Screeched into work with burning rubber -- soles of shoes burning from the sidewalks (already hot at nearly eight in the morning) -- and just barely punched in on the hour. Sat in my booth for 40 minutes waiting for the supervisors to get the computer system running right.
Futility, anyone? Got some half-assed writing in though.
Noticed after a while that the guy next to me, Greg, and I were on the "new and improved" version of a survey that had been around a long long time. It's been around so long, in fact, that most of the people who are regularly on it, like me, and like Greg, barely bother to look at the screen anymore before we're rattling off the next question on it.
Thing is, there are two versions of "Adult Tracking" roaming around the workplace. One is just plain "Adult Tracking" -- and the other one is "Adult Tracking Parallel Study." One of them is the old one with the monthly update to take non-current questions out and to hone the questions a little better to more closely determine what the customers' buying habits really are, and how the company in question could make their products and services more suited to the needs/wants of the vast majority of their customers. The other survey is basically a survey on the exact same topic with many of the same questions, same phrasing -- but with some alterations to the survey structure, including a shifting extra section, the removal of some questions towards the very beginning when the surveyor is still on autopilot, and the addition of a section that requires either a very good memory *or* simple addition on the part of the respondent.
Simple continuity would suggest that the survey that is essentially the same keep the same name, and that the new survey would be the "Parallel Study." But nooooo. Furthermore, the vast majority of the supervisors were not specifically told which one was which --- they were just told that there were two Adult Tracking now, one that's same-old same-old, and another one with a few things worded differently.
Today we got as our supervisor G*, one particular guy who is an expert at one particular survey. His study, TABS, is a study that I actually think has some worth to it -- but the fact remains that G*, while a decent fellow and very good with his area of expertise, is not an Adult Tracking person.
In any case, I'd already done this new Adult Tracking thing, and I'd run into some difficulties there. I'd been on the other side of the room then, with the computers you can actually do things on -- as soon as I saw how different it was then, I logged myself right out of the active data and did a training run or two to just see how it went.
Greg had no such luck. 'What the hell!" he said, and called G* over. They had a heated debate over the issue while I continued dialing with great self-possession.
"It's all different!" Greg complained.
"A few questions got changed. Quit whining and get back to work."
"No, it's all different, seriously!"
I make the "crazy" sign by my head and point to my computer with great vigor.
"See? Even she thinks it's screwed up!"
The exchange goes on and on. I'm still trying to work like a good little Market Research character. I eventually put my call on mute and turn and say "It's Parallel Study that's the same!" which clears up the vast majority of the debate. G* puts Greg on a training round and invites me to take a training round as well; I decline on the grounds that I've already gone through one on my own a few days earlier.
The vast majority of the drama is over; Greg keeps popping his head over to my booth every five minutes with one of the issues that I was all bothered over the first time I was on the survey. I calm him down as best I can, stressing that this is just a survey; it's a very simple concept; there are relatively few changes after all; yes that's a large chunk to add right in the middle there, no, it's not a big problem if you stumble, just blame the computer system and keep right on truckin'; no, you have to make sure that all the options add up to what the person chose in the beginning, otherwise you do this section again until the respondent develops math skills; yes, since the question asking which brands the respondent has *ever* used was removed from the beginning, it will give you the opinion options for "I have used this brand and I think: " and *then* it will *also* give you the options for "I have never used this brand but I think: ", no matter if the respondent has used the brand or not.
That is the major problem that both Greg and I have with the survey. "You just write up a goddamn correction form each time it happens," I sigh, and point him in the direction of the pencils. "Enough of these from us and they'll fix the survey. I hope."
We both got noticeably pissy about filling out the forms as the day wore on.
Uncle Alan, who's familiar with the company, tells me that this is all in a day's work. ARGH!!