Hard Times Right Now for a CRA

I received my formal performance review last week and an overall rating of “Exceeds Expectations” with some great input from past Project Leaders/peers and highlights of some of my more notable accomplishments in 2008. I was unprepared for how well I ranked on my metrics so I will keep a closer eye on that in 2009 (we are measured, among other things, on timely report submissions and billable time…my productivity metric was well over 100% whereas we are only required to be at 86% so that was really a little too high for a good work/life balance).

Gas Prices
With gas prices like these I feel
like I am working for peanuts.
Times are tough financially.

I am obviously thrilled with the review and so delighted that my hard work is being recognized. Unfortunately, we just received an organizational-wide announcement today that there will be significant restructuring before mid-May and they have suspended all bonuses, promotions, and salary increases for the entire company indefinitely. I am saddened by this news since I joined the company mid-review cycle in 2007 so I have not had a salary increase in over a year and a half of loyal service. This coupled with a significant increase in my cost of living leaves me in an uncomfortable position (gas prices in CA hit record highs within the past 12 months, in San Francisco our sales tax has just increased considerably, etc.).

Naturally, this feels like a good time to update my resume just in case so I’ve been circulating it around my network and trusted connections for input so I am prepared to search for a new position as needed. I’ve recently started a really exciting new assignment in the past several months so I am hopeful that my regional CRA II position at the CRO will not be redundant but you just never know. My plan is to stay enthusiastic to the best of my abilities and keep my ear to the ground. I’ll keep you all posted here.

About The Author

The Lead CRA

Nadia started The Lead CRA blog in 2007. She is now lead author for ClinOps Toolkit. Nadia is currently working as a Clinical Program Manager at a small specialty pharmaceutical company in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can reach Nadia via email at [email protected] anytime.


  • The Lead CRA

    The Lead CRA

    February 21, 2011

    Hi Siew, Just wanted to direct you to a relevant post I did a few years ago called “How to break in to the industry” (link). I hope by now you have found your way to an exciting new position as a CRA.

  • Anonymous

    May 13, 2009

    Are you considering a move from CA? You can live better on less elsewhere. Consider options if you can and are able to relocate. CA is likely going to get worse faster than the rest of the nation. Great weather though, right??? Best of luck to you!!!

  • Hi,Nadia!
    I am working in Beijing city as a CRA.
    Thank you for your blog, I learned a lot from it,and I will keep reading it regularly.
    This hard time will definitely pass,please cheer up.

  • siew

    May 1, 2009

    Hi Nadia, I just came across your blog and think it’s really cool! I’m very interested in clinical research monitoring but it seems very hard to get my foot in the door. I’ve a PhD in molecular biology and have recently completed an online Clinical Research Professional Development Program with Kriger Research Center and doing a web-based internship at the moment. I’m hoping to get a clinical study coordinator position before breaking into the CRA role. Do you have any advice for someone like me who doesn’t have any clinical work experience to get an opportunity in clinical research monitoring?

    Many thanks,

  • Mari

    April 29, 2009

    hi nadia,
    as a new monitor i wonder if you can provide me with a monitoring visit checklist .

  • Hi Nadia,

    I follow your blog regularly and I should say this is a beautiful site for all CRAs’.
    Offlate, recession has its toll in every industry. Most of the companies have the situation as of yours and unfortunately, I am also in the group of those who did not receive bonus and hikes.
    Experts say that the situation should change in the coming six months. Hopefully, it does..

    However, we will love what we do and do what we love.


  • The Lead CRA

    The Lead CRA

    April 24, 2009

    Hi, Vanessa! Thank you for your comment and for your readership. I don’t update more than a few times a month (you know how busy the life of a CRA is) but I would be grateful if you would keep coming back and ask questions or leave comments if there are topics you would like me to expand on.

    I spent time in Stockholm in 2002 (took a charter boat from Helsinki, Finland) when I was traveling Europe. It was in the spring and the air was crisp and delicious. I went to Skansen and I stayed in a hostel that was an old jail. I would return instantly and want to check out Denmark, too!

  • Vanessa

    April 24, 2009

    Hi! My name is Vanessa and I live in Stockholm, Sweden, a cold but beautiful country in Northern Europe. I just found your blog and wanted to say congratulations for so much great information about the CRA job… I will keep reading you for sure!

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