It’s a question I find myself asking.
Usually silently, inside my head. Occasionally out loud, muttered to no one, as that is mostly who is here to hear.
The answer is, of course, that it’s a work day. It’s midday on a workday. And now that the holidays are past us, and everyone is raring to go in the new year, it’s about as busy at my desk as it gets.
This is not to say the projects lately make any more sense than usual. I’d have to work in retail (shudders in horror, tips hat in respect and sympathy to retail workers) to have to listen to any more nonsense than I do.
The problem at this time of year is there’s more excitement for what they think they could do with survey data, than actual planning. How do you plan to use the results? What will you do differently based on what you learn? we want to know. Knowing this will help us, um, refine and improve their questions.
The answers are often half-thoughts. Hopes, really. If that much.
Or it’s so badly designed that their results will be useless, but if we ask them clarifying questions to help direct improvements to it, there’s just a lot of “you’re slowing us down, why don’t I just do this myself it will be faster.”
(No, it won’t. And you just acknowledged that the items you’re asking are not going to get you what you want to know. So how would “just do this myself” solve the quality issue? Answer: It won’t.)
But everything is a rush, mostly for no actual deadlines except ones they have created for themselves: As soon as possible; same or next day turnaround if you can. Or, for a meeting we wanted to discuss it at, (and yet somehow didn’t think of it until two days before the meeting and really could have slotted it for the next meeting without any impact at all). Or, we need to field it immediately even if we don’t really yet understand the variables to include and neither will the respondent, and we already know it’s an evolving situation and nothing we measure now will apply by the time we can act on any of it.
I guess sometimes the illusion of faster movement is valued over actual results that they can use.
I am sure researchers everywhere encounter this. The pursuit of the nice to know – with hearts absolutely set on asking an incoherent question – often in the artificial rush.
But for real, it’s nice to be busy.
Or it would be … if I was not so tired.
Though maybe all this constant reframing and explaining is what’s making me so tired.
Sigh. Can’t I just go back to bed?