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Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What if genealogists were like some of the other professionals?

Receptionist: Hello, Dewey, Searchum and Find, professional genealogists, may I help you?
Client: Hello, my name is James and I am looking for a genealogist to help me with a small research problem.
Receptionist: Thank you let me transfer you to Ms. Find's assistant, please hold.
[Music and advertisements play]
Assistant: Hello, this is Julie, I am Ms. Find's assistant can I help you?
Client: (repeating) Hello, my name is James and I am looking for a genealogist to help me with a small research problem.
Assistant: What is the nature of the problem? Ms. Find's practice is limited to Pennsylvania in the 18th Century and parts of New Jersey.
Client: Well, then I may have to call someone else, my question involves finding my great-grandfather in New York State in the late 1800s.
Assistant: I can transfer you to Mr. Searchum's assistant, he may be able to help you with New York.
[Music and advertisements play]
2nd Assistant:  Hello, this is Mark, I am Mr. Searchum's assistant can I help you?
Client (repeating again):  Hello, my name is James and I am looking for a genealogist to help me with a small research problem.
2nd Assistant: What is the nature of the problem?
Client:  My question involves finding my great-grandfather in New York State in the late 1800s.
Assistant: Do you happen to know the county? 
Client: Actually, no. That is the reason I am calling to talk to a genealogist. I thought I might get some help in finding my ancestor.
2nd Assistant: Yes, yes, of course. Mr. Searchum is very well acquainted with New York in the 1800s and he will certainly be able to help you. Would you like to make an appointment?
Client: Um, can I talk to him on the phone for a few minutes to find out if he can help me?
2nd Assistant: Are you an existing client or new to our office?
Client: Well, I was referred to you by another genealogist who said that they only worked on land cases and she couldn't take the case.
2nd Assistant: We will need to have you fill out our new client profile information sheet first when you come in for an appointment, as a rule Mr. Searchum does not do telephone consultations. You should also be aware that there is a non-refundable $300 consultation fee for the first hour and that Mr. Searchum bills by the hour for any additional time spent. Would you like to make an appointment?
Client: Do you mean I have to pay $300 just to find out if Mr. Searchum can help me with my problem?
2nd Assistant: Mr. Searchum is a highly sought after professional and his time is very valuable. I think that you will find that most professional genealogists are charging the same or higher fees. Would you like to make an appointment?
Client: Well, he does come recommended, I guess I can give it try. When is your first opening?
2nd Assistant: Mr. Searchum's first opening is on August 15th  at 2:00 pm. Would you like to come in then?
Client: That's two months away, do you have anything sooner?
2nd Assistant: I'm afraid not. I could put you on our cancellation list and we would call you if we have an emergency opening. 
Client: How many clients are on that list?
2nd Assistant: I would think there would be about twenty, that is the usual amount. 
Client: OK, put me down for Monday, the 15th of August at 2:00 pm.

[Time passes it is now August 15th]

Client (arriving at office): Hello, I am here to see Mr. Searchum. 
Receptionist: Do you have an appointment?
Client: Yes, I have an appointment at 2:00. 
Receptionist: Please take this clipboard and fill out the form on both sides and sign it at the bottom. Also I need two forms of identification. I will also collect your consultation fee at this time, thank you.

[Time in the office passes, it is now 2:35]

Client: Excuse me, my name is James and I came in about an hour ago for an appointment with Mr. Searchum, is there some problem.
Receptionist: No, not at all, Mr. Searchum is running a little late with other clients. He will be with you shortly.

[More time passes, it is now 3:10]

Client: Look, I have been waiting here for over an hour, do you have any idea when I will get in to see Mr. Searchum?
Receptionist: Let me check, (on telephone), Mr. Searchum is just finishing his last appointment and should be any time now.

[Much more time passes, it is now 3:30]

2nd Assistant at the door to the inner office: Mr. Searchum will see you now. 
Client: Thanks, I was certainly getting tired of those endless Ancestry.com commercials, can't you get any other station on your reception area TV? 
2nd Assistant: I'm sorry but that is a recorded message. Here is Mr. Searchum's conference room.

[Client sits in conference room waiting for Mr. Searchum. Time passes it is now 4:00]

Mr. Searchum: (entering room carrying a stack of papers) I see from your client information sheet that you had a previous consultation with my colleague Ms. Longtime. 
Client: Yes, she referred me to you.
Mr. Searchum: Did you discuss the research with Mr. Longtime?
Client: Well, of course I did. That was my reason for going to see her. She said she couldn't help me. 
Mr. Searchum: Oh, I am so sorry, but I believe I have a conflict of interest. I am on a another 
case with Ms. Longtime and we can't take matters that the other has reviewed.
Client: Why did she refer me to you then? 
Mr. Searchum: I have no idea. But I cannot take your case. I really appreciate your dropping by today however.

Did the client still have to pay the consultation fee? Did he ever find a genealogist to help his with his problem? Did he die first?

I would hope that those genealogists who aspire to be professionals do not take a page from some of the other "professionals" I have visited as a client or patient. Any resemblance between this scenario and actual events is purely intentional. Maybe we don't want to be quite so professional after all?



2 comments:

  1. Seems we've been hanging out in the same offices. LOL!

    I am content with professional level work.

    -fM

    ReplyDelete
  2. I loved this - but I may never again be brave enough to describe myself as a professional genealogist!

    ReplyDelete