We… are all doing it wrong.
November 6, 2009 3 Comments
Well friends, I have some unsettling, but not upsetting, news for you.
I am not really a nice person, but this is not by design as much as it is by the position that I fill, which is that of an internal….
Yep, that’s me. I’m the bad guy.
-And I have literally heard it all before; we are the leaches that feast on the ass-blood of companies; we are necessary evils that shouldn’t be allowed around small children, lest we corrupt their very souls, et cetera et cetera.
I get it. Most professionals just don’t like my line of work on a very fundamental level, as it requires them to have to accept an outside evaluation of their work, to include the words “Uh, you are kinda doing it wrong.” Me, personally, I loathe to be told that I am performing some action wrong, to have it pointed out that I somehow committed myself to a path of operation that is flawed, and am generally just NOT DOING IT RIGHT. If it is in my personal life I can accept that occasionally my interpersonal skills may be a bit flawed, but when it comes to work… Work is something that I am proud of. Work is something that defines, and something that I have dedicated massive amounts of my time to. Work is a large part of my life.
-But I am still payed well to review your processes and systems and let you know either yes, all is well and has been verified, or quite possibly that there might be some soft spots identified that need attention to bring said process to it’s full potential.
–OR that you need to take your process, drag it to the woodshed, and put a .38 round into it’s brainpan, thus removing it from the process gene pool.
I apparently am good at it as I have been doing this type of work for some time now, but this is not about the misery that can be inflicted by someone in my line of work; it is about the few, and VERY rare, times that we, as the demon-spawn labelled “auditors” actually get to enjoy ourselves.
Simply put; I had the best audit that I have ever had in my entire life a couple of days ago.
Now this being Nigeria you see problems during an audit, and not just because the process that you are analyzing is flawed; no, that is just an accepted hazard of the job. This is about the things that you hear only occurring in either crappy movies or in dime store novels. Allow me to list them.
1. Bribes, and not subtle ones. The kind where they tell you that if you write up a report that reflects good on them they will give you (as cash is being slid across the table) THIS amount of money.
2. Physical threats, and not the simple “I’m going to kick your ass if this goes poorly” ones. Nope. These threats usually involve either large amounts of burly dudes surrounding you during the closing meeting, or in one case, an AK-47 being in close vicinity.
3. JOB threats. Yep, I have had guys tell me that they are this and that person in either the local communities, upper management that has influence outside of this job, blah blah blah, and they are going to make sure that either I lose my current job, lose any potential to work in this field OUTSIDE of the current job, or both. These are the easiest to handle; I just ignore them.
So now that I have covered some of the negative aspects I have personally experienced of being everyone’s worst enemy, time to let you know about what possibly was the best audit that I have ever had the literal pleasure to be a part of.
Simply put, the subcontractor that I went to audit has a full bar / game room in it’s bottom floor, and I had to go through it to get to the offices. I could give you the further meat and potatoes of the matter, tell you all about how I deftly procured the information I needed for my audit and did so with a technique that would put neurosurgery to shame, but there is no need. This one point alone was what set the entire mood for the audit, and afterwards actually has me crowing the virtues of this company to my higher-ups.
Here I was, was standing in a professional operation that has dealings with all of the major oil movers and shakers in the industry that operate in country, a group that I personally know currently has multi-million U.S. dollar contracts with just Chevron alone… and their headquarters has a bar, not at some side entrance, not attached, but EMBEDDED in the primary entry to their operations hub, and did not hide it in the slightest. In fact while sitting in said bar after the audit they were more than proud to give me the history behind it, as only a couple of Deep South Coon-asses can do, which involved copious amounts of beer and alot of chuckles, and people that are professionals in their respective fields ACTUALLY JUST SHOOTING THE SHIT.
This brings me to the purpose of this ENTIRE diatribe.
We, as persons that probably directly participate in some type of corporate work, we who have sought for so long to (as a node of a company) present this gleaming, impressive facade that virtually screams to the client that we are machines working towards their satisfaction; that we are interlocking pieces of efficiency whose hive-mind is the best that said client could require to perform any function that is needed…. something that is other than just a bunch of people that work hard, and do it right, but still would like to relax after work with a couple of drinks.
These guys showed myself that there is a way that yes, you can work your ass off, but you also can let the client know that you are not in fact some uptight asshole that hasn’t shit right for a week and has ulcers the size of Saturn’s rings, that in fact… Hey, while you are here, would you like a beer?
We are doing it wrong.