Tuesday, May 15, 2007

New Job

I recently quit my job at the aquarium store because the boss/owner was, to put it delicately, in need of something along the lines of Seroquel. I was offered a job at a factory doing quality assurance on their product (a flour/yeast based dry product, I won't say more than that). It's fairly easy, as lab tech jobs go, and the environment is friendly and clean. I'm replacing someone who, for unfathomable reasons, simply stopped doing her job entirely about a month ago, and had been doing almost the bare minimum for over a year. I walked into a situation that needed a serious cleanup and reorganization before I could actually get any real work done, so I have been interspersing the quality assurance work with major cleaning and organizing. I stunned the guys at the factory by catching up on lab samples so much that I am waiting on them to make product for me to test every day.

I worked pretty hard on Monday and Tuesday (today). I cleaned the lab from top to bottom and reorganized all the cabinets. I threw away a LOT of junk. The previous tech had never washed the plastic beakers after doing the proof tests (letting dough rise to test the yeast activity). So there were layers and layers of tape, petrified dough, and Pam spray (it becomes tacky and nasty if not washed away). I scrubbed the ones that were not too bad, but I had to throw out a LOT of them because they were just unsalvageable. I found a drawer full of sauce packets (old, disgusting ones), menus, and unwashed flatware. She had squirreled away a lot of personal mail in the lab as well--two years' worth of pay stubs, time warner bills, nastygrams from her kid's school ("he's a brat, so we're suspending him"), and some kind of "I'm poor, give me money" government form. Also, I found a pair of shoes, bottles of lotion, a dirty toothbrush and toothpaste, some weight loss pills, and some feminine hygiene products. The items that were not spoiled food were put into a box with her name on it. I really hope she has the sense to be embarrassed that someone else had to put her tampons in a box for her.

Other items I threw out: Empty cans of Pam (hi, TOSS IT IN THE TRASH instead of sticking it in a cabinet, it's EASIER!), chains of paperclips that were used as decorative garland (and tacky/sticky with flour and Pam), plastic containers that were warped beyond recognition from being microwaved, a toddler's sippy cup, Vogue magazines, a paper with various non-work-related websites (myspace, classmates, etc) with usernames and passwords, and test mixes dated 2005 (this means she hadn't been doing that test since 2005). I bagged up a bunch of stuff that had been in cardboard boxes that were falling apart and filthy, and I wiped every surface in the room, because there was a layer of flour on everything, including the chair, computer keyboard and mouse, and the paperwork binders. The floor was scrubbed, and I was surprised to discover that I did NOT, in fact, have the only non-field laboratory with a dirt floor; there was tile under the layer of blackened, greasy filth. I also found out that the oil sampling dipstick (a pole about 7 ft long that has a bottle at the end for sampling out of soy oil delivery trucks) was actually a white object, not grey and black camouflage as it had appeared. Apparently, if you scrub oily, dirty things with this magic stuff called soap, it can become clean. What's more disturbing is that the grimy, blackened pole was going into the oil that was to be used for food products. I don't know WHY the hell nobody said anything about that, but, yuck! Also, it now hangs up on the wall instead of being put on the floor. I have this compulsion about stuff that is going into food products being on the floor and not washed. I'm just weird like that.

Anyway, I inventoried and labeled the cabinets and drawers, filed paperwork that was long overdue to be filed, and managed to get all the other work done too. If they choose to hire someone else instead of making me permanent, they will be missing out. Right now, I'm a temp working for a lab support agency. The company needed to get someone in there pronto to rectify the situation after a major quality assurance issue, and they've invested a lot of money in the crash-course training I got. It wouldn't be cost effective to hire someone else and have to train them, if I'm already doing a good job. I never, however, rely on anyone to use common sense, so I'm keeping my options open.

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