What is “Plan B”?

….especially when you decide to abandon “Plan A?”

Plan A: Use my friend’s request to trace her Norwegian Civil War ancestor as my project for the Client Report.

Plan B: Do another (how many?) client report instead.

Michael Hait made the observation after the last blog posting that I should instead do lots of client reports and pick the best one.  This was instead of submitting the first one I did.  He thought that the improvement in the reports is observable and I would see that as well.  I fought this idea for this past week but have now come to the conclusion that he is right, not only for the reasons he gave but for a couple others as well.

So, here is the thought process I went through:

I love what I have done for Mary.  I think she will be very excited when she sees it.  Of course, I did not want to “abandon” all that work, but then I realized I was trying to have the report do “too many things”….it was 1.) my friend’s request, 2.) a class project AND  3.) the Client Report.  I needed to give up on at least one of those three and it couldn’t be the first.  I then toyed with the idea of starting another class project, which if I worked very hard I could do.  The problem?  The topic I was thinking about required obtaining a lot of InterLibrary Loan sources which may or may not arrive in time for the paper.  I could pick a different topic/person for the class project, but I didn’t feel like there was anyone that really captured my imagination.  So, I looked at the Client Report…..

Dispassionate assessment: The project was getting too complicated for a Client Report.  I now think that being much simpler is a better approach for this report.  The point is to show the level of professionalism of the author.  (of course, more than that, but you get what I mean.) I love the report but perhaps that was getting in “the way.”

I went back to my original list of options I had:

  1. spend X number of hours to identify the occupants of Beshotenweg, a street between Weener and Bunde in Ostfriesland, Germany.  The pastor recorded the house number of each family as he recorded a birth, death or marriage.  Eventually, it would be very cool to trace their movements in and out of the street.  My gggrandmother was born and lived on that street.
  2. spend X number of hours assisting in the development of the family book for German Valley, IL.  This is a monumental task that is being taken on by the Ostfriesen Genealogical Society of America (OGSA), but in all honesty, it is about completed.  I think there is little opportunity for this one.
  3. I am sure there is a person who would like some portion of their family traced.

It is probable this will delay the submission.  If the new Client Report delays the submission by more than a month then I am in conflict with the conference I am planning.  If that is the case, the submission wouldn’t occur until after September of this year.  But, that’s OK.

That’s what I am thinking about today. A setback, by one definition, a new learning curve by another.  Did I think it would be smooth?

Happy Hunting!


Things I have done since the last post:  worked on the conference (program, budget, respond to requests for information, publicity), assumed management of our Class web site for the instructor, worked on my class assignments for March 15 and (albeit slowly) worked through what to do with the Client Report that I have done.


6 comments on “What is “Plan B”?

  1. Several years ago, before I became a professional, I decided to work toward the goal of submitting a portfolio to BCG. Not having any client reports yet, I decided to troll the Rootsweb message boards for a few clients that might be willing to accept free, professional research.

    I posted a message offering 10 hours of research for the first 3 people to contact me. I had 3 within an hour or two. (And even had my first two paying clients, who were #4 and 5 to contact me, but willing to pay a discount rate.)

    It took me a few weeks/months to do the research. It was a learning curve, because I did not have any experience researching in the area where I then lived. But the products met certain important goals:

    (1) They were projects for clients — I had no personal connection to either the clients or their research.
    (2) They were time-limited — This is very important for a client report, because this is how all professional genealogists work.
    (3) They required a report — Obviously this was the ultimate goal.
    (4) Free research builds “karma points” 🙂

    I might suggest a similar approach, if you need to produce a client report but do not have any clients.

    • jkmorelli says:

      Great idea! My “trolling” might occur at work, however. I think I can post a sign in the kitchens of my building and find some willing participants. I’ll let you know if any of them turn out to be paying customers.

  2. You might want to think about doing what you suggest. You may find that you are too close to your co-workers to have an effective professional-to-client relationship.

    • jkmorelli says:

      I thought about that. I am an architect and my husband could never understand why I wouldn’t do project for friends. After one meeting with our best friends who “argued” in front of us for a good 15 min. about kitchen flooring he understood.

      However, this is quite different. It’s a large building and while most of us work for the same boss, many layers up, I do not have working relationships with most. I would, of course, avoid those I supervise.

  3. Alex Graywolfe says:

    I am local to the puget sound. I am having trouble deciding what area I want to do for my certification I tryed with one girl I know and her family but she cant give me even enough information to get past the living. I am now working on finding someone else who might be willing to be my client. I am so frustrated with this begining process because of the slow start. But I know once I find someone to work with probono (except expenses for documents where needed) I will be soaring. But right now that and how do I begin to decide this in the application.

    The geographic area, time period, or other specialty that I select for the BCG-supplied document
    assignment is __________________________________________________________________

    That has puzzled me more then anything anyone help me with an idea on this.

    • jkmorelli says:

      Alex, Your e-mail is confusing to me. You seem to have a couple of the submission requirements combined. The document is not the same as the Client Report. Since clarity of writing is important for the submission you might want to take some time to work on that. To me, the selection of the area and time perios is the easiest! What area and time period do you know the most about? For example, if you are very fluent in German, you might pick Germany in the 1800’s. I’m not. I have, however, done a fair amount of research in the late 1800’s in the Midwest. That’s what I will pick. but that is just for the document. The Client Report is a different submission.
      As far as finding a client….I have decided to take Michael’s advice and go look for one. You mention that the person you are working with can’s give you enough information, so ….move on or work with her and her living relatives and discover what you can.
      I highly recommend that you listen to the BCG videos. They are very helpful.

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