To read about F's and my London trip, start here and click "newer post" to continue the story.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I know the entire world is waiting with bated breath to see how my j. i. went.

I think mostly it went OK. They liked my lab experience and the approach I take to supervising, and to quality. I don't have the regulatory experience they would like to see.

And two different people asked me what I think about 9- or 10-hour days. I don't know if they liked my answer, which I didn't expound upon as thoroughly as I will here.

I used to work for an environmental company. We did a lot of lab work in support of our engineers, who were remediating hazardous waste sites. When there was a project going on, the supervisor would schedule us to work 10-hour days, 6 days a week, for the three or four weeks of the project. I told him that that was a mistake, and eventually he got it. Here's why: If you schedule a 40-hour work week, and things go wrong, which they inevitably will, you can stay late in the evenings and come in on the weekend and catch up. If you schedule all of your available time and base that on a best-case scenario, then when a run fails or you have a power outage or there were unexpected matrix problems, whatever, then you can never catch up. The domino effect knocks out your entire remaining schedule and even though you're working your butt off, you get a black eye because you didn't do what you said you would do. After that happened a couple of times he got the message and started scheduling 40-hour weeks for us. Of course we still had to work late quite a bit during those projects, but we started being successful in meeting our obligations.

It's the same way, I would guess, in any job.

So I told them that I do not mind working long hours. I work them now. I don't have little children at home, my husband usually works late, so I don't have pressure to leave work at a certain time. What I do mind is putting in those long hours and still not being able to get my job done. If you schedule that 50-hour workweek doing the routine stuff, when anything extra happens, the routine (but necessary) functions have to go. Then the routine stuff is what bites you on the butt when you get audited. Foolish and short-sighted.

Am I the only person who sees it that way?

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