Saturday, March 22, 2008

Situation Update #1

Here is the wrap-up for the very uncertain and stress-filled week that just ended.


The weekend saw a gradual increase in over-all anxiety about my job. The second Quality Manager firing in four months has made me apprehensive about my shelf-life with the company. The fact that I was told they weren't going to replace the QM and that I was expected to pick up his duties (in addition to my own!) is also weighing heavily on my mind. The additional treat of having a P.O.'d customer audit scheduled for the up-coming Thursday really kicks the nerves into the next level of jangling.

By this point, a good night's sleep is nothing but a distant memory.


One consolation is discovered when I arrive at work: the Divisional VP of Quality has returned from his week-long business trip. There was some thought that he had scheduled the week as vacation time and that he would not be around for the audit.

Unfortunately, many other issues are swirling around work: new shift patterns, ramping up production with new-hires, etc. Getting ready for the Thursday audit is not a major priority for anyone but me, at this point.

Did I mention that I am now the De Facto supervisor for six Quality Inspectors? Here comes another sleepless night.


At about 10:00am I decided to get a soda from the cafeteria. A quick pat of my back pocket revealed that the wallet is not there. A quick call home reveals that, yes, it was sitting on my dresser. Bringing it to me would entail a two-hour round-trip for my wife and daughter, so I told them not to bother. I had brought my lunch so I didn't need the money.

I was starting to feel like Gary Cooper in High Noon. Every request I made for help was seemingly either rebuffed or ignored. One of my inspectors had been taken away to run production equipment, leaving my area even more short-handed.

Driving home, late, that night my mind was roiling. How will I do it? Am I being set-up? Will I be left to twist in the wind by myself at this audit? Will they show the customer that their "pro-active" response to their quality problems is to fire that jerk they hired four months ago? Will I get unemployment? Will I end up selling my wife and daughter to the gypsies?

I was snapped from my reverie by, you guessed it, the sight of the State Trooper's flashing lights in my rear view mirror. I was so wrapped up in my spiral of career-panic that I didn't notice I was doing 69 MPH in a 55 MPH zone.

The trooper was pretty decent about my utter lack of ID, driver's license and registration. He very well might have let me off with a warning if I had my wallet, but his hand was forced and I ended up with a $150 speeding ticket.

I finally limped home for another sleepless night.


The VP of Operations had been in town all week, by the way. At about 9:00am I am pulled into a conference call with him, the Plant Manager, the Branch Manager and the VP of Quality.

A non-problem with our customer had been conflated to the point that the home office had been contacted and the "big boys" needed a briefing. This related to the trip the PM and I took last week. We met with the customer's Quality Engineer and, after measuring some of our product's parameters, he reviewed some associated drawings and admitted we were not the cause of their problems. It was a disconnect at a different level. Unfortunately, the customer didn't get the message and gigged us for the problem, anyway. Despite my nerves and sleep-deprivation I managed to be an asset to the meeting.

The VP of Quality and I finally had a chance to compare notes about the events of the previous week. We also reviewed what might be needed to get ready for the audit the next day. He suggested I press one of the inspectors into service in checking some things on the shop floor. He also was able to dig up some material for the previous audit. This went a long way toward setting the script of our responses this time around.

I met with my inspector and outlined what I needed her to do. She sprang into action and I got about my business, as well.

With my wallet now safely in my pocket, I went out to lunch...


Blogger RED MOJO said...

Sounds like it's one day at a time at this point. Good luck with all that!

March 22, 2008 7:46 AM  
Blogger furiousBall said...

Boy Craig, hmm... yeah what red mojo said. I prescribe mojitos.

March 22, 2008 8:22 AM  
Blogger Synchronicity said...

what a week you have had! just stopping by to say hello and to catch up here. how are you doing?

March 22, 2008 12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Craig..I can empathize w/ the traffic ticket. I had something on my mind and didn't notice my speed - although I was keeping up with traffic, I was the only one the cop pulled over. Oh well.

March 22, 2008 3:32 PM  
Blogger whimsical brainpan said...

I am so sorry that you've had such an awful week.

I hope you are enjoying Easter today and that next week is a much better one.

March 23, 2008 3:40 PM  
Blogger more cowbell said...

This sounds awful.

...really kicks the nerves into the next level of jangling. Ha, that pretty much nails it, doesn't it.

Sorry about that ticket. He doesn't sound like he was an Officer Donuts though. Too bad you didn't have your wallet. Sheesh.

March 28, 2008 12:59 PM  

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