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home : columns : dear harriette February 19, 2020

12/26/2019 10:14:00 AM
Employee forced to pay for business travel

DEAR HARRIETTE: I recently started a job that involves a lot of travel. I was given a company credit card but was told that I have to pay for my own food and charge the company back for a small percentage of it. Basically, they provide us with a tiny per diem. Worse than that, though, is that on my third trip out, I discovered that my company credit card didn't work because the company hadn't paid the bill. I ended up having to use my personal credit card. I am still waiting to be reimbursed. How can I address this with my boss? I need this job, but I can't afford to fund my travel. I'm on the road several times a month. What can I say or do to correct this? -- Can't Float the Job

DEAR CAN'T FLOAT THE JOB: Request a private meeting with your boss to explain the situation. Be honest and state that you cannot afford to pay for your travel and be reimbursed at a later time. Point out how frequent the travel is for your company. Be strong and clear when you tell your boss how enthusiastic you are about being on the road and doing a good job, but complete the thought by asking for the credit card debt to be handled so that you are able to go back out there. You may want to ask for your room to be pre-paid in the future so that you avoid having the same problem.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I saw your advice to the lady who wanted to quit wearing high heels, and I thought it was very good advice. Unfortunately, it is too late for me. I, too, am short and started wearing 5- or 6-inch stiletto heels every day at 18. I worked in retail for many, many years and was on my feet all day long in my heels.

I am now 56 years old, and I am stuck in high heels, despite the fact they hurt. My back, legs and feet have numerous problems. My Achilles tendon has tightened so much that I am stuck in high heels and must wear them whenever I stand, otherwise I stand on my tiptoes. I can't put my heels on the ground anymore. A doctor told me I would need surgery, but my health insurance will only cover pennies on the dollar.

Please warn other women not to get too caught up in high heels, and if they do, stretch their bodies to maintain flexibility. I don't know what I'm going to do when I get into my 70s or 80s and have to totter around in 5-inch heels! -- Permanently Stuck in Heels and Scared

DEAR PERMANENTLY STUCK IN HEELS AND SCARED: Thank you for your cautionary tale. I do hope that other women out there who find themselves in a similar predicament will take heed.

For you, check with teaching hospitals in your area. Sometimes, these hospitals will accept patients at much lower fees in exchange for allowing the students to observe or operate on the patients themselves. I know several people who have had successful surgeries performed at such medical establishments for free or close to free -- for everything from dental surgery to cancer surgery. You can trust them.

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