When people ask me what I want to do, my reaction always starts with a tight, little smile and a glance away. Because I know exactly what I want to do. A job that doesn’t exist any more.
I trained to work in multidisciplinary policy analysis. Woah! Sounds scary! Multi-Disc-i-plin-ary Pol-i-cy Analysis?? Analyzing policy? You can analyze policy??? (How many times have I had that question/joke?) Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Don’t you just make up policy and then when the next guy comes in you do something else? Bwwwhhaaahhaaa!!!!!
Of course, we do research and commission studies! That come to the conclusion that the funder or the proponent wanted to hear.
These studies are big! We can’t just have anyone work on them. We have to have people who “understand” the issue, and what the right answer is. So they can reach that answer. The right one. That has been decided already. We don’t need research and data to tell us the answer. We already have it. We don’t need an employee who thinks, they just cause problems. We need someone to push the buttons on the computer and get us the number that we already know and won’t scare anyone by telling them anything.
Analysis doesn’t have to suck and be useless and take forever so that its stale by the time it public. If (and that’s a big if) there is any ethics behind it and the people involved know what they are doing, it can actually be a quite efficient. Of course, that would lead to change and these days, we fear change, even if we voted for It.
To be an analyst in the early 21st century is to exist in a fugue state. The world we lived and trained in no longer exists, ushered away by . . . . September 11th? By the way a lot of people responded to September 11th?
I suppose the Occupy crowd would point to a series of changes that have increased social inequity and concentrated wealth in a small group of people. A group of people who like controlling the wealth and have no idea what it is like to be ordinary in the fashion of Marie Antoinette. (“Let them eat cake, if they have no bread.” Um, they have no bread because they have no $$bread$$. Getting cake requires $$bread$$ as well, hate to tell ya.) A group of people many would like to join, so have no interest in opposing . . . .
I guess I’d say as an Analyst, I can’t really answer my own question, I can only speculate unless I can do my job—scan the existing research, examine available data, develop some qualitative context, do some of my own research to fill in gaps in what isn’t there. It doesn’t take a lot of time—that’s a myth. What it takes is access to information. Something we had through the miracle of the interwebs, until a lot of it was taken away by September 11th and its fallout.
Remember during the Go-Go 90’s when almost everybody had a job and you could barely walk down the street without someone tackling you and begging you to come work for them? I’m sure everybody who was old enough remembers that. Do you remember in the early Clinton Years that the Feds—after decades of emphasizing post-high school education, training and re-training—promoted a philosophy of simply getting people into jobs? That education programs = no income, a lot of costs, and theoretical training rather that Real World, what the Boss needs—the in-house software program, the proprietary technique, the style manual that the actual employer uses and needs the employee to use and can be learned on the job. Provided the boss has an ounce of patience, some kind of identifiable communications skills, and any common sense.
Because the idea was that the employee was an asset, worth investing in. And a human being, worth interacting with. And a colleague, that you mentored and educated and who educated you in turn. Rather than a the human equivalent of a disposable kitchen wipe, to be pulled from the roll, used up, thrown away and then “replaced” by the next one in line.
The phrase that fits: You get what you pay for? Garbage in, Garbage out?
Well, from the state of the economy, corporate America, and corporate quality these days, I’m seeing room for improvement. Don’t know about you.
To the 99 percent, folks with enough analytical skill to figure fractions and recognize jive when they see it.