The month of June marks my 30th Anniversary in market research. Since 30 days hath June and I love a good countdown, I have decided to do a Market Research Thought of the Day each day in June. Enjoy! Bj firstname.lastname@example.org
Wait, one second before our penultimate post. I have just been handed an urgent news bulletin: not everyone figured out the theme to the titles of each day’s entries. How is it possible to miss each being the name of a song written for the musical theater? Isn’t that obvious? Doesn’t everyone know the songs? Haven't you met me, doesn’t everything come back to musical theater? Sure, some are awfully esoteric, but everyone has Google, no? When you use the words “thank you,” don't you think of “Tootsie: The Musical?” It’s only a few years old!
Okay, that’s settled, good.
“You will never fill 30 days of ideas!”
These were reactions about a month old now. To them, I say:
“I still have over a week’s worth of topics, shall I continue now or wait another 30 years?”
“Yes, weekends too.”
“I’ll try, no promises.”
One does not stay in an industry for 30 years if it’s a thoroughly detestable place with horrible people and soul-crushing work. The work is the work, it’s the people who make the difference, and boy, have I met some of the best.
When I first started, the legends were quickly pointed out to me, these people who had basically invented market research and were still defining it. The historian in me was fascinated, the analyst in me forever asking questions.
But, it’s the people with whom you connect on an individual basis who become your friends, mentors, shoulders to lean on, advisors, supporters and yes, family. I would like to thank a few people for making my career so far even more special for their participation in it. In chronological order:
Thank you, Ileen Branderbit. Without you, I truly would not be here. My first mentor, teacher and champion, you were invaluable! We certainly saw our share of scary people and projects, but you also taught me perspective. “Every study ends,” I tell people when they are in a thicket from which they see no way out. That came from you! When the lobsters dance…
Thank you, Liz Bloom. Even in the most tumultuous times, you always kept things calm, you always stayed real and did so with a smile. If not for you, I would probably be in jail, having killed someone mid-temper tantrum. Probably multiple people. I would say “like a sister,” but your family is way too cool for the likes of me!
Thank you, Amber Esco. There is no better partner in crime, and we should know, as together we’ve broken more than a few federal, state, local, ethical and common-sense laws (in the US and Canada). We may have even broken a few laws of physics, now that I think about it. To wish everyone a friend with whom they can laugh their fannies off for the rest of their lives like you is more wishing than most people deserve.
Thank you, Rhoda Brooks, Ma! When that lady told us she thought we looked like mother and son, I think she was reading the auras in the room. Or maybe she was drunk, Bastille Day affects everyone differently. Either way, she was right. I have spent more time with colleagues than my own family these past 30 years, but with you as Ma, why wouldn’t I?
Thank you, Sally Udayakumar. The smartest, best and most glittering of all the people I have helped train over the years, you were the obvious future of this whole industry the minute you entered it. You have already proven that a few times and will do so over and over again!
Out of order, saving perhaps the best for last, thank you, Janusz Domagalski. Yes, the only gentleman on the list, in all senses of the word. I may groan at your relentless optimism, passion and ability to see every angle of every situation with absolute clarity, but I also know you are always right. You are forever the master of pinpointing the best in people and you have built Just Worldwide around those strengths.
There are obviously a zillion more people who have made the past 30 years interesting, challenging, rewarding, comfortable and even, hap…hap…I’m sorry, I have trouble with this word…happ…happy, there, phew! I thank them as well. Hell, there are ten million zillion people I couldn’t stand the first time I met them and still can’t stand, but even villains teach. People who lack a single redeeming quality show us the people we never want to be. There are clients who have been the coolest people I know and there are even respondents who colored life interestingly.
When I was a child and asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always had the same answer: I want to work in an office, a corner office would be nice, where I can just do my work without any fuss. My brother wanted to be a cowboy. Friends wanted to be presidents, movie stars, oil tycoons (80s primetime soaps were powerful). My answer bored whoever asked, but that was the point. I did not want to be rich or famous (so far, I’m neither, all systems go!). I wanted to do the work, not rise above it.
I never did get a corner office, but I have another 30 or more years for that. The rest all came true. In the insular world of market research. That no one on the outside understands. Hmmmm, should I have been more specific?
Tomorrow, we say so long to this countdown!
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