February 9, 2001
I am COTR
Boy, did this week fly by. But it didn’t start out that way. The first three days were spent in a class in contracting. I’m now an official COTR (pronounced “cotar” as in Cotar the Barbarian). In official parlance I am a Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative. This means that I can be summoned at any time to be the technical rep on contracts. I have no legal power, thank goodness. That’s reserved for the CO (Contracting Officer). But I do advise on the technical parts of contracts that come to our office of the new media variety.
Day 1, 9 am: I am being filled with acronyms and “what ifs” so fast it’s hard to keep up. This is dense! It’s excruciating to think I have 24 hours of class left to go. But, as the hours and days plod on it gets easier to visualize the end. The only way I know how to survive these things is to get totally involved: ask lots of questions and visualize myself living each example the teacher gives.
Not to say that it’s totally uninteresting, especially near the end when we talk about ethics (somehow it’s comforting to know that a federal worker at my level is subject to the same rules of ethics that the President is Clinton, give back those individual gifts worth more than $20 or gifts from one person totally more than $50 per year!). And we were having a final! An open book final, but still. Just where in the book did it mention patent ambiguity?
I came back to the office at the 25th hour, certificate (suitable for framing) held triumphantly above my head, humming the theme to Rocky. I made it! I am COTR!
What really surprised me is that I started to talk like one! The very next day a group of us interviewed a couple content management companies and I heard myself speaking of process and making sure I got everything we talked about down in writing. My abilities were multiplying exponentially! Even my boss commented on it.