Office Politics 101: Neither a lender nor borrower be

A co-worker borrowed money and won’t pay it back. What should I do?

Q: A co-worker in another office borrowed $500 from me a few months ago.  I’ve Emailed him and left messages a number of times but I’ve heard nothing.  I’d like the money back right away.  What can I do?

A: Your situation is unfortunately not that uncommon.  It would be more accurate, I think, to make the point that you made the loan rather than stressing he borrowed it.  It was your decision.

My guess is that he made a rather dramatic appeal to you – perhaps based on some personal or family tragedy – and promised to pay you back in a matter of days.

The months have passed and now you regret lending him the money even though your motives were honorable, even admirable.  You may even be wondering whether he fabricated his plea in order to persuade you to make the loan.

You might be surprised to learn that he could have convinced others in the company to provide similar financial support although, even if true, it obviously would provide little comfort for you.

You’ll need to be convincing in making your appeal to collect your money.  He must pay his mortgage or rent to stay in his home, and is obliged to keep up with his monthly utilities.  His lifestyle, however, will not change if he fails to pay you back.

Emails, text messages and phone calls will not influence him. (“Delete” is a very easy button to press.)  You must meet him in person at the earliest opportunity.

Plan to drop by his office unannounced as he almost certainly will feel uncomfortable meeting you.  A colleague may informally tell you when he is available.

Your presence – your body language, tone of voice and eye contact – will have a significant impact on persuading him that he must pay you back immediately.

Professional collectors will often employ silence – noticeable gaps between appeals – as a technique to menace errant borrowers; you may also use this technique to capture his attention.

Give him the opportunity to explain but request the full amount.  Allowing him to “think about it” or “get back to you,” should not be acceptable.  Your message: he can make things right only be paying back the loan immediately.

You’ll need to be forceful and even uncharacteristically aggressive to collect your money.  Show him a measure of respect but ensure your meeting is successful through persuasive body language and a cogent demand for full payment.

Submit your confidential questions relating to work and office life here.

 

Just Posted

Holdover fires burning near Telegraph Creek

BC Wildfire Service assures residents of a proactive plan heading into wildfire season

Northwest entrepreneurs pitch their plans for cash prizes

ThriveNorth announces 12 finalists in this year’s business challenge

Gas prices spike in northern B.C. ahead of the long weekend

Fuel went up 17 cents overnight in Prince Rupert

Cyclist braking stigma on addiction from coast to coast

Mathew Fee aims at world record for longest distance on BMX bike while sharing his story of recovery

Hotcakes

On April 6 there was a community pancake breakfast held at the… Continue reading

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

Northwest B.C. leaders divided over oil tanker ban

Senate hearings in Prince Rupert and Terrace show Bill C-48 is at a crossroads

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

Foreign national arrested in connection to thefts at YVR

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Police pursue pesky porker on Vancouver Island

‘This was allegedly not the pig’s first escape’

Westjet tries again to dismiss proposed class-action lawsuit alleging discrimination

Former flight attendant claims airline broke contractual promise to create harassment-free workplace

Man airlifted to hospital after apparent hunting incident in East Kootenay

The man was in stable condition when he was flown out of Fairmont Hot Springs to a Calgary hospital

Most Read