I never thought the dissertation would take as long as it is. I’m a writer by trade – a former journalist and editor – so for most of my career as a Ph.D. student, I’ve been looking forward to my dissertation. But, unfortunately, writing is not what I’ve done so far. I’ve spent hours, days, weeks, and months – literally – in Excel.
I’ve created 2 major databases. The one I’m working on now is rather simple, but there’s nothing out there like it – or that I’ve found. I’ve created a database of HR directors/managers in the United States in cities with populations of 50,000 – 249,999, who I will be surveying about their involvement in HR planning. (Please! If you get a survey from me, please, please, please complete it. I will be forever grateful!) I don’t think HR Directors/analysts, etc. are given enough credit for what they have to offer. Sometimes, I don’t even know that HR people really know how much they have to offer – especially to emergency management. My goal is to find out their thoughts about the tasks that are most important in times of catastrophe. I have had the best experience with the HR directors I’ve spoken with so far. I have to say that I am blessed to have such a welcoming, helpful group of individuals working with me. I’m really looking forward to reading their survey answers.
The second database I’ve created is AMAZING! Thanks to Dr. Bethany Stich who gave me the idea. I think I will be forever indebted to that woman. This second database has combined the areas of vulnerabilities that cities face in the four phases of emergency management with the strategic management activities. Each of the management activities are addressed in each of the four stages. I, then, took the major functions of human resources and identified each KSA or activity that is important. I found every possible combination of these four areas. So, let’s say that Gulfport, MS wanted to better plan for long-time recovery following a hurricane. I literally could walk into their emergency planning meeting and use my database to determine the specific needs of the city in terms of human resource management for mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. All of the normal, daily, usually mundane tasks that HR managers direct every day are not always that easy in times of disaster. My database would address each one of the vulnerabilities the city faces in these abnormal situations. The database actually has 62,000 entries and took over 9 weeks to compile. It’s amazing. If I can help one single city, I’ll be happy.
So I’m going back to it. Trying to save the world can be awfully time consuming.