Oye! It’s been a ride! I do enjoy working at home. Work itself is ever changing and faster than usual.
Government contracting generally does not involve a race track. It’s more of a meandering, one step at a time waiting game through the swamp bog in “The Princess Bride”. COVID-19 changed that. Information is now at the speed of light, or so it feels. Solicitations worth over a billion dollars that normally takes 2-3 years to write are being put out to the public for proposals after only 2 months and due in a week. Opportunities for loans and grants increase daily and where never seen before.
After two months of mostly helping clients with bids for Personal Protective Equipment, parts for ventilators, and other urgent government needs specific to COVID-19, clients are back to asking for help with traditional government contracting: parts and pieces for vehicles, boxes and packaging, IT services, etc. A hint of normalcy.
Getting the news out about opportunities has been urgent and constant. Helping clients write Capability Statements has kept us busy. Adding new clients into our database hasn’t slowed down. Our days are varied, and we never know what will be next. We learn as we go.
Today, however, was frustrating. Monday three clients called for help. We were able to walk each client through their request with GoToMeeting. Today we tried to help three clients, and each needed to head in another direction to solve a problem. We didn’t get them through the subject matter they called about. Granted, this happens from time to time. But three in a row? Frustrating. This was the majority of our day, if not talking directly with the client, then contacting government agencies to figure it out. It’s rarely rainbows and lollipops to contact any government agency, but this was a bit much for a single day for us.
There’s a feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day when you’ve helped someone move forward in their business or helped guide them to resources that will ease their burden. Most days, that is what happens for us, at least a little. We were created to help, and we do so as able.
Government contracting is frustrating enough with all of the flaming hoops, red tape (sticky on both sides), and instructions seemingly written with invisible ink. Then to find that another layer of requirements has been added, or a step was missed so it takes 3 steps back to fix it, it is easily disheartening.
Sometimes our job is to be cheerleaders and jump for joy every time they move forward a half inch. Give them the courage and energy to move on to the next step. Entice them with our joy for their small successes to keep going up the steep incline that is the mountain of learning the skill of government contracting.
I’m grateful to be employed. I’m grateful for all of those working more than full time in Michigan Works with unemployment claims, grocery store clerks, transportation folks, medical community, janitorial services, and more. These are the front line, most needed folks in the world now – worldwide – all continents. Except Antarctica. (Even though many of the residents in Antarctica are uncooperative about social distancing. Good thing they aren’t heavy on the human species there.)
Today was a Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkin Shapes snack day. Tomorrow may be snow peas and grapes instead of sweets because all is running smooth as butter. I was disheartened at Noon to learn it was only Wednesday. I was for sure certain it was Thursday at 4 p.m., which meant I needed another Reese’s. I’m excited for the weekend to turn my mind off and my need for snacks.
Up and down, all around. It’s quite the ride! Glad to take it with my fellow PTACers nationwide.
(The Reese’s Candy image is by Kim. All other images from www.storyblocks.com.)