My manager recently borrowed $10 from me. It’s not a big deal, but I know
I’ll never see that money again. I’ve loaned her money before—and I’m sure she’s not intentionally flaking—but it’s starting to add up! Is there a polite way to get her to stop using me for petty cash?
Your boss has completely crossed the line and is, indeed, using you as her personal A.T.M. What nerve! But, in all fairness, you did let her get away with it again and again. As a therapist might say, you’ve been “enabling” her. On the one hand I understand why you felt pressure to help her out. After all, she’s your boss and you want to please. But, as you’ve unfortunately realized, this is a very expensive way of keeping your boss happy. It’s also quite unprofessional on her part.
Whenever You Lend Money—to Anyone—Plan not to Get It Back
You’re probably right about not getting the money you already lent back. In the future, whenever you lend money to anyone (whether it’s a friend, relative or a grubby co-worker), be prepared to kiss the money goodbye.Experts Jeanne Fleming and Leonard Schwarz, authors of Isn’t It Their Turn to Pick Up the Check?, ran a survey and found that a third of personal loans are never repaid – not a single dime. Before lending anyone money, think about whether you can realistically and emotionally afford to make the loan a gift, because there’s a good chance that’s what it will turn out to be. This applies even in the case of your somewhat intimidating boss. If there’s a chance you’ll end up short this month if you don’t get the money back—don’t give in.
I Know It’s Awkward, But Just Say No
In your case, the good news is that it’s not too late to put an end to your boss’ freeloading ways. Here’s my advice: The next time your boss hits you up for some cash, tell her your wallet’s dry at the moment. If she asks for a larger sum (meaning that she might expect you to give more than you’d have in cash anyway), then reply with, “Sorry, but I’m running on empty this week. I just paid rent and things are a bit tight.” Don’t worry about appearing broke. After all, she’s the one asking you for money. If she asks again, give a similar excuse. If your boss is an earthling, she’ll get the picture soon enough. And, who knows? In the process, you might also remind her that you deserve a raise.
And, for what it’s worth: You don’t happen to tote a Birkin to work and order sashimi each day for lunch, do you? Maybe the boss thinks you’re independently loaded? I’m just trying to see where she gets off thinking you can afford to foot her lunch bill. Even if you could afford it, that’s not enough reason for her to take advantage of you. Be proud of your finances and protect your hard-earned money.