Rita Overton on Why I’m Thankful to Be an Evaluator
My name is Rita Overton and I have been an evaluator for 20 years. I’ve called myself an organizational development specialist, an applied researcher, and a strategic consultant, but at the heart of it all, I am an evaluator. When I started working in this field, I found it difficult to explain what I did and why. Today, I celebrate my good fortune and encourage others to consider joining the league of evaluators.
Lesson Learned #1: Evaluators make a difference in their communities and in their country, for their clients and for the world. I love helping programs to improve and having a hand in making the world, or at least my corner of it, just a little bit better.
Lesson Learned #2: Evaluators have a lot of autonomy. I choose the programs and people that I work with, and they are an amazing lot, both my clients and my collaborators.
Lesson Learned #3: Evaluators are always learning. We truly embody the concept of lifelong learners in order to understand our clients and the ever-changing contexts in which we work, as well as to keep up to date with new technology and methodologies.
Lesson Learned #4: Evaluators make a good living. For the most part, how much I make in a year is dependent upon the hours I am willing to work and how aggressive I am with pursuing competitive funding. There is work available and that is important in a flagging economy.
Lesson Learned #5: Evaluators solve puzzles and evaluation is fun. I love my work. I am a detective, searching for clues. I am a storyteller, weaving a program’s data story. I am a scientist, exploring the unknown. I am an evaluator!
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