When I started my new job, the first thing I needed to do what test a sensor made by a contractor. I needed a space to do so. I have had face to face discussions with my boss, his coworkers, and the safety officer. I cannot get non-hazardous chemicals approved much less a space to move them to. I used my old contacts with a lab I helped set up to start the process, hoping I could make progress while I tried to get a space. But it's been 3 months of nothing, and my friends have now politely told me 'this is not short term, and asked me to leave.' People at work are upset we're behind schedule. Can someone please give me some solutions to try? I'm out of ideas.

  • 3
    What exactly is your question? – Donald Jan 11 at 16:39
  • How can I get people to let me set up a lab? How do you get people to move on work? – SillyInventor Jan 11 at 16:58
  • Neither of those questions is contained within your question body. If you don't receive support, for somebody that can approve the lab, then the lab does not get set up. – Donald Jan 11 at 17:00
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    Exactly what did your friends tell you? Did they ask you to leave? Leave what? The company? Also, approximately where are you, and what general industry? (Don't put identifying information here.) Does the company have a lab? Have they done such testing before? – David Thornley Jan 11 at 19:25
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    What is the specific task that you need to carry out, why does it require dedicated lab space, and how is your employer expecting you to do it without a lab or appropriate equipment and supplies? More importantly, what are your employer's answers to these questions? – Upper_Case-Stop Harming Monica Jan 11 at 22:11

You're an employee who needs a lab with equipment to do their work.

Your employer MUST PROVIDE such a lab (your workplace).

If they don't, you're unable to fulfill your work assignments.

The company is apparently led by idiots and you should leave in your own interest.

If you want to stay ask them how you're supposed to work if they don't provide or rent lab space and equipmemt for you.

Tell your disgruntled colleagues the fault is with management who failed to provide you the necessary workspace and equipment.

As you apparently need a lab and chemicals, health and safety would have a field day if management requires you to work without a proper lab.


It's time to write a memo

(or boilerplate language for all future status reports).

In this you would essentially provide information on three courses of action

  1. List the equipment and requirements to conduct the testing in-house along with the related safety concerns and highlight those for which you have been refused permission or where obtaining permission creates additional requirements

  2. Provide information on having the testing conducted externally, for example preliminary quotes from testing labs. You might also include any disadvantages (for example time delays or inability to readily investigate alternative ideas as they come up). The more you are stuck twiddling your thumbs over permission issues for the in-house route, the more you can research this.

  3. Explain the consequences of skipping or deferring the testing

For decisions you don't have the authority to actually make, your role is more to present information to the decision makers.

However, if decisions are routinely being made in a way you are uncomfortable with (or unsatisfied - if you want to work in a lab and are being repurposed at a desk), it may be time to seek a role elsewhere.


While this is not my area of expertise, we sometimes have to provide "lab-like" environments to customers. In occasions, what we provide is not enough for the customer and it is someone's duty to justify that to them. I take it that you are that person.

From experience I can tell you this is an attitude within the company. In my view, an acceptable workflow (priority from highest to lowest) would be:

  1. If you somehow get to obtain support for some specific person in the company that allows you to set-up such a lab (explaining the issue personally to some of them, maybe), then go for it. All required individuals should be informed in written form to avoid issues in the future.
  2. Otherwise, I would suggest talking once more with those involved in setting up the lab (your boss, the safety officer, anyone else if needed) and explain the current situation and blockers, the roadmap you devise to be able to set up the lab and test the sensor, current risks for completing the project and risks if not being able to do so.
  3. In case you do not get a firm commitment from them on helping you test the sensor, I think you should ask them for alternatives (subcontract some organisation that does have a lab or space & approval to do so, rescind the contract with the customer or just ask your boss to interface with the customer itself).
  4. If no alternative is provided, I think you should kindly ask them if they can move you to a position where you are allowed to provide more results.
  5. If they do not agree, you can just wait til something explodes -definitely not the lab :)- or leave to work on some other company.

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