How long have you been visiting the Cove Forums? Vintage Cove!

How Long Have You Been Visiting The Cove?

  • Total voters


How in the world did I get here....

Thought I'd start something a little lighter. Several threads recently have really hammered on the negative side of our profession. But We're still in it. Why?


How did you get started in Quality?
Did you slide in from inspection like me?
Did you drift into it because someone needed some paperwork done?
Did you grow into it with a growing company?

More to the point why do we stay in it.
Love the "missionary" aspect?
Genuinely feel like you're making a difference?
Just plain old mascochism?

For myself I ran a machine for ten years during which I got a Associates degree in machine design. Found I couldn't quite afford to make the jump into engineering, so when an inspection job opened up I took it. Worked under a fine man/mentor who didn't mince words. (He warned me not to take the job)

I worked inspection, read magazines, wound up joining ASQ and gaining some certifications. Then I switched jobs and became a Quality Manager. :bonk: :frust:

For all the frustrations though, I don't know what else I would want to do. The job is interesting, the challenge constant, and the company I work for is dynamic (not always possitively). Plus the salary is decent.

So what say all, Why do you stay in this field. Lets start the holiday weekend off on a positieve note. (U. S. Memorial day)

Last edited by a moderator:


I'd like to say I got into QC because of the destructive testing aspect - breaking things is fun! - but the truth is I started out as a mechanical designer and migrated. I kept hearing about product which had gone out incorrectly assembled even though the designs were fine. This was especially bad since the company made remote telemetry equipment for monitoring the weather and some of the installations were accessable only by helicoptor (field service was a serious issue!). I began working with the QC department (which was missing a lot of the problems caused by production) and after improving their process, was offered the job of department manager. I occasionaly kick myself for taking the position (like when I get static from those nutty mechanical designers), but usually I LOVE my job. I have a touch of OCD and having harnessed it for the powers of good instead of evil, getting up on monday mornings is now just as easy as the rest of the week. Why do I stay in this field? Hey, it's easier than REAL work, right?


Trusted Information Resource
my story

I got into this at the tender age of 19, starting as an assistant to the Quality Manager for a small company. Moved to inspection, then supervision changed jobs a few time and worked my way up to Quality Manager. The BIG change came to my life, children, and I got off the quality wagon for a few years. I couldn't see being an effective parent if I was working 50+ hours a week. After about 3 years, I came to work for the company I am still with, as the night shift inspector. I wanted to get back in the game, but I was still not ready for the huge time commitment. About a year later, I moved to day shift and began to create the QA Manger position. 3 years ago, I got the official title, and less than a 40 hour work week!

Why stay in it, because it is what I do best.

Have a great weekend all…..I am outta here in about 2 hours!!!!



Thanks JRKH for starting a positive thread on this subject. I think it is interesting to know a little of the background of the people we so often ask advice of.

I started out in manufacturing in the early 70's on the factory floor of a roller bearings company. After a couple of years I was promoted to the metallurgical laboratory. I earned my Associates Degree at night in Industrial Engineering Tech. and after (8 ½) years with that company, and several opportunities for other promotions, I worked as an Industrial Engineer for the next (11) years, first for a robot manufacturer, then a defense contractor. A valve manufacturing company announced that they would be building a plant next door and was looking for a Manufacturing Manager. I sent a resume and got the job. Before the plant was finished, the "would be" plant manager left and another took his place. He and I started up the plant and, like in most startups, you assume multiple roles. In addition to Manufacturing Manager, I also had responsibility for Quality. Soon that Plant Manager left and I assumed his position as well. After several years, corporate went through a merger and that operation was relocated to corporate. Not wanting to move (650 miles) away, I took a job as Quality Manager for another valve manufacturer for about (6) years. I am no longer with that company, but still a Quality Manager in a different industry.

For the most part, I have enjoyed my time as Quality Manager. I've even thought I would like to try my hand at consulting some day. I guess I've stayed in that field mainly because, like you said, the salary is decent.



Mickeyman said:

I'd like to say I got into QC because of the destructive testing aspect - breaking things is fun! -

YEA YEA --- Spent several years in a hydraulic test cell for my previous employer. Its amazing how far hot oil will spray under 4500psi.

Mickeyman said:

I have a touch of OCD and having harnessed it for the powers of good instead of evil, getting up on monday mornings is now just as easy as the rest of the week.....

OCD -- Darn I wish I'd have thought of it in my origional post. I guess we all need a little OCD to survive in this business. Helps in dealing with the anal-retentive types.



I got into quality through, of all possible avenues, sales, hardware. Had a major account, foriegn military, that was very high on quality. However, the company I was working for was very high on profit. Purchasing got a bonus on the amount saved between what they spent and sales budgeted. Needless to say I left that company. Next place had no quality system, but wanted customers that required one. Guess who took care of it. Couple of years later ISO 9000 came out and its all been downhill from there.
I got in early

I have chosen my line of work because I want to do it.

It's extremly important to me to be able to feel that I make a difference. My interest in improvement work was triggered by my very first job after school. It just so happened that the company in question was a genuine rats nest where no one had a clue about quality (Yes, I left before they went bankrupt). That factor decided my career to this day.

And James: Good thread... We can all use some positive thinking....



Re: How in the world did I get here....

JRKH said:

Thought I'd start something a little lighter. Several threads recently have really hammered on the negative side of our profession. But We're still in it. Why?

Your background is a lot like mine. I was a machine operator, got an associates degree and took a job as a quality auditor. Didn't have a clue what a quality auditor did, but it was an office job. From there have moved back and forth from production to quality for 17 years. (That will screw your head up):confused: But, I happen to be good at this, although I think the frustration level was less in production. At least there, people had to listen a little since you made the product and the money. I heard it said that no one retires as a quality manager, they either die young or change professions. Not sure which category I will end up in. But I will give it my all as long as I am here. :thedeal:

Laura M

1975-79 Great math teachers - lousy science teachers. Always thought I'd be a teacher. graduated in '79
78-79 Over abundance of "teachers" due to vietnam exemptions - probably better off in the engineering field - but due to above hated that I was un-inspired by science, ended up in Industrial Administration. Good fit between liking math and hating science.
1984 - Graduated BS IA and hired as CGIT (college graduate in training) Still liked math so went for local masters in applied math. (i.e., applied and industrial statistics) Learn about quality and worked in the field of applied math)
84-99 Played the game of employee, worked in reliability, as mfg QA, introduced APQP to facility, was QS mgmt rep and gave birth to 3 kids and decided to venture out on my own.

1999 - current - individual employeed with a target market of small operations that can used a simple and ISO QA system.

Bottom line - liked math, Deming and my education hit at the same time, and here I am....
Last edited by a moderator:


Change Agent and Data Storyteller
Super Moderator
I entered the lovely world of ISO and QMS's at 19. It was summer break and I had survived my first year of Engineering. The job was with a manufacturer of printing inks and the QA Manager says I got the job because he liked my definition of ISO 9000 during my job interview. When he asked me to define the 1987 version I said, "All that matters is consistency. You can produce consistent crap and still become registered." :)

I started developing that organization's QMS during that summer and when I left in the fall to return to school, the QMS programme was put on hold until I returned the following summer. It took three summers for them to attain their registration, but it was a wonderful experience being involved from the beginning.

Other jobs in the actual Engineering field, I've had, but I always return to the realm of QA. It *is* a challenge. *Never* boring. And *always* entertaining. The pay is, however, dependent upon the industry that one is in and the steel industry is not known for having a high pay cheque. On the flip side, though, this industry is relatively stable when it comes to job security.

My experience with ISO has ranged from inks to plastic to building buses and now manufacturing steel. Either way, I like the dirty environment of manufacturing. I've had some opportunities to enter the clean world of pharmaceuticals and telecommunications, but I'd rather be in a hard hat and steel toes than a hair net and booties! :vfunny:

I figure by the time I hit 30, I will be (almost) ready to head out on my own. I should have the contacts by then...knock on wood. Of course, life never goes according to plan, so while I say I'll be consulting at 30, who knows where I'll be. As long as I've got a challenging job that provides me with variety and rewarding experiences, I'll be happy! :D
Top Bottom