Dear Dr. Spilchuk…
Short Money on Your Paycheck?
Dear Dr. Spilchuk,
I am nearing the end of my second year at my school. I almost chose not to return to the school after last year because of all of the difficulties I encountered with my pay, but the summer tends to soften one and my Head Master promised the problems would not continue, so I returned. I have regretted that situation continuously.
Basically, the problem is that the School Accountant has shorted me on my pay almost monthly. This has required me to go toe to toe with him almost monthly about my finances. He has also put my pay in my account late, often weeks after others have received theirs. As well, he has continuously overtaxed my pay and I have had to do a lot of paperwork, at least bi-monthly to recuperate my losses. I think what bothers me the most is that he will not accept that he has made mistakes and continues to make the same mistakes. (In this country, nationals are above the law, it seems!) He has even lied to me about how and why these things have occurred.
The situation started with small things the first year I was at this school, but has now escalated past annoying to sheer aggravation and bewilderment because I feel that I am being targeted. While other teachers have had some problems, none have been to the extent of mine. I finally stormed into the accountant’s office, grabbed a huge book from his shelf when talking did not suffice, and threw it on his desk to get his attention (I think he got it because the sound was deafening!). I then demanded that he manage my financial affairs competently or I would take him to court!
I think I will be called into the Director’s office over this situation. What is your best advice? Do I simply leave my contract and get away from the aggravation or wait to see what the Head Master has to say and stick it out.
My advice is that you pre-empt the Director coming to you by going to him/her with your list of complaints. Start by sitting down and making a cumulative report of all of the little, and big things that have gone wrong with your pay over the time you have been in your school. (Hopefully you have kept a small journal recording these situations. If not, do your best to timeline incidents.) If you have gone to your Principal/Head Master or Director in the past for assistance regarding these pay inconsistencies, note those occasions in your report as well. Ask for a written response from the Director, and wait to see what transpires over the next week.
I would not suggest that you walk out of your contract at this late date or over this type of situation. You have only three short months left to go. Staying ensures that you fulfill your requirements to your employer, thereby making you a more desirable candidate through ISS. As well, if you walk now, you will be paying for your own return airlines ticket and shipping, and that can amount to a fair amount. I might consider having my pay sent to a bank in my home country from this point on, however, as well as transferring the bulk of what I have in my local account so that my money is safely where I can get at it when I return home.
Janice, you have said, in spades, what you wanted to say to the School Accountant, and good for you! I believe this will end your continued problems, particularly if you follow-up with the Director or Principal in the manner I have outlined.