Q. I work in a recently opened second shop of a small business. When there was only one shop, we all received paychecks on the 15th and...

Share story

Q. I work in a recently opened second shop of a small business. When there was only one shop, we all received paychecks on the 15th and last day of each month. Now the owner is giving the employees at our shop paychecks one to three days late. How can we point out this cavalier behavior from the owner?

A. You can point out the problem by dropping the label of “cavalier” when you talk to the owner. When people do things that upset or inconvenience us in the workplace, it’s tempting to decide they are thoughtless jerks. Most people don’t think through their options and then decide to harm us. Many people just don’t think.

Of course, it’s critical that an employer hold up his end of an employment bargain by paying you on time. It’s also completely understandable that everyone in your shop is upset.

To approach your boss more calmly, consider reasons he might be late with paychecks other than having an arrogant attitude. Is he overwhelmed with the duties of running a second shop? Did his accountant recently quit? Is he heavily in debt?

Be aware there are many reasons he’s defaulting on his commitment to deliver paychecks punctually. If you accuse him of haughty insensitivity, your paychecks may be even later. If you can give him a reason that makes room for his humanity, the conversation will go more smoothly.

Find a time you can talk privately with the owner. Say simply, “I know you know I count on my paycheck arriving promptly on the 15th and last day of the month. In the future, should I stop by this shop on these dates to pick up my salary?” Don’t try to represent your entire shop; just state your needs clearly and simply.

The only way to know what’s really up with the late paychecks is to state what you want and make it easy for your owner to comply.

If your owner pays you late after you’ve chatted, he may have a financial crisis, not a sensitivity problem. In that case, you better start looking for a new job before your paycheck isn’t just late but doesn’t come at all.

The last word(s)

Q. I’m a young female executive. Male clients frequently think I’m the secretary and ask me for coffee. Is there a graceful response?

A. Yes, say, “Let me get our administrative assistant to get that for you.” Introduce yourself and sit down.

Daneen Skube, Ph.D., is an executive coach, trainer, therapist, speaker and author of “Interpersonal Edge: Breakthrough Tools for Talking to Anyone, Anywhere, About Anything” (Hay House, 2006). She can be reached at 1420 N.W. Gilman Blvd., No. 2845, Issaquah, WA 98027-7001; by e-mail at interpersonaledge@comcast.net; or at www.interpersonaledge.com. Sorry, no personal replies. To read other Daneen Skube columns, go to www.seattletimes.com/daneenskube