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.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Shuswap cabin owner hopes to improve B.C.-Alberta relations

Alberta resident redrafts response to CSRD request to stay home

Single-lane traffic on Highway 1 in Salmon Arm due to aging watermain

City says goodbye to cast-iron main while moving it off highway, into park

Snapshot: Distanced dancing in Salmon Arm

Friends use picnic shelter at Blackburn Park for safe practice

Okanagan film society screening for scholarships

North Okanagan students pursuing creative arts can apply for $2,000 bursaries

Douglas fir trees in Salmon Arm face attack from bark beetle

Online pamphlet can help residents learn how to protect their trees

Enderby’s drive-in not safe from top doc’s 50-car limit

Starlight Drive-In opened with reduced capacity, COVID-19 safety measures in place

Parking lot patios a go in Vernon

Council votes in favour of allowing businesses to expand commercial space into on-street parking spots

Petition seeks to clean up Okanagan forests ‘carpeted’ with shotgun shells

Penticton man says making shot-gun shells refundable would create cleaner forests

Kelowna’s main drag will be closed to vehicles this summer

Kelowna’s Bernard Avenue will be a pedestrian-only roadway from June 29 through the Labour Day long weekend

Vernon gym knocked out by COVID-19

9Round Fitness in Vernon Square Mall owners announce permanent closure of facility

Kelowna’s Homebase Baseball Tournament cancelled

A live auction will still take place to raise funds for Joeanna’s House

Kelowna General Hospital Foundation launches fundraising initiative to support local health care

The initiative also highlights workers at Kelowna General Hospital

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

Most Read