I read a great story in a major news magazine this week about ways you can protect your job in a softening economy.

Work long hours. Eat lunch at your desk. Let your boss know if there's anything you can do to ease his burden.

Generally make yourself indispensable. Or at least look indispensable.

Because if you don't look like you're a must-have person, trust me, you're not a must-have person.

I remember a friend from years back — great guy, but a total goof-off. And I mean, goof-off.

He spent more time checking out attractive female interns at work, than doing work.

But he was sly. And never obvious.

And there was one other crucial thing he always did — carry a clipboard.

I kid you not.

Everywhere this dude went, he had a clipboard. And he always walked fast.

Combine the clipboard thing with the walking fast thing, and he really did look like a man on a mission.

Now I knew for a fact he had no mission. I even stopped him one day and kiddingly asked to see what was on his clipboard.

Nothing. Zippo. Zilch. Nada.

He winked, and moved on.

Now don't get me wrong, when someone asked him to do something, he did it.

But here's the thing — bosses almost felt they were imposing because he appeared so rushed, and were so grateful when he took the time out of his fast-walking, clipboard-toting day to tend to their requests.

Lo and behold there's a downsizing at the company, and who do you think survives?

Clipboard dude.

No profound moral to this story, save this: Always look busy.

And maybe, to be safe, get a clipboard.

Watch Neil Cavuto weekdays at 4 p.m. ET on "Your World with Cavuto" and send your comments to cavuto@foxnews.com