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!
Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.