Before you invest in a stock you might ask your broker what kind of research has been done on the company issuing the stock. You might be especially interested in recent developments: a new patent, a lawsuit, a catastrophe, or even a world event that affects the company. For instance, an airline that draws significant revenue from a particular international route might be affected by an outbreak of war, regardless of whether the airline’s own country is involved.
So how do you conduct research in your career to see if your job continues to be a good investment? How do you determine your risk for job loss?
(1) Be sensitive to projects that are on the edge. If you are working on a project for a company client, talk to the account exec and sales reps. Be sensitive to any shakiness in the account that might shut down the project.
(2) Study your boss’s priorities (and, if appropriate, the agenda of your boss’s boss). For instance, your boss may have been told to push sales of a particular product or service package. If your own activities do not relate to that product, you might be in a one-down position when you ask for anything.
(3) Don’t assume your boss is more informed than you are (or that she will share the information with you). Talk to people in other departments of the company. Set up google alerts for your company as well as for key people in that company. One administrator at a private university wondered why she wasn’t getting more budget when enrollment was up and profits seemed to be increasing. An Internet scan revealed that the university had pay back certain student loan funds that were collected inappropriately. There was no hint of criminal action, but the school would have unexpected expenses and a cash shortfall. The administrator not only understood why her projects weren’t getting funded; she developed a new insight into the way information was shared.
Finally, work with facts but pay attention to rumors. Rumors can be wildly exaggerated but often contain some basis in reality. Even more, a persistent rumor can tell you a lot about the company’s culture.
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