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Helping people to find meaning in prediction and risk

September 10, 2019

A lot of people struggle with maths.  I see it all the time.  The other day a delivery driver asked me to direct him to an address in my street and it became apparent that he didn’t know what odd/even numbers were.  When I was a shop assistant people were always asking me to work out their 10% loyalty discount.  And don’t even get me started on VAT or tax returns, they fox just about everyone.

So it is maybe no surprise that a lot of people find it difficult to conceptualise risk.

I’m talking about predicting how likely it is that things might happen.

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The trauma of having a bit of a scratchy throat

August 20, 2019

I do a lot of depth interviews as part of my job, and the great things about these is the flexibility that the methodology brings.  Respondents can take the call from wherever suits them best (desk, meeting room, home, on the bus, out for a walk…) and they are so easy to reschedule if the respondent needs to.

And me, well I’m almost always sat at my desk when I’m interviewing but if I’m feeling a bit crappy I can usually power on through for a 20 conversation albeit wearing my PJs and bundled up in bed / on the sofa.

So I could be feeling pretty ill and actually manage to get through a scheduled interview without anyone ever realising, but you know what is absolute hell on earth and really gets in the way?

Having a bit of a scratchy throat.

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Pick me and I will make your life easier

July 30, 2019

At the end of each project that I work on I ask my client to provide a testimonial for marketing purposes, and my clients very kindly say that they like working with me.

“Ruth was a joy to work with.”

“Ruth was brilliant to work with.”

“Ruth was great to work with.”

What strikes me is that the reason clients appreciate my work is not always the same reason that they picked me for or the metric that they originally used to judge me against others.

Yes, I am professional, educated, accredited, and experienced.  Yes, I am skilled in research methodologies and I provide clients with useful and usable data, reports and recommendations.  Yes, I do the job I was paid to do and I do it well.

But that’s not what clients write about in the testimonials, that’s not what sticks with them when the work is done.

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The strange shift to working school hours

July 10, 2019

Back in the day I was decidedly not a morning person.  It was genuinely hard going for me to get myself to work.  My preference was always to work ‘a bit later’ to ‘a bit later’.  My two charity jobs were pretty flexible and I usually pitched up about 9.30am for those, but self employment gave me the chance to do whatever I wanted and I would tend to start about 10am.  I’d work a bit, then have a lunch break, then back to my desk for the afternoon.  That would typically mean that the afternoon started about 2pm for all practical purposes.  That’s the earliest time I’d be scheduling calls or meetings or whatever.  Then I’d work another three or four hours before home time.

These days I don’t work full time anymore, and this is fine because I simply (!) take on the right amount of work for the time I want to spend.  I’ve done this for four years and it has been fine.  I’m hopeful that my clients haven’t noticed just how part-time I have been because I have continued to deliver the same high quality product and service.

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More whinging about cashflow

June 18, 2019

Part one million of my ongoing series whinging about my cashflow.

I’ve written about it before here and here and here.

Well, I have submitted by 9th tax return (swot, it’s only May) and I am pleased to say that so far all of my invoices have been paid in full.  Hurray!

But a significant number are still coming in late.

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Visibility of working parents

May 29, 2019

You’ll know about the gender pay gap, of course you do, and as a woman obviously it is something that I’m interested in.  The more you look into it, the more you see it isn’t just about paying men and women like-for-like.  One big factor is that many women have children, and more women than men take time out in the first year of a baby’s life and/or work part time around child care ongoing, and these women might consequently rack up fewer person-hours of experience, or lack the flexibility to be able to work late or network or travel for work, or choose not to go for that promotion in case it tips over the careful balancing act they’ve been juggling.  All of that stuff screws with your career.

Well here’s something that some of us are doing to get around that a bit – we’re working for ourselves around caring for our kids.  We’re choosing our own hours, we’re setting our own rates, we’re doing it in whatever way suits us best, and we’re hopefully not taking such a direct hit in the workplace.

Yay us!

Yay the mumtrepreneurs / mumpreneurs and the boss babes and those of us who prefer to be otherwise known.

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How many research projects have I done?

May 7, 2019

People ask about my research experience.  That’s part of the job I guess.  If I want to do research work for people I need to demonstrate that I’ve done research work for other people before, and it is natural that they ask questions to try and quantify or qualify my level of experience.

They ask questions like “how many research projects have you done?”

Well you know what, that’s not such an easy question to answer as it sounds!

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