Fight With The Boss: Round 1

We recently got in 3 new projects, all for the same client.  It’s a new client, so we should be trying to impress them, right?  We’re so short-staffed I didn’t even get the projects until the day they were due.  I’m going to call that an “oopsie” by management.

One of the projects utilizes a substance that came with a special safety bulletin.  Every once in a while we get one of those, and it’s not usually a big deal.  It’s generally about 1 page in length and all it pretty much says is “hey, you should pay a little more attention than normal and put on a little extra protection”.  This substance, however, came with a slightly different bulletin.

This one my boss hands to me and says, “read it over, and if you don’t feel comfortable working with this, let me know.”  This one is 3 pages long, and the first half of the first page essentially says if you possess a uterus and are of child-bearing age you should not work with this material.

I’d like to take this moment to point out we have 5 chemists in the lab.  I am the only female.  Why am I the one they gave this project to?

As I read this bulletin and it lists all the terrible reasons why if you think you might ever have a child you shouldn’t touch the stuff, I get to a part that actually dictates a specific procedure for doing the particular test we happen to have to do.  This procedure actually includes something that I am not trained on, and therefore I literally cannot do the test.

*insert secret happy dance*

So, I take this to my boss, who initially agrees with me that for obvious reasons I can’t do the test.  After a few hours though, “everyone else is too busy”, so he’s trying to come up with “creative solutions” to the problem, that all essentially end with me having to work with the material.  I bring up that I’m starting to get nervous about working with it, to which he responds with “well you know this bulletin is really a worst case scenario, I’m sure you’d be fine”.

Oh, well, if you say I’ll be fine obviously I will ignore all of the safety warnings you yourself handed me.  Of course.

The conversation has yet to be revisited, but tomorrow is the scheduling meeting, so I’m sure it will be coming up again shortly.  I’ve done more research, and while in theory I will not be working with any more of the material than is present in a normal dose, it’s still a tightly regulated substance and the bottle contains about 50x more than that amount.  I’m definitely not comfortable with this, and I’ve decided I’m not going to do it.  I’m just not.

Tomorrow will be interesting.

Also interesting?  Suggested tag is “self-employment”.  I think it’s predicting what will happen tomorrow.

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Posted on December 12, 2013, in Life and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Yikes! What is this stuff?! Fellow chemists want to know! Also… I fully support your decision to not work with the material. Go Jen!

  2. Go Jen! Follow your gut on this one and don’t give in!

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