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Family Inc. by Douglas P. McCormick

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CHAPTER 4

Think Like an Investor When Making Career Decisions

Many of the principles investors use to evaluate the attractiveness of a stock can be applied to an employment decision. When considering a job, think of yourself as an investor. But instead of buying a stock or bond with cash, you are contributing labor in exchange for compensation in the form of salary, experience, and possibly commission, bonus, and stock ownership. You could choose to spend your labor asset among numerous companies that might bid for your labor, so just like an investor, your task is one of identifying relative value. You must prioritize opportunities that provide the best mix of cash compensation, ownership, professional development, and options for different employment in the future.

As I approach my 20-year reunion at Harvard Business School, the implications of thinking like an investor can be seen in the professional choices of my classmates. In this chapter, I offer more than 10 investor criteria, but they can be summarized in the following broad categories: selecting a profession that offers a combination of risks and rewards that accords with your life and family circumstances; identifying markets and businesses that are likely to grow; identifying employers with attractive business models; and identifying opportunities that enhance the personal brand that will broaden your eventual opportunities. A comparison of several classmates’ choices highlights the impact these criteria can have ...

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