Once an Auditor, Always an Auditor

(It’s been a while. And I have a whole ‘nother post planned to talk about writer’s block, procrastination, and deadlines. But here’s a not-so-quick thought from current travels.) 

Last week, for the first time in a long time, I arrived at the airport (Burbank) before security screening was open. A group of fellow travelers and I stood, bleary-eyed, pretending we cared about anything (except finding that next cup of coffee.)
However, once an auditor, always an auditor. As proof, a quick aside. When I was but a young auditor (clear back in the early 80’s – yes, it was a long time ago. You wanna make something of it?!), I was on one of my first audits in Las Vegas. After playing blackjack one evening, I was talking to my co-worker. I mentioned how fascinating it was to watch the process involved when the casino brought new chips to the table; how I had watched the guard deliver the chips, the pit boss count the chips and sign off, the dealer count the chips and sign off, the various copies of that signed slip get dispersed – how I had watched the multitude of steps put in place to keep track of every one of those dollar chips. (You may have heard of those. Yes, in those days there were such things as “dollar tables”.  And we used to have to walk uphill both ways, in the snow, to get to a casino.) My co-workers words were, “You really are an auditor, aren’t you?” Twenty-blank years later, I guess he was right. (He’s in Marketing now.)
Now, back to your regularly scheduled description of “A Morning in Burbank” starring Dan Duryea, Spring Byington, and Richard Crenna as “The Kid”. (Sorry, something about being so close to Hollywood.) I had noticed there were two doors leading outside the building – one on our side of those roll-down cage-like gates they use to separate the powerful from us mere mortals, and the other on the TSA side. The latter door was how employees were entering. I had further noticed that, using good controls, each employee would swipe his or her badge before entering, even if one could have held the door for the other.
Of course, gentle readers, we all know these are basic controls. But it was nice to see them implemented in an area where controls are, shall we say, of some importance.
About that time, a TSA agent came in on our side and was looking through the gate. After getting the attention of one of the various agents who were busily trying to get things ready for the walking dead (that would be us mere mortals), she explained that her badge wasn’t working.
It was obvious that the agent she spoke with knew her. And I could see it coming. My Spidey/Auditor senses were tingling. I was convinced he was going to do the same thing any of us do when someone we know shows up to work and forgets his or her badge; he was just going to use his to let her in. I began to be filled with the righteous rage of the barely awake. “How do they know she wasn’t fired? How do they know she isn’t here to cause irreparable harm? How do they know I don’t need coffee real bad and they should let me in, too?”
He called over a second person. “Okay,” I thought, “That’s better. They’re going to do a double-blind check to make sure she is who she thinks she is. But there is still a problem.”
And then, I watched controls work exactly like they should. They did not let her in. They brought over what appeared to be a supervisor who talked to her for a while. About that time, the gate opened and, rather than let her in, the supervisor walked her back our direction. From the part of the discussion I overheard (auditor skills are never wasted – even if other people call it eavesdropping) it was apparent they were headed back to the TSA office to get it straightened out and get her clearance cleared.
Face it. Any of us who travel have taken a shot or two at TSA. However, it was kind of nice to see things work the way an auditor would like to see them work.
From the Bob Hope Airport – Mike Jacka reporting.

Posted on Dec 27, 2010 by Mike Jacka

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