songscloset: Me with the sun flare on my face. (Default)
[personal profile] songscloset
It's been a couple more weeks and I'm learning new things at work every day. Some of them are interesting but others are annoying.

The training itself is terrible. Not catastrophic, but dire. Truly, bogglingly poor. They don't have actual training documents or method. Everyone I mention this to gets both defensive and baffled, in varying parts. Their first comment is that they have SOP documents.

They do, sure, but those are (naturally) over-broad, very generic documents which cover the correct method we are to use to produce the end result (tested samples).

What they don't have is actual written-out steps for any tasks. So, if you want to go find and weigh soil samples, you have to ask someone where to find the list of un-prepared samples. And ask where those samples are kept. And how to weigh them out, and how to enter those weights into the required computer program ... and how to set up the list of samples in the program.

This should be easy. (It is easy.) But instead of handing a trainee a stack of papers with the various tasks they can do outlined clearly, they have that trainee shadow other workers while they do their jobs. Since the trainee can't actually do any of the tasks the other workers can (trainees are restricted from actual analytical tasks until they pass several physical competency tests), this is somewhat pointless. And there's no written out list of steps for the prep and analytical tasks the trained workers are doing, either.

When I asked why nothing's written down, I got two responses (from everyone).

1. Every analyst has 'their own way' of doing things, so writing out a set of steps is too restrictive.
2. If we get audited, having the steps written out makes it look like we don't know what we're doing.


First of all, the analysts shouldn't be doing anything 'their own way', ffs. We should all be doing the same damned things each time, so that any results are repeatable and reliable. I think what they mean by this is that everyone sets out their tools differently, but I'm not sure.

Second, I'm confused by auditors believing that having notes with the required steps for all tasks means that the analysts aren't trained. Surely it's better to have something to refer to in case of temporary memory issues, right?

So, anyway. Every time I learn a new skill/task, I write it up in clear, specific steps. I spoke to my department manager about it and insisted he actually read one of my lists. (He'd been telling me that what I was doing was un-necessary.) When he actually read what I'd written, he was amazed at how useful it is.

I'd simply written out, clearly and in detail, exactly how to find and weigh soil samples, from beginning (where in the computer program to search for new samples), through the middle bits (what one would need to have gathered in advance in order to have all the required supplies), to the end (where to store the samples and what to do with the remainder of the original sample).

This isn't hard stuff. I've never worked for a company which didn't have this sort of thing already written out. How else are new employees supposed to learn their tasks?

Anyway, I've passed the physical competency tests, so I'm going to be starting Actual Analytical Work next week. If I'd had adequate and accurate instruction, I'd have passed first time - this is a clear place where having the damned things written out would have been useful. Also, the day I was in a departmental meeting and talked about this, they discovered that something which had been causing a week's worth of failed test runs in another department was caused by poor training (missed steps in a process)

The part which confuses me the most is how many people are not just reluctant to implement this sort of training documentation, but downright angrily resistant. It's like they're somehow threatened by a stupid list of steps. (One person whined that it's telling people how they're supposed to breath and walk.) Since one of the strongest resisters is in my department, I'm dropping the whole thing. I'll be writing up instructions for my own use - I remember things better if they're clearly written out - but I won't be bringing it up with anyone else again.

Oh, right, we do have composition notebooks into which we're supposed to take notes, and from which we're supposed to be reading when it's time for us to do a task on our own, but trying to flip back and forth through pages upon which we've scribbled hasty notes is ridiculous when we could be just reading from a list of correct and clearly typed instructions ... *sigh*

In other news, not much else is going on. We're thinking of getting Merrie a job at my work, as a Sample Control Technician. It would be sort of fun to work with her and she'd like having a paycheck again, although she'd be bummed at losing her free time.

I'm bummed at losing my free time. One of the things I wanted from this job was the schedule I was promised, which is 1pm - 9:30pm Tuesday-Saturday. I haven't been able to transition to that schedule until I passed the stupid tests ... which I've been doing wrong this whole time because no one told me the right way to do it and no one has actually observed me doing the things I'm being tested on. Seriously, I asked one of the other analysts to watch and she acted like it was bizarre and unecessary.

I hope to be on afternoon shift soon, though.

In body news, mine still isn't quite right. I haven't had a chance to get to the hospital to have the oddity in my abdomen looked at, which is annoying. Also, I'm still steadily gaining weight and I'm tired of it. I don't like having to keep buying new clothes, I don't like the way I feel sluggish and bloated all the time ...

At least the awful cough is getting better. It's not gone, and I'm not sure why not - I've been taking the proton pump inhibitors daily. I'm still eating cough drops like they're going out of style (LOTS of menthol is the only thing I've found which can suppress the cough) and I seem to have reached a plateau. I'd like the damned thing to be gone, though.

Good night!
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