Whatever the Company you are working for, whatever if you have a front-office or back-office role, whatever the skills you are required to apply in your daily job, and whatever the hierarchy level you have, little things may have a big impact on the quality of your job.
The purpose of this post is to outline a set of questions any employee should keep asking himself/herself; those questions often are undermined by the daily routine job tasks, but are crucial nevertheless:
- Can I rely on the information at my disposal? : If the information may be quantitative or qualitative, it will take the form of data most of the time. All data are not equally important, in addition, data can be missing, incomplete, or irrelevant and consequently bias the entire sample; it is crucial to build efficient platforms to process and manage large volumes of raw data and be sure they are accurate. It may seem obvious, but wrong model outputs often are explained by an inadequate dataset and not modeling errors. It is also crucial to understand what your data really represent (i.e. are prices clean or dirty, or returns arithmetic or logarithmic, etc.) ;
- Do I maintain simple processes and tools? : Less is often more, and not only in Risk Management, you often may have a clear picture of what is going on with simple charts and formulas; even if advanced modeling may seem “trendy”, it should only be used when no other solutions can be implemented. Reasons to choose simple models include but are not limited to (1) the more sophisticated your model, the more the validity of your parameters, assumptions and inputs will be discussed, (2) it is much easier and intuitive to explain and defend basic models than advanced concepts to a large audience ;
- Could someone take my job over easily? : Be sure that someone with a limited understanding of your job could easily take it over when you are a few days off, or even if you decide to change of position; this implies, inter alia, being sure that methodologies are up-to-date, folders organized, even that eMails are clearly written. People may think this is not in their interest to proceed that way because keeping things unclear makes an employee more “indispensable” to the company; but keep in mind that a sloppy work is problematic for you first, particularly when you want to understand what you did a few months or years ago.