Dear Corporate Governess
After reading so much about government officials and their excessive travel expenses–and how staff didn't question them–I've become concerned about my manager's lavish flying habits. We're a private firm. Do I share responsibility for his wasting company money?
– Mason, Toronto
Yes, and given what you know about the abuse, you may even be complicit. But I'd discuss your concerns with him before going over his head. Hopefully you'll tweak his conscience enough to change his bad habits–if not by exposing his shameless mini-bar bills, then by provoking the thought of forensic accountants pawing through his receipts. However, before condemning him to flying baggage next to a crated Pomeranian, consider what you call "lavish." Is he really out of line with your company's travel and spending policies? Business or even first-class may be justified for someone on a long flight who's expected to deliver a speech to a sea of British bankers or be fresh for a Hong Kong CEO at daybreak. On the other hand, chartering a jet to Paris and inviting a buddy along is not.
If change isn't forthcoming, review the chain of command. Most organizations require a senior executive to approve plans. It could be there's been a lack of consistency to company guidelines or commitment to follow-through by senior leaders. Flagrant abuses might put your boss in the firing line, and that's not a journey you want to make with him.
Dear Corporate Governess
The tech company I work for is making recruitment of women a big deal. I don't think that's rational, since they may not be suited to the industry (it's not just me; a lot of my male colleagues feel that way too). What's your take?
–Stan T., Edmonton
What's irrational is your notion that half the population doesn't belong in tech. As women invade your alpha-male territory, expect them to bring far more than better style to the industry. (What's with the T-shirt/hoodie thing anyway?) Need I remind you that women are increasingly consumers of tech, so who better to design products for them? What worries me is the new hires won't be made welcome in that "bro" culture of yours, and that would be a shame.
I asked Jen Evans, the co-founder of SqueezeCMM (a Toronto marketing measurement platform) who co-founded her first tech company in 2002, what it's been like for her. Although she's encountered sexism–and finds it hard to imagine many women in tech who haven't–she says her experiences working with men have been 95 per cent positive. But Evans admits that she isn't typical. "It is changing as generations change but not necessarily because more women are entering the field," she says. "We need tech leaders who understand the challenges of single moms or that women in isolated communities can be transformed by connecting to online communities." So, Stan, forget about large-breasted avatars and get to work with real women.