questions about your business – there’s a way to do it anonymously…

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Entrepreneurialism is wildly rewarding – you are fully in control of the direction of your company, and you’re solving the world’s problems. But it’s also isolating when you’re not sure if what you’re experiencing is normal.

Sure, there’s Google, news networks (like ours), and professional connections to help you navigate, but sometimes you just want to know if something simple you’re seeing is normal.

Is Instagram Stories really where it’s at? Probably not if you’re a consultant.

Is it normal for an employee to attempt to re-negotiate their salary on their first day? Nope, but how do you keep the desirable employee without being bullied into new terms?

Do all entrepreneurs spend their first year in business as exhausted as a new parent? Sometimes.

You have questions, and together, we can share our experiences.

We have a brand new Facebook Group that is already wildly engaging, active, and you’d be amazed at how selflessly helpful people are – and we invite you to be one of them.

Want to anonymously ask a question about something you’re unsure is normal or not?

Click here to submit your question, and we’ll select as many as possible to discuss in the Facebook Group!

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