Yes, it is still possible to scale the corporate ladder in spite of layoffs. Here, Bob Calandra, coauthor of How to Keep Your Job in a Tough Competitive Market, offers advice for gingerly negotiating a title bump:

·Act like the boss. If your manager gets canned, set up a meeting with her supervisor right away. Calandra's no-fail script: "I'm not looking to be promoted, but I also recognize no one wants chaos. I know the ins and outs of my boss's job, so feel free to tap me for any of her work while we're in this transitional phase." To come off a hero, you can't appear as if you're expecting anything in return.

·Pollyanna gets the corner office. Be a relentless cheerleader for the company, even if it means irking coworkers. Your manager is bound to pick up on your positive outlook and use you as a model.

·Mind your alliances. If watercooler gossip reveals your cubemate is on management's hit list, publicly align yourself with the office hotshot, even if it makes you feel like Tracy Flick. Appearances matter — and you can always commiserate with your axed colleague over cocktails later (your treat).

·Stay on the grid. Cancel that weeklong romp through Tuscany — this isn't the time for an extended vacation. Instead, take a four-day weekend, and keep your BlackBerry handy. Reliability rules right now.

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