"J.T. & Dale Talk Jobs" is the largest nationally syndicated career advice column in the US & can be found at JTandDale.com. Dear J.T. & Dale: I worked for a company where the CEO was friends with most of the newer management. They'd meet at bars for cocktails and to socialize. The people not "in the loop" didn't stand much of a chance. I was put in a new department and given a manager who ignored us. When I went in to see her after six months, she went nuts, screaming she was stressed. The next day I was terminated, and it was not up for discussion. Even though the economy is down, I have been actively looking for a job and feel confident I will succeed. My suggestion to upper-management people: Leave your friends and cocktails out of the mix. — Kristi J.T.: We wanted to print your letter as a cautionary tale for other people in trying work environments. You sound ready for a change, and you deserve a workplace that makes you feel comfortable and confident. Dale: Let's hope that happens. But let's mine your experience for some career wisdom. If you'd written to us six months ago, when you first got a new manager, I would have urged you to find ways to get yourself into the loop, and advised you not to fall into a "let sleeping bosses lie" strategy, waiting six months to discuss your new position. For now, here's the thing to remember as you move into a new position: Your job isn't just your job, it's also figuring out the politics and finding ways to make yourself invaluable. Even before you accept a new job, seek out the people that management most admire and decide if you can admire them too. Jeanine "J.T." Tanner O'Donnell is a professional development specialist and founder of CAREEREALISM.com. Dale Dauten's latest book is "(Great) Employees Only: How Gifted Bosses Hire and De-Hire Their Way to Success" (John Wiley & Sons). Please visit them at jtanddale.com, where you can send questions via e-mail, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019. © 2009 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.