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Burn out - Tips to help combat QC burnout

#1
I've been QC at the injection molding factory I work at for a little under three years. Due to some conflict with management, and basically babysitting the temps, I am beginning to burn out rather quickly. I'd rather not go back to being a regular machine operator, but I am seriously thinking of it. Does anyone have any tips to help me?
 
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#3
There's a personal and a professional side to it.

Personally, ensure that you have a comfortable balance of taking stuff in (e.g. television, reading, movies, music), putting stuff out (e.g. writing, painting, photography, dancing, gardening) and physical exertion (e.g. sports, fitness, dancing, walking). If one of those is completely lacking we've found that people also feel less effective/good on the other areas. Spending time on physical exertion (if you're doing absolutely none) will quickly be increasing your energy on the other areas as well.
Tied into especially physical exertion and taking stuff in is also diet. Watch what you eat and avoid the sugar rush and crash (no need to avoid sugar altogether, pace it). Besides that you might want to have a look at the low level composition of your diet, and might try your hand at vitamins B11, B12 and iron supplements. However, only do the latter if you know you're not messing with medication or medical conditions.

Professionally, obtain clarity on the following:
  1. what is your defined and agreed job? (Job description, procedural expectations)
  2. what are you actually doing?
  3. what do people expect of you?
Determine the delta between 1 and 2 to see whether you are doing more than the agreed baseline. If push-comes to shove you can hide (for a while) behind your documented baseline. This is temporary when 3 exceeds 1, as they will find a way to assign it to you in the proper way if they really need it (usually through the procedures).
Determine the delta between 1 and 3 to see whether you are recompensed and resourced appropriately. If training/supervision is a new or additional responsibility then you can make the case that you need to alot specific time to it, and thus reduce time on other items, or that you obtain more ways to deal with the increased stress (e.g. additional vacation days, training on how to efficiently deal with the matter)
Determine the delta between 2 and 3 to see whether you are doing more/better than you need to (internally motivated people often suffer this)

Additionally, learn to say no (you can think f*** that, but say no) at the beginning of truly impossible or inappropriate assignments/expectations. Also say it to yourself if you're working overhours continuously. Overhours should be an exceptional response to exceptional circumstances. If it is a regular response, you will not fix it with more overhours and are only likely to make it worse as you become less efficient, less effective or even have people fully dropping out after a while.

Long-term: Discuss with your direct manager on adopting a management style based on mission-type tactics (auftragstaktik). It needs the full set of conditions, including the right for you to 'refuse' based on current inability to accomplish a 'mission' and a growth-path that aligns team-members. There's a lot to it, but it provides clarity and reduced burden.

Besides these generic matters you mention managing temporary personnel. This is a specific topic that needs more information for advice: i.e. is this policy-based turn-over, or feelings of fear for being fired you need to deal with for them, how does training for these look like. What kind of issues drain you on this?

Lastly you mention conflict. That can exhaust someone quickly. Elsmar might be able to advise a way forward/out, but might fall under privileged information. Share what you feel comfortable with but nothing of direct value can be given on conflict in general.
 
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John Broomfield

Staff member
Super Moderator
#4
You say QC.

Has your organization not moved on to process design and process control as parts of the organization working as a system to deliver quality assurance; that is to provide confidence that requirements will be fulfilled?

"Babysitting temps" suggests that your organization puts people to work before they are verified as competent and/or perhaps the processes are incapable. Nonconformities deserving of corrective action to determine and remove the root causes.

You will need the support of your boss to make the changes or study to improve your ability to help another organization to properly manage quality.
 
#5
Besides these generic matters you mention managing temporary personnel. This is a specific topic that needs more information for advice: i.e. is this policy-based turn-over, or feelings of fear for being fired you need to deal with for them, how does training for these look like. What kind of issues drain you on this?

Lastly you mention conflict. That can exhaust someone quickly. Elsmar might be able to advise a way forward/out, but might fall under privileged information. Share what you feel comfortable with but nothing of direct value can be given on conflict in general.
I can't even begin to respond to all of this post, though it is amazing and very helpful, so I singled out a couple of parts.

I don't actually manage the temps, but very few of them are meant for this industry. They tend to miss the easiest to spot things, I.E. cold flow on grips, and just generally only care about this as a job. They don't really care about the quality aspect, which means I have to go through a lot more of their work than I should need to.

Basically, it got around that I name called a supervisor, though it wasn't me and I won't rat out who it was. Ever since then, every day he has had something bad to say to my boss' boss about what we did on second shift. Its very taxing to come into that day after day.

You say QC.

Has your organization not moved on to process design and process control as parts of the organization working as a system to deliver quality assurance; that is to provide confidence that requirements will be fulfilled?

"Babysitting temps" suggests that your organization puts people to work before they are verified as competent and/or perhaps the processes are incapable. Nonconformities deserving of corrective action to determine and remove the root causes.

You will need the support of your boss to make the changes or study to improve your ability to help another organization to properly manage quality.
We do have process design and control, but it can be poor. The QC manager is working on tightening it up quite a bit in the past year or so, and it has been getting better. It's not quite where it needs to be yet.

As for the babysitting, since the temps don't care as much as they should, they are definitely being put on jobs without being competent. My boss tries not to, but we can only do so much with what we have.
 
#6
Ah, the absence of (intrinsic) motivation. That hardiest of matters. Since these people are allotted to you without much regard for fit, do the people of departments who suffer the consequences of such have the same issue? Perhaps suggest putting up a rotation of people with such a downstream department. Once someone has been on the receiving end of a shit-chain, they're more likely to behave better on the giving end. Or perhaps there are 'true' risks involved with inadequate inspection you can relate to them? Perhaps risk management or complaints feedback will help contextualize their purpose. The extrinsic path sounds out of your authority and purse power.
Secondary to this, they feel like they might not be able to do well at all, so why try as long as they're not getting fired? Have there been investments in their competence, or a track towards they can work to become permanent workers (if that wish exists?). Investments might be simplified with less cost through mentorship. Besides these, are you getting the same characters because the same kind of people are drawn? Perhaps HR can be urged to engage with a different provider, or be informed of different preferred characteristics. They might only see the need for people to have eyes and hands, while you might be able to specify. E.g. perhaps women instead of men, or drawing from a student population or older people who have lost their job due to unfortunate circumstances (who are often very willing to work well while sitting it out till pension).

As for the name-calling situation. Tough and very context dependent. Don't really know how to help on that, especially if it's a lot of indirect action against you. If it's on your performance call down friendly fire on yourself: request an internal audit 'for improvement purposes'. At worst you'll get advice out of it, at best you'll really get improvement and will convince the boss' boss you have nothing to hide and are willing to work along. In the middle, they might highlight some of the inadequate competence issues you're dealing with and start up finding solutions.
 

gpainter

Quite Involved in Discussions
#7
I believe that eventually we all suffer from it. Very tough to find a company that is all in to quality. There is TROUBLE and it is spelled with a P-PROFIT and sometimes P-POLITICS! Know that you are not alone, do what you can to make a difference and keep trying to find that company. Many times the smaller organizations are better
 

John Broomfield

Staff member
Super Moderator
#8
True, some company executives choose to pay the price of poor quality.

Most of our professional lives, I suggest, are spent convincing our colleagues that it is less costly to get our work right the first time.

As we are now seeing with Boeing, leadership is the key.
 
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Miner

Forum Moderator
Staff member
Admin
#9
There is an old adage:
  • Change the JOB, or
  • CHANGE jobs
My experience is that the former rarely happens, and ultimately you must leave the job for another that is better suited for you. I ultimately left a company that I had worked at for 15 years when I realized that I was keeping a large bottle of Tylenol on my desk and popping pills daily for tension headaches caused by the constant and increasing stress. Since leaving 20 years ago, I no longer keep that bottle and rarely get headaches. Best decision I ever made.
 

optomist1

A Sea of Statistics
Trusted
#10
Specifically QC burnout, long-term seek out opportunites in other functional departments/capacities, htis changes ones perspective...and by extension, the inevitable QC myopia one tends to develop....ideally rotational programs are good, but sometimes one needs to become your own HR person
 
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