2 Metaphors for a Tender Researchers day
The first instinct when faced with the task of describing “A Day in the Life of a Researcher” is to list the various tasks and duties that have to be done throughout the day, and the week, the month and the year. The fact that the light slowly drains from my brother’s eyes when I waffle about my day, is a clear indication that this might not be the best approach. It’s not that he doesn’t care about what I do (I pay his bills, so he has a vested interest), it’s that the “how” has no context for someone on the outside. The usual follow up question is “It got done, right?” is a clear indication that the “how” is not as important as the end result.
“Researcher Sympathy” only comes from other researchers. Like “Accountant Sympathy” only comes from those who inhabit the daunting world of debits and credits. How long can you feign interest in that?
No one on the “outside” really cares how many phone calls you made, or how many people you had to speak to and introduce yourself to and state your purpose to and how far you had to stretch the definition of “polite and professional” for the information that is our bread and butter. If you aren’t in the trenches with us, then you can’t really understand the perseverance required sometimes. And if you’ve been nodding your head knowingly through that last sentence, then I hate to break it to you; but you are a Researcher. How many times today have you spelt “L-E-A-D-S, like leading someone”?
I reread my blog article “Understanding Awards” from 29 October 2014 for some sort of inspiration, and I’m happy to announce, nothing has changed. The same challenges and concerns, the same misapprehension and suspicion we faced back then is alive and well today. So how do I convey the energy spent and the time taken, without boring the life out of you or utilising the “humblebrag”.
[tweetthis]Our business is information. Fast and accurate information. [/tweetthis]This information takes the form of leads or doorways of opportunity, as you will. We present it, and our subscribers run with it.
Think of our day like a race.
There’s a starting point and an end (metaphorical because, especially on a Friday, it definitely feels like it will never end). And all along the way there’s certain checkpoints that have be reached and ticked off the list. Tender notices are meant to have a certain regularity to them. The Government Tender Bulletin is published each Friday, for example. If we don’t reach these checkpoints, we have to go in search of them or keep coming back until we can tick them off the list.
Think of it like an Easter egg hunt, where someone is constantly hiding Easter eggs.
Doesn’t tell you how many eggs there are but assures you that they are in fact out there. And sometimes hides the eggs in the same place that you’ve already searched over and over again at irregular intervals. And your phone won’t stop ringing while you are searching for these eggs, and some of the eggs are cracked. And then there’s Scam eggs. And you get the picture.
This race (I’m mixing my metaphors) is not a straight line, but a circle. It just starts again. And on the information ride, there’s nowhere to get off. These checkpoints can represent anything really. They are the newspapers we buy (maybe not for much longer according to National Treasury) and the websites we check. They’re the telephone calls and emails needing to be answered. They are our current subscribers and potential subscribers. They are the tender awards and award follow ups. Illusive site registers, bidder’s list, bills of quantity and tender documents.
It’s a bizarre balance between maintaining routine and consistency and then trying to adapt to the unexpected. Anything can throw a spanner in the works, from Municipal strikes to newspaper delivery to a slow internet connection. The balance between expectation and reality. It’s only experience and willingness that has taught us how to deal with these bumps in the road. The metaphorical duck on water comes to mind. Except the duck has developed Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and an unhealthy obsession with internet speed.
The long and the short of it is, that we deliver.
You don’t have to worry about the “how” because we’ve got that covered.