Searcher's Voice: Stormy Seas and Piracy by ProQuest


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    Searcher’s Voice
                                        Stormy Seas
                                        and Piracy
                                          hings are getting ugly out there,   British comedy. The wildly overdrawn super-villain
                                         Tbut they could get uglier. With
                                     the threat of unemployment
                                                                              was getting his come-uppance at the end of the
                                                                              film by being buried alive up to his neck in the
                     seeming to loom over everyone in the nation,             desert sands. He only seemed to have strength
                     it seems we might start looking at colleagues            enough to beg for anything, anything that would
                     or clients as competitors or even as enemies.            slake his thirst. However, the liquid his parched
                     Euphemistic names for the process are                    lips called for over and over was “Champagne!
                     disintermediation, reorganization, or even               Champagne!” Somehow it left the audience
                     paradigm shifts. Uglier names are RIF (reduction         feeling that we haven’t seen the end of this villain
                     in force), layoffs, shutdowns, closures, etc.            after all. Even in the middle of a downturn, some
                         Regardless of the situation, the wisest course       things have an upside. If we only look for the least
                     to follow is the course of wisdom. Calm, clear,          we can expect, that’s all we’ll get.
                     insightful observation of reality plus a vision of           What should we look for? Well, questions
                     what the future might bring — buttressed                 come to mind. After all, we are in the answer
                                                                              business. What more appropriate source for

How can we weather the storm                                                  guidance than questions? Break down the tasks
                                                                              you perform and attach them to the questions —

and maybe even surf the waves                                                 and questioners — they answer. Of course, as
                                                                              you trim your budgets, you may already be doing

  to a lovely Caribbean isle ...                                              this for economy’s sake. But look at it as a guide
                                                                              to promoting the value of the services you
                                                                              provide. Look at it in terms of promotion for
                     throughout by quality information gathering —            those services and in terms of promoting you
                     should provide the best navigation tools for             personally, e.g., in a resume. Look at your
                     stormy seas. And if warmth towards those                 questioners too. Who do they serve and how?
                     around us starts to cool as the gales blow,              Could you expand their utility to their clients or
                     perhaps even leading us to regard colleagues             superiors with more and/or different information?
                     and clients as pirates trying to steal our budgets       Could you serve those clients or superiors directly?
                     or job functions, a prudent and long-term view           Hey! It’s not piracy if it ends up keeping the ship
                     of the future should remind us that networks of          you’re on from sinking.
                     strong contacts may offer protection and succor              Just as important — maybe more — as
                     if the storms continue to rage.                          looking at the questions you get is looking at
                          So what’s an info pro to do in these tough          the questions you don’t get. Why not? Why does
                     times? How can we weather the storm and maybe            this department or subagency or particular type
                     even surf the waves to a lovely Caribbean isle,          of functionary in the institution you serve never
                     where charming waitstaff stand smiling with              seem to call? Are they just know-it-alls? Are they
                     outstretched trays bearing umbrella-adorned              so “dead head” they consider their existing skill
                     mai-tais and margaritas? Unlikely? Perhaps.              set eternally adequate? Or are they getting their
                     But I’ve never forgotten a scene from a long-ago                                              continued on page 6

4    SEARCHER ■ The Magazine for Database Professionals
                                                                                                                                          The Magazine for Database Professionals

                                                                                                                                Vice President, Content
                                                                                                                                Richard Kaser
text continued from page 4                                        I might even offer to do some write-up
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