How Lucky I Am
Marc-André Leduc, firstname.lastname@example.org
I grew up with the influence of the music from an extremely popular French Quebec rock opera called “Starmania.” The lead song was called “The Businessman’s Blues.” The song tells the story of a very successful businessman who travels the world flying first class, staying in all the best hotels and “living the life,” yet he is not happy. He has the “Businessman’s Blues.” The song goes on, “I would have liked to be… an artist, a painter, an author…” and so forth. Basically, he would have liked to be anyone other than himself, doing anything else than what he’s actually doing. (I recommend you look it up, the song is actually quite good!)
During about the same era, we also could hear on the radio the beautiful love song from Elton John, “Your Song.” In this song the singer, as well, suggests that he may have liked to be someone else for a moment. But this singer concludes that he could not be happier with who he is and what he has to offer.
Well, you can guess – I fit the second profile, where my gift is my “Joie de Vivre:” my love of people and accepting who everyone is, just the way they are. I am living that life every day in what I do.
Why am I saying this? At the turn of 45 years old and glancing at mid-life crisis, I realize that I do not have a crisis. Yes, I occasionally ask myself if I work too much, and if I am neglecting my wife and son. Yet when I try and think of anything else I would like the most, or is there anything where my personality and skills could be put to better use… the answer is always, “No.” Qualitative research was made for me.
I absolutely adore qualitative research. The chance that we have as moderators to meet total strangers and ask the most intimate questions that they don't even ask themselves – or think of asking themselves – and the beauty of seeing the light in someone's eyes when they realize the depth of the information you were able to get them to say. As a moderator, you just know it when you have the honest and earnest information; and, sometimes, it will make a difference in their lives as well.
Recently I worked for a client who had significant challenges in recruiting participants where incidence was quite low. Looking for solutions that had to happen “yesterday,” I thought of some acquaintances who I thought would fit the profile perfectly. So, I suggested that they go through the typical screening criteria process with the recruiter. These acquaintances qualified, and I was therefore able to spend time getting to know them even better.
I honestly trusted my acquaintances to be good participants, which they were; and they went beyond my expectation in a homework exercise they had to prepare to participate. (I think they didn’t want to let me down, so they did put in the extra effort.)
When it's someone that you know personally, and you see it in their eyes that there is this extra level – they see the light – then you feel good.
The next day when you open your inbox and you receive flattering emails telling you how much they enjoyed the experience and how easy it was to open up and share with strangers – even if they knew the moderator – you feel great.
So if you ever wonder if you are at the right place, and if the grass might be greener at the neighbors’ house; talk with your friends. You will most likely realize that we are all so lucky to be in such a wonderful industry.
All that is prologue to my invitation to you to get involved in an organization. Yes, I am all for QRCA; but if you cannot get involved in our beautiful organization for some mysterious reason, then get involved in another organization. It is in getting involved and by sharing with peers who become friends that it all comes back to us. Then we come to realize that the more we give, the more we get back, and the more we savour the work we do.
Aside from qualitative research, which, as I said, is what I do for most of the time I am awake, I have a fierce love of hosting dinner parties. Cooking for friends and family where we can share a great meal is another social gathering where we can chat among friends, have great music so we can hum along (or I can sing a bit), and have good times. But this comes at a price; this appeal for good food has recently forced me to start jogging because, at the age of 44, the chunk of butter on that piece of bread, that extra slice of pie, or the glass of wine (or two)…they don't forgive.
Please, the next time you see me, feel comfortable chatting about music, cooking, food, and good wine, or any other topic that is close to your heart. I am convinced I will be curious to learn more about it and we can enjoy a nice conversation.
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