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True or False: Acquisition Professionals Are Stressed Out
June 29, 2010 at 4:08 pm #104294
I was just reading an article in GovExec, which indicated that acquisition professionals – and especially senior leaders – are being asked to do more and more. An excerpt:“The to-do list for government’s top procurement officials seems to grow longer by the day: Drastically reduce contract spending and curb use of high-risk purchasing techniques. Bring thousands of contractor positions back in house without racking up a huge tab or sacrificing quality of work. Support a growing war in Afghanistan while managing a dwindling presence in Iraq. And those are just some of the tasks landing on the desks of chief acquisition officers.”Are you finding this to be true for you?Asked to do more with less?Do you think it’s going to lead to a breaking point where folks get burnt out and bolt?
June 29, 2010 at 4:12 pm #104304
Good question, Andy. I keep hearing its true, but would love to see what first hand responses you get…
June 29, 2010 at 7:29 pm #104302
I don’t feel too stressed out on a daily basis. Maybe this is b/c my boss is sheltering me from crazier contracts until I’m fully DAWIA I certified. Maybe I’m good with time management. Maybe I’m just awesome. But I tend to think my first answer is correct until proven wrong.
June 30, 2010 at 2:03 am #104300
Yes, Yes, & Yes. I was around in 2002/3 when acquisition personnel were being downsized to pay for the warfighter. People were asked to do more with less then and are still doing it now. People do get burnt out. I have seen people leave the field because of the greater demands and the constant change that we encounter. In my experience, acquisition professionals who work on the operations side tend to burn out the quickest. Acquisition professionals work very hard to keep up with the ever changing demand and I don’t think the field gets the respect that it deserves. It is the nature of the job and unfortunately I don’t see it changing anytime soon. However, I still like what I do and hopefully I won’t need to find a new field.
June 30, 2010 at 3:40 pm #104298
I have been in this general field, in Government and industry, since the early 70s. The latest perturbations you cite are merely examples of external influences that are always present in government acquisition. I don’t think changes in the mission are as much of problem as the never-ending attempts at “reform” propagated by every new administration or other political power base that emerges, in succession. I believe the term “reform fatigue” is very descriptive and has a valid application. I gave in-house training (in the aerospace-defense industry) when the FAR replaced the ASPR and FPR. FAR was to have eliminated the proliferation of agency-specific regs and “streamlined” acquisition, making it more business-like. Well, how has that worked out for us? The proliferation of agency-specific regs has been replaced by the proliferation of control, oversight, “transparency”, etc., ad nauseum, regs – most, if not all, driven by politicians and interests that have no feel for what it is to transact contracted business – or who have lost that feel under the yoke of political masters. I used to think of myself as a “businessman for the government”. The job has now become more one of regulatory endurance and survival. Acumen and judgment have been replaced by lurching progress under a crushing weight of regulatory mish-mash. Yes, it is taxing and draining. Many will seek out more fulfilling pursuits. Some of us will stay around, because we are vested and because we recognize that someone must do damage control.
June 30, 2010 at 4:14 pm #104296
Here is a timely and not-so-coincidental, example of what I am talking about, as reported by Government Executive and the Project on Government Oversight yesterday (http://pogoblog.typepad.com/pogo/2010/06/its-about-time-the-house-passes-legislation-to-disclose-additional-information-about-federal-service.html) —
The House version of the fiscal 2011 Defense authorization bill includes provisions requiring that agencies issue detailed reports on their use of service contracts.
My question is “Why?”. Because service have comprised well over half of defense acquisition dollars for the last several years – and that’s scary? Because acquisition regulations, first written in an era when goods predominated, are still lacking in the treatment of services? Because there’s suspected wrong-doing in the acquisition of services? Because we want to hire more Government employees and this will tell us how many? Because we just like to ingest data? –Or maybe it’s just because your can’t have too much reporting? No matter, just add that task to the acquisition pack mule.
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