UPDATE 07/19 – Jeffro’s comment made me think that maybe I should put a link to our website … if ya’ll are interested in learning more.

We’ve all asked that question, and we’ve all been asked that question. It’s small talk. It’s an ice-breaker. It’s a blind-date conversation starter.

Sometimes, the answer is self-explanatory. “I’m a fireman/policeman/doctor/auto mechanic”. Then, there’s my job. Not so self-explanatory. I’m the Quality Manager in a Metrology Lab.

Usually, the first thing I have to explain is that metrology has nothing whatsoever to do with the weather. That’s meteorology. Metrology is the science of weights and measures or of measurement.

We sell, repair, and calibrate scales. While metrology is not limited to weight (any system that measures falls into the metrology basket, whether you’re measuring weight, volume, electrical current, sound waves, dimensions, light, etc), the company that I work for specializes in scales.

I can see your face, with that puzzled look, saying “Scales? That’s all you do? Can you really build an entire business around scales? And actually make money?”.

The short answer is “Yes, you can.” We’ve been in business for 45 years, and don’t show any signs of stopping any time soon.

The longer answer is “Of course you can!” Scales are generally “behind the scenes” equipment, but I promise you that everything you have ever owned, bought, or thought about buying was weighed at least once at some point along the way from the raw material to the finished product.

I read an article a while back in a trade paper. The author followed an ear of corn from the cornfield to the grocery store, where it took the form of a bag of Fritos(TM) corn chips. In order for that to happen, that ear of corn and all it’s corny cousins were weighed THIRTY-SEVEN times.

wcwbag_614x772.jpgScales come in many, many forms. They range from analytical micro balances that are used to produce infant vaccines, all the way up to railroad scales, truck scales, and even marine scales that weigh entire ships. And they all have to be calibrated. That’s where I come in.

floor.jpgAs the Quality Manager, it’s my job to oversee the calibration process, and ensure that all of the people doing the actual calibrations are using the same procedures, filling out the same paperwork in the same manner, and using traceable standards to determine if a scale is weighing correctly.

Because we’re ISO (17025:2005) certified, this involves a HUGE amount of paperwork. In the world of ISO, everything has to be documented. If it isn’t documented, it didn’t happen. End of story.

That’s what I do. So, what do you do for a living?