It's Research Pride Month!
During Research Pride Month, I often chuckle at how I fell into this profession. It’s not something that we study in school like accounting. But a recent event reminded me that, when I did fall into Prospect Research, it was inevitable. And I’ve been thrilled ever since.
The event was this: A few months ago, after I gave a video interview for my alma mater on the value of my liberal arts degree, I came across a mention of my name in the February, 1987, edition of Rockford Magazine, where I was interviewed about the value of having a liberal arts degree and how it helped me adapt to several new situations, including working at Harvard University after growing up in a rural setting.
The 1987 article wrapped up with what I coincidentally said at the end of my own 2021 video: “…according to the Regional Office of Education, 60% of tomorrow’s jobs don’t exist today.” Think about that: Go back to 1987 in your mind (or on Google) and look for laptops, cell phones, the Internet, digital videos, scanned books, or Artificial Intelligence. None of that existed, and all of those are tools that we use every day.
My liberal arts degree has made me a nimble employee and consultant, capable of learning and applying a wide range of disciplines. Indeed, it was inevitable that I would settle down in an industry where the pursuit of strategic information is the core of my work.
As I’ve mentioned, I make the same argument in this recent video produced by my alma mater’s career services office (you’ll find me about 10 videos down the page). Thirty-four years after that first interview, I still believe in a Renaissance-style undergraduate education: Study every discipline at least a little, then go out and apply excellent research, assimilation, and communication skills to any industry. And this broad-based education works really well in research.
When you consider your career as a Prospect Development Professional, know this about your employability assets:
The other way to look at the wide range of skills from your profession is to know how many different high-impact industries use research AND information aggregation and planning:
Years ago, most of us research professionals were liberal arts majors in college. Now we have librarians, business majors, statisticians, and newspaper reporters joining us in the work of helping nonprofits succeed. We are information professionals working in the Information Age. How fabulous is that?