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#1 Chrispy Chips

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Posted 12 June 2018 - 02:03 PM

Hello All,

 

I've received a wealth of food safety and regulatory guidance from the members on this forum and I can't thank you enough. I've been trying to grow in my current role (QA II, but performing the work of a QA Supervisor/Coordinator) and my issue is that I've seemed to hit a wall with my current employer.

 

I've been here 3 years and have more than proven my ability to be a valuable team member and I've also been credited as a "key leader" in the success of several audits my facility has passed over the last two years (just passed SQF re-certification with a 95! YEAH!) At the very least, I would like my title to reflect the role I'm currently performing, as it would show on a resume that I've been in a supervisory role (which I am - currently supervising 6 QA Techs). However, my QA Manager is at the end of her rope in trying to get me any help with this. She's requested job reclassifications for me several times, but our V.P. of Operations (who is wearing the additional hat of General Manager at our facility) is very "Lean" oriented, if he's been getting $1.00 of work for $0.50, he's not inclined to change that.

 

So, here's my dilemma - I have 3 years in Food Production and QA (TOTAL). In that time, I've been lucky to have a direct manager that saw my drive and potential, got me some valuable training (HACCP, SQF, Auditing and add'l certifications), and pushed hard to get me to move forward. Now, due to either financial limitations, biases, or something else entirely, it appears I've reached a point of stagnation with this employer. I can apply for QA Supervisor positions elsewhere, but there's typically a requirement of a 4-yr degree in a Food Science-related field. Any ideas on how I can bypass this? If not, does anyone have any recommendations on the fastest way for me to achieve said degree? Two things to consider on that second option: I have four dependents and I'm currently the only source of income for my household.

 

This entire situation has worked a knot between my shoulders. I could definitely use some sage wisdom.

 

Thanks all!

 

-CC



#2 jdpaul

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Posted 12 June 2018 - 02:18 PM

Do not let the 4 year degree distract you from applying. What I would do if I were in your shoes:

 

  • 1. Step back and assess whether staying at your current position for another year or two will provide any further growth in knowledge and skills. (I would sit down and make a list of all of the positive and negative things you encountered during your 3 years with said company. Some positives would be your ability to lead audits, gain supervisory experience, understand SQF, etc). Use this in step 4 for your strategic plan

 

  • 2. Determine what it is you want in your next step; is it title or the work you would be doing? Title may be misleading because you may find an opportunity to take control of implementing ISO or other GFSI schemes which would broaden your knowledge. You have to weigh what is more important to you; having both the opportunity and title is of course the best of both worlds but not always available. Deep down, what is it you really want? Determine the threats and opportunities that may await you at a new employer. Use this in step 4 for your strategic plan.

 

  • 3. If you have the technical experience and can show that to a prospective employer there are many opportunities for you to move into a different company. Don't let a degree requirement detour you. Generally as a bottom line most employers see a degree as the ability to complete a task (A degree is a simple one because it requires 4 years of focused commitment at a young age).

 

  • 4. Since you have four dependents you really need to develop a strategic plan. I would take the next 6 months and assess the strengths and weaknesses of staying with your current employer. Rate them and assign high importance. Do a similar evaluation but look at the threats and opportunities of moving to a new employer. Based on this you could make a good judgment on what to do.

Edited by jdpaul, 12 June 2018 - 02:27 PM.


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#3 SQFconsultant

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Posted 12 June 2018 - 02:49 PM

Never let not having a degree not allow you to get a great position.  Your knowledge and experience is bank.


Warm regards,

 

Glenn Oster

 

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Serving clients in: USA, Centro America & Caribbean Islands

International Toll-Free: 800-546-1452

USA Skype Number: 772-646-4115

 

www.GlennOsterConsulting.com


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#4 Gerard H.

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Posted 13 June 2018 - 08:12 AM

Dear Chris,

 

Three years in a company in 2 positions is not so long as it looks like.

 

An important indicator could be the question "if you are learning everyday" in your current position? If he answer is yes, then it's worth to stay and to learn more and to acquire more experience in your QA function.

 

It seems that you enjoy the quality work and that's very valuable, because you found something that you love doing.

 

I think, that you are in an interesting position and that you need just a bit of patience (and that isn't always easy!). Are there possibilities to follow a Food Science study besides of your current job? For example, in the evening hours? That would be a huge occasion to get further.

 

I hope this helps a bit!!!

 

Kind regards,

 

Gerard



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#5 GrumpyJimmy

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Posted 13 June 2018 - 10:20 AM

Chrispy Chips Hi, To give you an idea, i have no degree but have years experience and am a Technical Manager. Don't get me wrong it took a few years to get here but ultimately i am here. I was luckily enough to work up the chain of command in one company and when i could move no more, i moved to another to get TM. If your site doesn't want to further develop or have the need to, then i would move on and find one that does but don't expect it in a small amount of time, 3 years isnt that much time in the grand scheme of things. You may have to prove yourself and work up the chain in another company over time but as soon as you get to the level you want and have proved yourself there then you can do that role at another company and again work up the chain.

You will be lucky to go far in 3 years, if you keep on changing roles trying to get a better job all of the time then it could look unreliable and people will expect you to move soon and not invest in you and in training you.

Ultimately if you see no future where you are then move, prove yourself and work up the chain again in what ever time you are luckily enough to do it in. 

 

J



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#6 Chrispy Chips

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 05:24 PM

Thanks to everyone for your time and advice! Definitely a lot to think about at this point. My QA Manager has been wonderful in regard to training and development, which has caused me to be a fiercely loyal employee. But the loyalty isn't to the company. I'm waiting to hear back about whether my job title will be re-evaluated, so that my current supervisory duties will at least be reflected. My current job title is Quality Assurance Technician II, yet I'm a site SQF Practitioner, on the HACCP and HARPC teams, I'm the lab manager, the self-inspection team leader, PCQI, I perform audit support, and the list goes on. The main frustration is that the duties keep getting piled on without any reciprocation (aside from a company-wide emailed "Thank You" after a successful audit or a pizza party - a company "go-to" motivator which makes me feel like a 3rd grader that did well on a test...)

 

I have my qualms about the company where I work, but like most of you have said, I'm still growing. If the job title re-evaluation is a bust, my supervisor has a list of training classes on hand and she's voiced that if she can't get compensation for my efforts, she'll gladly get me extra training. That's definitely something.

 

Thanks again for the advice and re-assurances. They're greatly appreciated. I'll post any updates as things progress.

 

Regards,

CC


Edited by Chrispy Chips, 15 June 2018 - 05:24 PM.


#7 jdpaul

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 05:40 PM

What is so important about your current title? if your skill-sets are growing, does the title, in the short-term view, really mean anything? Long term, if your skill-sets are growing they will produce an opportunity for a multitude of titles you may want in the future; QA Manager, Director of Quality, Regional Technical Manager, etc. Growing your skill-sets is more important than title, in my opinion. If you could move into a company where you get to learn and mange many standards of ISO but your title is just Quality Lead, i would say that is a golden opportunity. A title is just a title but the skill-set is what will produce the value as a candidate. Don't let yourself get caught in that trap because many people do. There are plenty of QA Supervisors out there who have the title and absolutely no skill-set. I would seek the skill-set. If you do, you will be thinking smarter and moving ahead faster than others who just want a title and don't give any weight to the skill-sets their potential job will provide. They jump into a role and all they are doing is signing off on a form and not really growing their 'QA' knowledge so to speak. Something to ponder...


Edited by jdpaul, 15 June 2018 - 05:42 PM.


#8 Scampi

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 05:55 PM

We never really know how the finances in corporations work. While you may feel that between title and compensation, you are getting the bums rush, they may feel/know/prioritize things differently.

I would ask to see an up to date job description (if you haven't already).  Without that in hand, it can be really difficult to argue (or for your manager to argue) the point of your work load.

 

Keep you're chin up and your head high. JD has a very valid point, there are a lot of business to whom us QA folks are just an added expense they HAVE to pay for and do not understand the $$$$ benefits that come with employing us. After all, we do still have recalls, people do still get sick (um massive recall our of Kellogg this week) and so maybe, from a purely financial position they have not done a cost benefit analysis.

 

We all appreciate it when our job title matches what we feel is our area of responsibility,so I completly understand your position Chrispy Chips

 

And we do all see all of the PhD's and Master degrees in our industry, but sometimes what they lack is perspective and hands on training....so I wouldn't worry about that either. This is a field where aptitude matters as much or more as education.............Not everyone can see cause and effect or the whole picture.



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#9 Chrispy Chips

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 07:15 PM

When I am given a task, the drive to impress often gets more consideration than "how will I do this and maintain my current work load?". I have a difficult time saying, "I won't be able to do this" or "I can't take lead on this project". This inability to say no leads to added stress, which then spills over into my personal life. But the fact that I don't get more than a pat on the back with this employer just pushes me to do more, it's a vicious cycle. Maybe I'm sending the wrong message and my VP of Operations thinks the added projects motivate me? I'm not sure.

 

Beautifully put, Scampi.

 

And jdpaul, also. I have been thinking short-term and reacting to things without thinking of the long-term. Too risky when I haven't got a safety net. I think the issue I have with the title is mainly that each year HR performs a market study for our pay and other benefits, but they base everything solely on the title of the employee, not the type of work being performed or even proven results. My previous employer stiffed a lot of people on overtime and other things (different industry - law enforcement, not food production) and it left me very paranoid and jaded. I think I could use a lesson in patience and take the opportunity to absorb as much as I possibly can while I have a supervisor that's willing to be a mentor.



#10 mgourley

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Posted 16 June 2018 - 12:00 AM

It's the ultimate dilemma. 
With 27 years in the food industry, I really don't care what my business card says. What I care about is whether or not I am adequately compensated for the work that I do, (I am) and whether or not the work that I do ensures that the company I work for produces safe, legal and quality food.

I'm a Sanitation guy by experience, but the hats I wear are many. I guess the best way to describe my job now is "Sanitation Manger/Regulatory and Food Safety Auditing Scheme Compliance Guy/Occupational Safety Go To Person"

 

In other words, jack of all trades, master of a few. I have no degrees, I have a fecal load of experience, however, in all of those areas.

 

So, I feel your pain. Unless you are in an industry, or a company, that demands specific education or certification, do as much stuff as you can and learn about as much as you can. It will only help you later in your career. 

Marshall






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