Everyone should set up a gmail account with your own name, on your own home computer. If you can’t afford a home computer (or just don’t want one), use computers at your public library, Kinkos, or coffee shop.
Even if you are totally happy in your job, set up a google alert for your company, your company’s top officers and anyone who has influence over your job. This suggestion may be controversial. You may feel you are spying.
However, I would urge you to consider two things.
First, your name will be googled when you are a job candidate. Not all companies take this step, but many do. If your good friends uploaded a photo of you doing something embarrassing, your future boss might see that photo.
Second, the rest of the world looks at your company. You’ll want to know how your company is regarded by future employers and colleagues.
Finally, your company may be involved in events that affect your job, but never tell you. One administrator discovered her organization was involved in a legal action that might require the company to pay several million dollars. She was able to foresee the impact on her company’s budget and her own department. She began job hunting quietly as a Plan B.
Another manager had just resigned himself to budget cuts involving education and business travel. His google alerts showed two vice presidents attending a recruiting event in Hawaii, even while the company claimed a hiring freeze. This manager needs to interpret what’s going on in the context of his own organizational culture.