love my job...
as an Omnibus
As a professional loafer, being an omnibus researcher is the best job in the world (bar being a presenter on the Holiday Programme or being a Big Brother contestant).
For those of you that are serious about a career in market research and let’s face it, there’s a few of you out there, I can assure you that being an omnibus researcher fulfils the serious credentials you will need to progress up the career ladder: Excellent project management skills, client management and questionnaire design, to name but a few. But let me assure you that this is a job that doesn’t include all the negative elements usually associated with being a researcher.
in ad hoc
to never being
able to plan
jobs, two of which are usually going wrong in some capacity, plus the usual array of reports, proposals and presentations you get lumbered with. I’m happy to say that’s all in my past now. I have a well respected position in the company, loads of responsibility, a great looking CV and a stress free life. I’m taking it easy for a couple of years before my career dictates that I promote myself in another area of the company, but believe me, I’m enjoying it while I can!
So what’s life like as an omnibus researcher?
I can plan when I’m busy and cherry pick ad hoc research that I want. Conversely I can turn away grim looking projects on the basis that I have omnibus work to do. Gone are the days when I had to pitch in to do costings for new projects that come in, having to stay late to finish my own work. I have an in-depth knowledge of my specialist area which generates respect from my colleagues who ask my advice on the best approach to projects. I get the right amount of consistency with an element of changeability, with a low likelihood of making a mistake, given that the question-naire is 95% identical every week. No more for me, those stomach dropping moments when the client comes on the phone. The survey virtually runs itself.
I feel like a babysitter looking after a teenager. OK, it has its tantrums at times when we get a late request for extra questions or clients want extra tabs run at the last minute, but generally speaking this is plain sailing baby!
Get a transfer to omnibus. Do it before it’s too late and you regret how much loafing you’ve missed out on!
hate my job...
As an Omnibus
It’s deadline day for the current omnibus. A range of clients have placed questions – some are a joy to deal with, others less so!
First up, the client who tries to beat the system. Costs are on a per question basis, so they try to convince me that 15 long and complicated agree/ disagree statements should only count as one question. Even if respondents can still remember the beginning of each statement by the time the interviewer has got to the end of it, these will take the time of at least 3 “ordinary” questions.
Next, the client who loves their product so much that their questions become a sales pitch. I always offer to help clients get the wording right, but there’s always one who thinks that “anyone can write a questionnaire”. They then submit a horribly convoluted question, which the poor
respondent will struggle to understand, let alone answer. Just because the client lives and breathes their product doesn’t mean that the rest of the world does too!
Deadline draws nearer, and still, despite reminders, several unconfirmed placements. No matter how often you send some people a timetable for when questions have to be agreed and when they’ll get their results, they’ll always leave it to the very last minute, or better still, several days after the deadline. They forget that they are just one subscriber, and that fieldwork won’t wait for them.
A phone call – do we have space for some questions, results needed urgently? Yes, but we’ll have to get a move on – the questionnaire has to be set up this afternoon. Client promises to sign off questions as soon as they receive them, so I bash out what they want, work out a cost and email them off. Time passes ... and passes ... and DP want to know where their questionnaire is. Email and phone the client without success, knowing that either they’ve changed their mind but can’t raise the energy to tell me, or they’ll finally get back to me on Monday, by which time we are in field.
Just as it looks like everything is organised, our field department call to remind me that what with a Bank Holiday, threatened tube strike, and a major England football match, the chances of fieldwork being completed on time are negligible. That means extra pressure on DP and me because the tables still have to go out on time – I can feel a headache coming on ...