I would be remiss not to build on the spirit of Thanksgiving for today’s post. This is a week to focus on what is good rather than the imperfections, and in that vein, I want to share my top five sentiments of thanksgiving about being an evaluator.
#1: Talking to everyone: I LOVE being able to meet with a range of stakeholders in projects – on-the-ground-worker-bees all the way to the executive directors and policy makers. Good evaluation work involves gathering data from a variety of voices in a project/program/organization – and it is that piece of the work that keeps my people-loving, social self ticking.
#2: Seeing people doing good work: There is nothing that helps you see the wonderful things our great country offers than going to visit schools, non-profits, and foundations. It gives me hope about humanity, the goodness of people, and pride for where I live.
#3: Helping clients see things in new ways: One of the best part of being an evaluator is helping clients understand data and information in new ways that ultimately impacts their work and practice. It is powerful to teach and learn with clients to make programs and organizations better.
#4: Learning new skills: I am thankful for working with colleagues and clients that continue to push me as an individual and professional to learn to skills and processes. Whether it be learning a new way to do an analysis with the help of a colleague or digging deeper into a particular type of evaluation work at the request of a client – it is amazing to be in a career that allows and encourages me to be a continuous learner.
#5: No two days are ever the same: I am not a person that could sit in a cubicle doing a rote task, and being an evaluator allows me flexibility – no day looks like another. I am always balancing tasks between conducting interview and focus groups, working face-to-face with clients in meetings, doing analyses at my computer, among a variety of other tasks. The variety keeps all the tasks interesting, fun, and flexible. I love it!
KELLEY’S USEFUL TIP: Remember to reflect on the positive aspects of your job. No job is perfect, so make the most out of what you do and find ways to make it worthwhile for your personal mission statement.