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Am I going to be fired?? Please help.

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Hi everyone.


I am not sure if I am just being paranoid or if this is a realistic fear so I figured I should try to get a neutral party's opinion on this.


I work as a clinical trial associate for a contractor of a large pharmaceutical company. My job is entry-level, around 35K a year, dealing with document management mostly. If anyone knows about this job, they know it involves lots of regulations surrounding document protection. For example, there is a fireproof safe guarding any documents in the workplace. You also have to record on a log whenever you practically TOUCH a document.


I've been working there since January 2011 and I'm 24 years old. This has been my real "big girl" job. I feel that I'm a pretty good worker, and I believe my boss thinks so too. He has told me several times that my coworkers appreciate working with me and that he is happy to have me there. He even told me that he receives more comments than usual from my team members (clinical trial team) that they appreciate me as a team member. The only thing I had been reprimanded for was staying too late to finish up work and not making sure that he knew about it.


And now, today happened. On Friday apparently QA came and found some documents (that had been sent to me, and I was responsible for) in the document cabinet. These documents were not supposed to be there and the "law" is that docuemnts can only be on our site for 5 days, so they were included in the AUDIT. I left them there for 3 MONTHS. I had been notified of them and just chose to procrastinate about them, which lead to this.


When my boss told me about this, I could tell he was disappointed. An audit is a pretty big deal, especially in such a regulated workplace like clinical trials.


If this wasn't the worst... I forgot my computer today (took my laptop home to work at home over the weekend) and didn't tell my boss about it, and used someone else's computer which apparently was illegal. I was reprimanded for this as well, and my boss told me he felt I had "deceived" him. I honestly was not trying to deceive anyone, I just did not know it was so important to tell him I forgot it, as I was able to access someone else's computer.


I'm feeling pretty panicky about this. I don't know what I would do if I was fired. I just got a new apartment and started paying rent, and I love it. My boss knows I just moved and this might be occupying my mind a bit. I have a college degree and I'm a smart girl and I would feel terrible if I was fired. I need to know if I'm going to be fired because I don't want to be unprepared... I want to start looking for another job if necessary.


Opinions/help are welcomed.

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I had been notified of them and just chose to procrastinate about them.


I forgot my computer today (took my laptop home to work at home over the weekend) and didn't tell my boss about it, and used someone else's computer which apparently was illegal.


Honestly - neither of these are very good things.


The first one I don't get. Why would you blow something like this off? Particularly since you seem pretty well aware of the repercussions.


The computer thing - also very bad. I know many people who work in this field are not allowed to remove a computer, just in case someone else accesses your files, so I think using someone elses computer is just as bad.


Hard to say if they'll fire you. It sounds like a very rigid environment that's very tightly regulated, and that mistakes of this nature generally aren't tolerated well.


If I were you, I'd plan for the worst, and hope for the best.

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Why not schedule a short meeting with your boss to tell him how sorry you are, that you weren't intentionally being deceptive, and that you'd like another chance?

At the meeting don't make too many excuses -- the bottom line is that you made two mistakes and it will never happen again. This job is really important to you and these two incidents do not represent your high commitment to the task. You are really sorry about the audit.


First, this type of meeting gives him a bit more confidence in you. Second, he may tip his hand a bit as to whether they're keeping you on staff.


Good luck!

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Hmm... I was a partner in an audit firm with medical device and pharma clients. I am NOT an FDA auditor so please take what I say with a heaping grain of salt:


Auditor findings are always followed by recommendations for process improvements, changes in record keeping, in my world, changes in financial statement preparation and/or IT controls.


In my former life (auditor - now I'm a doctorwannabesomeday), I found people misappropriating funds to accounts that did not exist which could have impacted materiality findings. I did NOT find evidence of fraud to correspond so the matter became an audit finding, with a recommendation, and the person who screwed up got a recommendation as well. Those recommendations, as far as I know, did not end up in the personnel file and did not cause the individual to be fired.


What would concern a manager more, in my opinion, is that you were procrastinating in an environment that cannot tolerate much deviance from policy. Because of the legality of the United States and the litigious warfare that gets launched by the Office of Inspector General, or the Department of Justice, companies are very prudent about how they handle documentation. Solid documentation can = millions of dollars in patents, solid documentation can be the difference between a substantial fine by the agencies listed above OR no fine. Fines by the DOJ, that I have personally seen and audited ranged from $50M to $500M (yes, millions).


What I would want to see from an otherwise solid employee is remorse. What I would expect to see is a game plan of how the behavior that caused such a finding would be prevented in the future.


And I would expect the employee to approach me.

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