I am a sucker for milestones. Like, a big sucker for them. For some reason, I think the only reason to count things is to embrace the milestone that comes with it. Milestones give you a chance to celebrate something, no matter if it is something important (like the time I went a month without shaving for a good cause) or something stupid (like the time I went a month without shaving for a … reason … don’t ask, please). The real challenge to holding a milestone is ensuring the count is pure.
My job is a Quality Auditor. I know there are few people out there that are reading this that are also auditors. Maybe those auditors aren’t reading this, because … let’s face it reading isn’t a prerequisite to doing this job (that’s a joke for the rest of you, just saying). I’m just mentioning that, because in the time that I have known myself to be a quality auditor and known others that are as well, it’s become pretty clear over time that I do a few more audits than normal. I am even willing to pull out the word “prolific”. As in, I am a Prolific Auditor. As in, the amount of audits I have done in my career tips between “loads” and “a s**t ton”. The reason for that is that I seem to have fallen into certain technical areas that don’t require a s**t ton of time. Many quality audits can take 2 to 3 to 5 days. Back in my Cessna days, I did a lot of special process audits that you were turning over in less than a day. Here at JPL I do a lot of Electrostatic Discharge audits, that can be as short as a couple hours. Being the smart person I am, I try to take advantage of locations and time by jamming a bunch of these together. Meaning, I can crank out an bunch of audits in a very short time.
Back when I worked at Cessna, I took the time to count the number of audits, and it just emphasized the prolific nature of the auditing I was doing. Especially in my first year. Somehow, I cranked out 45 audits in 2005 – and that includes time for me to transfer between departments and waiting until I got trained & approved as an auditor. While I could break-down what that meant from a travel time to training to all the other junk, what it really meant is that about every other working day I spent on an audit (and that meant the rest of the days I spent writing reports for said audits). That number diminished, and rapidly, but … did I mention the word ‘prolific’ in this paragraph, yet?
I do remember, at some point, while I was at Cessna that count broke the 100 audit mark, and I even kinda celebrated it at the supplier. All they cared about was that they had findings, so it didn’t matter to them all that much, but still. It wasn’t just before I left, but I kept ticking away the audits after. When I left, I made the mistake of not scratching up that count … and that is a count that is now lost to time.
When I moved to BP in Alaska, I kept up my auditing — but it went from ‘prolific’ to ‘almost non-existent’. Two years there, I think I did five or six audits.
When I worked for Bodycote these last two years, you could say I didn’t do any audits … but then again, you could say I did s**t tons. Our plants were audited constantly, so a lot of my job was doing unofficial internal audits to survive that mess. It was a different result, a different approach, but it was still auditing.
Point being, there is no count … not an official one at least. Somewhere during my BP days, I stopped bragging about “doing over a 100 audits” to bragging about “doing over 150 audits”. I did that in part because, chicks dig a high audit count. Truth was, I had no idea what the count is. I still don’t.
All I know is that I got approved to perform audits at JPL in April, I have performed 22 audits … up until today at least. If 2005 was my record year of 45 audits, I am on pace to break that record, with not counting a single audit for 1/3 of the entire calendar year. It’s a term I have used a lot today but … that is a “s**t ton” of audits (and you thought I was going to say ‘prolific’).
Still — without an accurate count, I can’t celebrate a good milestone. So you know what? I am going to make one happen.
Today I did an audit in Manteca, California.
I am calling this “Audit #200”.
Yep, I will now get to tell those chicks, ‘I’ve done over 200 audits’, because chicks dig an audit count.
Truth is, there is a lot of pride I can take from my audit count. #1 audit … the first audit on my own … happened in Switzerland. Since that time, I’ve audited in 8 countries and 31 US States. I’ve seen massive steel mills to shops shoved into garages doing incredibly intricate things. I’ve audited in the middle of the night of a shift-change going to the graveyard, and I’ve audited in the middle of 40 days of darkness in the Arctic Circle. I’ve had a great audit with 40+ findings, I’ve had a horrific audit with just 1 finding. Sometimes, I’ve had such a breeze I felt like I wasted a couple hours of the supplier’s lives, and sometimes I’ve hit on something so important that I know I am leaving that company bettered for all of time.
So today, in what we jokingly called ‘Meth Valley California’, I am going to call it Audit #200. I knocked it out in just over 2 hours, with enough findings that makes my feel like I earned my paycheck (which for auditors is a joke … and kinda not).
With luck, I won’t hit 250 until next year. With lots of luck, it will wait until 2019. But from this point on the count will be a little more accurate.