A Fervent Appeal to my Clients

October 5, 2011

Dear Sir / Madam:

As a result of the recent economic crisis, please be informed that I am increasing my professional fee… just kidding!

Aside from my monotonous office life and extra challenging teaching job, I accept free lance works upon referral of my good friends and even previous satisfied clients. But what do I exactly make for free lance? I accept academic research writing and consultation.

I started my career in the field of Academic Research. My short but well spent years in the Research Department gave me more than what I have learned from writing a thesis in college. When I was employed as a Researcher, I prepare researches that are used by the management as reference for planning and decision making (hopefully). I studied the prospects of the local labor market to college graduates, examined the IT literacy skills of the employees, diagnosed the culture of the workplace,  conducted (and was forced to forge results of) feasibility studies for new program offerings, etc. etc. Whatever the management wants to find out that research can answer, that was my job.

My years with Research enabled me to build and earn my reputation as a research consultant. My free lance research jobs started when some of my colleagues started to recognize my research skills.  Some of them would beg me to assist them in writing their masteral thesis or dissertations. Oftentimes, my colleagues would call me whenever they have reached those critical parts of the thesis (chapters 3 to 4). I come in the picture when my clients are in the deadly stages or chapters that deal with statistical tools, data analyses and presentation.

From practicing pro bono, I have established myself to become a paid research consultant. In a year, I have an average of 2 to 4 clients, obviously not enough to feed my family. What I earn from my free lance works provide me little shopping money (of course!), a treat for my family, and a little something to fatten my savings account.

And since we are talking about money matters here, I can proudly say that I charge a modest professional fee, without of course sacrificing the quality of my work. I give my best to every research I make simply because this is my passion. I work to the best of my ability, not only because I am paid, because this work is my life. This work gives me self worth. Anyone who chose to hire me is not merely paying for my professional services. My clients are able to avail of my priceless and hard earned passion in research.

A number of my clients are like me, struggling rank and file employees. In one way or another, they are forced to pursue masteral studies as a requirement for promotion or retention. I know how hard money is earned. In effect, I am not one of those sadistic professionals who enjoy extorting clients.

Call me a martyr but I even go to the extent accepting  “payable when able” terms, upon the plea of my clients.  I just tell them for as long as you pay me, we can make things work.   Sadly, this practice made me gain some abusive clients. Worst is that some of my friends turned clients were involved with this not-so-good act. Since I also don’t hold any contract or whatsoever legal document, I had clients who vanished in the air after I have rendered my service.  And since I don’t really work for the money, I don’t go to the extent of chasing and begging. If that’s how you define yourself to me, then so be it. I wish you well in your career.

As much as I want to have a smooth sailing work, problems involving my clients intervene my system. I have identified here the most common problems I have encountered and learned from my clients.

1. No blast rush please – Writing a research is not the same as writing a blog post. Writing researches meant generating results from the statistical software, organizing tables, reading the tables, exploring patterns and critical information and threading them to an interesting and useful finding. These things are obviously not achieved overnight. It would take weeks to a month to get things done. If I say two weeks, I do it for two weeks. No further negotiations please.

I had a client who asked me to generate the presentation and analysis of his data in two days. Try to be in my shoes and let’s see if you can produce everything in two days.

Please understand that a quality platter of work demands time.  I hope clients also realize that my brain is not like your 3 minute grocery noodle. Just add hot water and in 3 minutes, voila! There are no shortcuts in quality work. Period!

2. I am not your research slave – Before I start a freelance work, I make it a point to discuss the extent of  my services. If you will hire me as a Statistician, my job would be limited in generating your tables, providing interpretations.

I once had a client who lectured me about this and that. The bitchy preachy client got pissed off over the huge tables that I presented in landscape format. Tables in formal papers should not be broken so I opted to present them in landscape. Turns out, she doesn’t know how to convert the table in portrait. She kept calling me early in the morning to edit her tables. She reprimanded me and stressed herself over a simple problem. For heaven’s sake, why not try exerting an inch of resourcefulness. Since you work in an office why not ask help from your colleagues or have the table reduced in a decent photocopying machine. Better yet, talk to Yahoo Answers or Google.

3. I am not a 24/7  Research Consultant – I eat, sleep and get tired. So don’t call me at 11 pm or as early as 4 am. If I don’t answer your calls, you know the reason. I was hired as a research consultant.

4. Buck Passing is never my game  – Don’t blame me if you failed your thesis defense. This never happened to me yet. (Thank God!) But I have almost close experiences with clients blaming me for the comments of their panelists.

During my pro bono days, I helped  T  generate the critical tables for her masteral thesis. After the defense, T told me that her paper was almost perfect…. except for the tables I made. Apparently, one of his panelists wanted the tables I made removed from the paper.

I allowed that incident to pass though I really felt hurt. Setting aside our personal relationship,  T made me feel that I was the one to blame for the outcome of her paper.

When I accept thesis writing consultations, I always tell my clients that we should work with the adviser and panelists’ recommendations. I make suggestions but I always remind my clients to seek the approval of their adviser to every move we will implement.  I never contradicted the opinions of the thesis adviser and panelists. Although I admit there were instances when I knew that something is inaccurate with the recommendations of the adviser and panelists. I always ensure that we work in harmony with the critical authorities.

I enter the scene of thesis writing when the thesis proposal, problems and objectives have been defended and approved. That itself is enough to prove that I am not the one to blame when the paper fails during the final defense. The research assistance I render is already patterned to what was recommended and approved by the adviser and panelists. As a Statistician, I treat the data based on the statistical techniques approved by the panelists.  In effect, when the panelists declare that the entire presentation, analyses and interpretation of data are incorrect then it’s not my fault. I just follow the orders.

If the tables I generated were unnecessary in the first place, then your adviser should have detected it. Your adviser gets paid to guide you.

5.  Professional Services are never bargained– Research consultants are not born overnight. It took us years of study and working experience before we earned our expertise. We treat each client as a unique  case. In effect, we  customize and tailor fit our service based on the needs of our clients. Since you will be paying for expertise, specialization and customization, please don’t make us feel like cheap mass-produced retail goods. Please settle with our modest professional fees.

I have identified five. Five things I would like to appeal to my clients. I hope this post will not drive away future clients. I love my freelance work and I would like to receive more in the future. My intention for writing this post is simply to facilitate the best working relationship with my clients. You can have your research and we are both stress free, worry free, and quarrel free.

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6 thoughts on “A Fervent Appeal to my Clients

  1. HI DIane!!!

    This is a good idea! HIndi ko alam na nagcoconsult ka pala for research. Maganda kung magpost ka rin advertisement sa mga forums! Puede ka rin gumawa ng thread about it sa pinoyexchange. ^_^

    • Thanks May Ann. Unfortunately, we have issues with Pinoy Exchange sa workplace. The site has become a notorious grievance machinery for the employees and students. I was advised not to access the site at work. Mahirap na.. baka sabihin ako pala ang salarin hahahaha

      Anyway, in a super not related topic…. i’ve been dying to tell you of what happened to my legs… Two weeks ago I jogged for three consecutive days. Tpos because of Pedring, na-tengga ako last weekend. Nagulat ako sa aking logs.. ay legs pla… It felt so heavy!!! Anung meron? Eh I didn’t jog for a week nga tpos bakit ngayon lumalabas? I’m kinda beginning to panic na.. Alam mo yung feeling na may nakataling sandbag sa legs mo. Ganun ka-heavy legs ko…worried ako :=(

      • Tingin ko Diane normal lang yan. Ganyan din nangyari sa akin. Wag mo lang ioverwork. Baka nafatigue lang hita mo. Rest ka muna, tapos try mo ulit, Ang nangyari sa akin naman nooon, masakit ang balakang ko. Haha.

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