Q: I work for a 30-person company. Many of us eat lunch at the office. The problem is that the firm’s owner often raids the fridge, then leaves a dollar in place of what she took! Even if we put our names on items, she appropriates them. She doesn’t pick on any one person or group: top sales people are as vulnerable as the company receptionist. The owner doesn’t react well to criticism or suggestions. Any ideas?
A: Always pick your battles carefully with any boss — especially a difficult one. First, decide if it’s worth talking to her at all. Next, discuss with your co-workers the idea of approaching her about the problem. If you’re all in agreement, pick a time when it’s quiet at the office and ask to meet with her as a group. The goal is to resolve the situation without annoying her, so take pains to avoid being confrontational: “Mrs. Food-Stealer, there’s an issue we want to discuss with you because it’s making all of us uncomfortable. It’s about our lunches…”