The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Business

January 24, 2014

Watercooler:Helping a colleague who's homeless, not hopeless

Q: A competent junior co-worker recently confided to me that he has been living out of his car since his lease ended a month ago. He has acquired credit card debt while being underpaid and working long hours for two years at our 50-person organization. His finances are reaching a breaking point. He has resolved to give up on Washington and move back to his parents' home if he does not receive a raise. I think he could get a raise if someone higher up knew his situation, but the prospect for raises this year is dim at our organization. We don't work together directly, so it's hard for me to lobby on his behalf.

I hate seeing my friend and co-worker driven to this point. He has refused all my offers of help so far and doesn't want me to tell anyone. Do I have an obligation to say (or not say) something to someone at my organization? I know this is personal, but I feel my organization should know that a staff member has been driven to homelessness by his paltry compensation.

A: I'll understand if you feel the urge to climb onto the CEO's desk and demand justice. But I'm not sure your friend would appreciate your revealing what he probably considers a humiliating situation. Also, you might not persuade management to give him a significant raise, especially if there are other, equally deserving junior staffers scraping by at his same pay level.

But you can still help as a friend, colleague and mentor without betraying his confidence, making him into a charity case or getting too entangled in a personal crisis that may be more complicated than his net income.

As a friend, see if anyone you know is looking to sublet a room. You can also treat the guy to an occasional meal and a sympathetic ear.

Text Only
Business
  • Balancing Act: How much is your time worth? Consider outsourcing some tasks

    Todd Paton has a booming business getting customers noticed on the Web. One tool he uses is generating online press releases to build brand awareness and create links that will send traffic to a customer’s website. But Paton, owner of Paton Internet Marketing, acknowledges that writing the releases is not his strong suit. Rather than spend his time doing it, he hires out the task.

    July 23, 2014

  • The Color of Money: No easy way to get out of debt

    Many people who are deeply in debt are desperate for a quick fix. They ask the question: What can I do to get out of debt?

    July 21, 2014

  • Watercooler: When to speak up if you see problems down the line

    Q: Our organization has hired a new director. I am one of a number of division heads; above us, there's the associate director, and above him is the director. The associate director is feared and disliked for his duplicity and dictatorial nature, though few have come forward because of his vindictiveness.

    July 18, 2014

  • Career Coach: Bringing a purpose-driven spirit to work

    Increasingly, religious beliefs and practices of employees are becoming more evident in the workplace. Religious diversity and concepts of spirituality are more prevalent in organizational settings.

    July 18, 2014

  • Ask the Mompreneur: It’s best to farm out your payroll

    When my husband and I hired our first employee at our Web development company, we had it easy when it came to doing payroll.

    July 17, 2014

  • Protecting against unnecessary losses

    QUESTION: I run a small bar and grill which is open 7 days a week and have to rely on others for some of the shifts. How can I ensure employees have not become my partners?

    July 17, 2014

  • A checklist for keeping you focused at work

    A quick check of Facebook and next thing you know, a half-hour’s passed. Start chatting with a co-worker and suddenly 20 minutes is gone and the report you were supposed to finish by lunch is late.
    Workplace distractions are everywhere, especially in an age of social media and open-plan offices. In the face of so much temptation, accomplishing what you’re paid to do can be tough.

    July 16, 2014

  • It could be time for a career coach

    Need a little help figuring out your next career move?
    If you’re putting in the hours and still not seeing the rewards, feeling undervalued or simply striving to be more successful, it may be time to hire a career coach.

    July 16, 2014

  • Your Office Coach: Turn to boss for help with disgruntled underling

    QUESTION: When I joined this company a few weeks ago, I discovered that the person who previously held my position is now working for me. “Sarah” obviously resents my presence and frequently says I don’t have the authority to manage her, even though I clearly do. Her negativity has made my job much more difficult.

    July 15, 2014

  • You are not trusted

    If it seems like employers don’t trust employees - well, they don’t.

    July 15, 2014

Business Video
Stocks