Coming into the position of a Quality Control Chemist, I knew there would be a lot to learn just in a new job. New instruments, new techniques, new procedures to follow there was going to be a large amount to learn just to do right. However, the tricky thing about Quality Control is having to prepare for when things go wrong too and learning from that as well. What happened, why did it happen, and can I fix it are some of the biggest questions that come up when something goes wrong.
Most issues are easily fixed and recognizable as user error such as the gas not being on or a tube disconnected. These problems are ones that can be avoided, but reinforce the need to check for these issues before running and give the experience of what these problems can look like in the field for customers. However, it’s the larger mysteries of hidden gas leaks, or mechanical and electrical problems that create the deeper learning of the instrumentation. These issues can feel more stressful and confusing to deal with and occasionally the feeling of no progress made arises. These issues can take time or be short but taking the time and solving the puzzle helps to learn and recognize similar issues for the next time it may show up and reduce the time it takes to fix. It is through when things go wrong that most learning continues to happen in QC, understanding the machines even better from the unusual incidents and going into the guts of the instrument to solve the puzzle. Once you have a process down it is hard to learn something new until there is something that goes wrong
The failing is one of the harder parts of the job, but it continues to be my one of my favorite parts too. It is on the days that things go wrong that work feels a little more interesting and helps me grow more into my position through the skills and knowledge gained. I will always want to succeed and always want to have things go right but every failure I take as a challenge to learn and have an excuse to research something outside own wheelhouse to be better next time.
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