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Accreditation: a Journeyman’s Journey
by Ossie Vereen, AACD Accredited Laboratory Technician
 
journey (v.)
mid-14c., "travel from one place to another," from Anglo-French journeyer, Old French journoier, from journee (see journey (n.)).
 
journeyman (n.)
"qualified worker at a craft or trade who works for wages for another" (a position between apprentice and master), early 15c., from journey (n.)
 
When I made the decision to become Accredited, I quickly discovered that the process was not going to be easy. In fact, the challenge was even greater than I had anticipated.
 
Accepting the challenge, I decided I could either experience the thrill of victory or settle for the agony of defeat. After six and a half years, across hills and mountains, and sometimes through murky ground, I completed the journey. To do so, I had to see, think, and work differently. After allowing the process to marinate, two things were important and visible throughout the journey and can be summed up like this… First, to master all the steps, case-specific planning was required. Second, the process required seamless teamwork to move from one step to the next.
 
To overcome the challenges, I had to think differently. Like a journeyman, I was a qualified worker at a craft, but how could I become a master?
 
My Approach Challenge
The best approach for me was a slow approach. Initially, I started fast and anxious. I quickly discovered I had to decelerate.  Why?  I needed to see all there was to see and do all that I was instructed to do, even if it meant a change in the way I worked. I constantly reminded myself, this was a journey…journeys take time…embrace the journey.

 
My Personal Challenge
Yes, it happened to me. While working on my final Accreditation case, I suffered a stroke. When I was in the hospital, one of the doctors told me I should be thinking of doing something else. He mentioned that perhaps I should sell the lab and find another career. Well, that suggestion did not go over very well to say the least. I would not believe that my career, the one thing I had invested so much time, energy, and education, was coming to an abrupt end. My thoughts again turned toward the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat. Thankfully, with the help of highly trained and experienced therapists, I was on two simultaneous journeys. Stroke recovery and Accreditation were foremost in my mind. Impossible? No. I had to get control of my health, which was a byproduct of excesses I had placed on and in my body. Stress had robbed me of the joy of life and my passion and I had to learn the difference between doing what I needed to do and the point of overload. My life, my health, and my business were in need of a rehabilitation.
 
I have joked that I am living life at the genesis of my reset years, but it's really the truth. I feel that the clock was turned back to zero, and I have a chance to start fresh. And that is exactly what I did following the stroke. I focused on recovering from the past, rejuvenating for the present, and rediscovering passion for the future and the career I loved. What do I want to achieve? My goal is passion with well-defined objectives and a purpose. Passion was not how I started the Accreditation journey but was how I completed it. 
 
My advice to anyone working on Accreditation is to relax.
 
  • Don't get too worked up because a case did not pass the first or second time. Examine the details. See which criteria were missed. Learn from your mistakes. Embrace the change.
     
  • Remember, you are in the process of having your eyes and mind uncover and reveal change that affects techniques you have been doing your entire career. Some changes will be more challenging than others, but adapting is achievable. Eventually you will agree with the examiners when you have a better comprehension of what was needed. The process is designed to grow and expand your knowledge… so just expect some growing pains.
 
Sometimes we look at processes from the outside and form opinions or make judgments.  Maybe you think your skills are where they need to be. Or maybe you can't see putting yourself through an arduous Accreditation process. Well, there is a saying, and I do not know where it originated or where I heard it. It goes something like this… "You don't know what you don't know." There is not an Accredited member I know who wishes they would have never achieved Accreditation; however, I have met many Accredited members that wish they would have done it earlier. I am the first to raise my hand.