General Question

my_hearts_in_scotland's avatar

What should I do if I made a mistake at work and am afraid of getting fired?

Asked by my_hearts_in_scotland (267points) February 17th, 2010

I work as a night auditor at a hotel, working overnights. I had brought a bag of popcorn for my dinner one night and popped it in the employee break room. The microwave in there is not the best. The popcorn burned as I was in the hallway to check on it (in there for less than 2 minutes). This set off the alarm which tiggers the fire department. I was trying to silence the alarm while answering the phone letting guests know that it was a false alarm. The regional manager was staying at the hotel, and she came down. The fire department came after I’d already reset the alarm—which is a no-no apparently. I’m now scared that because it was my fault that there was a false alarm that I’ll get fired. I tried to handle it as best as possible, but guests were complaining about the alarm and I couldn’t figure out how to silence it. Would this be a reasoning to fire someone? With how it is now, I would not be able to find a job, at least not with enough pay.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

29 Answers

ChaosCross's avatar

Usually a terribly incompetent mess up (which we all have occasionally) would not be grounds to fire a person, but it really just depends on your boss.

Vunessuh's avatar

It sounds like you came here to vent rather than to seek answers.
Unfortunately, none of us can see into the future to tell you whether you’re going to get fired or not and none of us know whether or not your boss is justified in this potential firing because we weren’t there. You’ve done all you can do for now. Just wait and see what happens and handle the situation accordingly.

Zen_Again's avatar

You seem very anxious – is this a new job? It really depends on all of the circumstances, how you responded and reacted, and of course, the boss.

Actually, your response to the shole thing is probably the most important. Are you nervous and anxious here, but calm and collected in real life and during the situation? If so, I wouldn’t worry.

Isn’t the hotel industry all about SNAFUs?

lillycoyote's avatar

Well, in my experience the best thing to do is just fess up, admit that you made a mistake and take your lumps. What else can you do? Lying and trying to cover it up only makes things worse. You made a mistake. Human beings, and I am assuming that you are a human being, make mistakes. I might not be the end of the world. If they want to fire you for it there’s not a whole lot you can do.

lilikoi's avatar

An honest mistake. I wouldn’t fire you, and I hope they don’t either.

augustlan's avatar

@my_hearts_in_scotland SNAFU = Situation Normal, All Fucked Up.

Follow @lillycoyote‘s advice. Admit the mistake, apologize, and hope for the best. We’ll be hoping for you, too. Good luck!

jrpowell's avatar

What lillycoyote said. Honesty goes a long way. You made a simple mistake and I would fire you if I was your boss and you tried to cover it up. Fess up and I would respect you.

plethora's avatar

Go to the manager, admit your fault and ask her forgiveness, assuring her that this will never ever happen again.

Just_Justine's avatar

Agh! we all burn our food, drop coffee all over our keyboards, drop our laptops, and sometimes copy 300 pages instead of one. It’s not the end of the world. Although the fire department was a bit shocking!! I would just confess assure them it was a mistake and will not happen again. I’m sure you will be OK. At least you are a willing worker which shows in your anxiety.

jackm's avatar

It looks like the problem here is that he turned off the fire alarm, not that he burned popcorn.

If you were repeatedly told not to turn off the fire alarm, this might be grounds to fire you. Just tell them the guests were complaining and you thought it would be easier to turn off the alarm than piss off everyone.

davidbetterman's avatar

It wasn’t a false alarm. there was popcorn burning and heavy smoke. Night auditor positions don’t always pay a lot, and they are extremely difficult to fill. Act like you could care less…Whatever you do, don’t beg or kowtow for this crummy position.

davidbetterman's avatar

Sometimes you just have to gut things out and bluff your way to a winning hand!

Cruiser's avatar

It really is not your fault you were not better trained in emergency procedures. If anything go to your boss and express your interest in creating a training program on how to handle similar or all types of emergencies. Their fault not yours!

TheJoker's avatar

Be up-front & honest… the worst thing you can do in a situation like this is try to cover it up. Bottom line is they will find out whats happened & you will end up looking incompetent, & untrustworthy. If you own up to it at least you could claim it was an innocent mistake & that perhaps you need additional training.

Silhouette's avatar

Shit happens and I wouldn’t fire you. You didn’t burn the place down, you didn’t kill anyone and you didn’t mean to do it.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

This might be a good way for you to let your boss know that fire safety should be a whole lot more important in a hotel than it appears to have been here.

1. When a fire alarm goes off in a hotel guest should NOT call the front desk to ask what is happening. They should be exiting the hotel. Period, end of sentence. This can be straightened out outside, even if that’s inconvenient.

2. You should have been positively trained in what to do. If you reset a fire alarm because you didn’t know any better, then it’s hardly your fault if you weren’t trained.

3. I’m not sure what to say about the microwaved popcorn, but two minutes of popping raw kernels should not be causing a burn to set off a fire alarm. Did you misstate the amount of time, or were you reheating already-popped corn, or what? In any case, you ought not to be leaving anything unattended that’s going to have a potential burn. Especially in a hotel.

Fire safety needs to be the most critical aspect of running any hotel. This doesn’t seem to be well understood here. This is a great learning opportunity. (Guests should know this stuff when they register.)

EdMayhew's avatar

Well I can’t say if they will fire you or not, but I must say that if anything like this happens again, don’t let people know it’s a false alarm. They must evacuate and you must not switch off the alarm. It’s unlikely, but what if you burned your popcorn, and it was actually the fire tearing through the service area that had set of the alarm? You’d have switched off the alarm and told people to stay in their rooms, and right now you’d be worrying about a hell of a lot more than your job.

If you’re that worried, you might want to re read your employment contract and first of all see if they can actually legally fire you.


Val123's avatar

Ah. I feel for you! We’ve all had our share of mess ups like that. It’s just going to be up to your boss. It may depend on how long you’ve been there,and if you have an other-wise accident free history….

TheJoker's avatar

If it’s any consolation, on my third day of working at Mercedes-Benz I dropped a flag pole on an EClass, only caused about £2000 worth of damage… they didn’t fire me.

TheJoker's avatar

@Val123 Hahaha, yeh, I think I said something very similar :)

Judi's avatar

We hired a guy once who on his second day on the job took a corner a little fast in the company van and spilled 2 , 5 gallon buckets of paint all over the back of the van which then dribbled 4 blocks down the street until he drove into our parking lot. My husband drove in, saw him cleaning up and had imediate empathy for how he must have been feeling. That was about 15 years ago and he still works for us.
When you said you were an auditor I thought you had made an accounting mistake. That might get a person fired quicker than burnt popcorn!
The only way this should get you fired is if they are unhappy with your work as an auditor and are looking for an excuse to get rid of you.

Val123's avatar

@TheJoker I bet you did!!

Please let us know what the outcome is….

TheJoker's avatar

@Val123 Well, the car had already been sold so we had to fix it asap… I didn’t live that one down for quite some time!

Val123's avatar

@TheJoker Wull…I certainly won’t forget it! I’m sure I’ll find reasons to bring it up again to you again sometime! MUHAHAHAHHAHHAHAHAHAHA!! :)

thriftymaid's avatar

If you are in an at-will employment state you can be terminated for no reason. If you get fired for “no reason” you’ll know what the reason was.

TheJoker's avatar

@Val123 Hehe, thank you… so kind ;)

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther