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

Forecasters promote avalanche safety awareness

Avalanche Canada advising backcountry enthusiasts to get proper training and equipment.

Highway conditions less than ideal this morning

Limited visibility, standing water, slippery sections: DriveBC report

From high schooler to new business owner

She may only be 19-years-old, but Zoe Simard already has a successful business.

Todd Stone campaigns in Cranbrook

BC Liberal leadership hopeful makes pitch to local supporters.

The Rockets winless streak continues on

The Golden Rockets continued their 19 game winless streak, dropping both games this past weekend.

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

David Cassidy, teen idol and ‘Partridge Family’ star, dies at 67

Cassidy announced earlier this year he had been diagnosed with dementia

Vigil held for woman whose remains were found on Shuswap farm

Family and friends remember Vernon resident Traci Genereaux and along with five other missing women

Brewers create anti-fascist ale

Not For Nazis Nut Brown Ale made in the Shuswap will be ready in time for Christmas

LETTER: Jumbo Valley is part of Ktunaxa territorial claim

Ktunaxa Nation Council responds to Tom Fletcher column

3,800-plant grow-op busted on First Nation reserve

Three men face charges after RCMP bust a large drug operation on the Soowahlie Reserve near Chilliwack

VIDEO: Government approves funding of $750,000 drug for B.C. woman

Approval comes one day after province announces funding for Soliris on a case-by-case basis

B.C. boy’s social media bid to get levidrome in the Oxford dictionary goes viral

‘It’s been five weeks and has totally blown up today.’

Whistler venues could see 2026 Olympic action

Calgary is looking to cut down on costs

Most Read