February 21, 2009

The Annual Insanity

In December I typically start checking in on federal grant opportunities that could fit our funding needs. I diligently watch for their anticipated openings and requests for applications (RFA), preparing project ideas in the hope that something will come along that is applicable to us.

Why do I watch them so closely? Why do I willingly subject myself to the insanity that ensues when we reach an agreement to submit an application?

The month it takes to write/submit a grant application is truly hell. The few days before deadlines being the worst. I forgo family activities on the weekends and survive on copious amounts of caffeine, with an occasional jolt of exasperation-fueled energy. I complain the entire time that I'm working my tail off to get it done. Shaking my head, cursing everyone involved and wondering why I continue to put forth so much work. Wondering why I work so hard to make up for the delays of others.

After everything is said and done, I think my mind and body block out the month of hell that I endure. Each year I agree to do it all over gain; I continue to work all hours of the day and night to overcompensate for colleagues that are slow to respond to my requests. I work 70+ hour weeks to make sure all of the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed. Because honestly government grant applications are the worst to submit.

This year, the ante has been raised. With the change in numerous government facets came a delay in the disbursement of funds for various programs (the USDA included). This was exacerbated by the turnover of political parties. Many announcements were under the threat of not opening at all due to appropriation of funds. Fortunately some are opening, albeit much later than normal.

Unfortunately, these later announcements are coupled with a shorter time span between the opening and closing date. Meaning the insanity that typically goes along with writing these applications is intensified. My deadlines are tighter than ever. Couple that with an increased need for this grant to be funded (the project I'm on is done in a couple of months and there is no more funding for my position unless I secure more) and it's easy to see why the insanity is frenetic.

You'd think that I'd learn my lesson, but it appears as if I don't. Maybe this explains a great deal in my life...