Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I live in a remote rural area. Good jobs are hard to come by. Even bad
low-paying jobs are hard to come by. I’ve worked for “Bob” for three
years. He’s lazy, disorganized, and not very smart. He tries to sell
financial planning services. Fortunately for his prospective clients the
company whose products he franchises have worked out a lot of the
substance, so he cannot really do too much damage, other than
through his natural ineptitude and procrastination.


He needs me. He also lies to me, doesn’t pay me on time, and generally fails to
appreciate that everything I do is the only reason he’s hanging on by a
thread. I’ve generated supplemental income online (re-selling books
and being a long-distance executive assistant). It pays about a third of
what I make when Bob does pay me. My husband is working, but in
this economy everything is fragile. Yesterday Bob told me there’s no
money to pay me this month, and gave me a long list of chores to
accomplish. I want to organize the place so that even he can’t screw it
up and then walk out.

Dear Deserter:
Far from abandoning him it sounds like you’ve put up with too much
for too long. Unless you signed an agreement that says you’re working
only for commission, Bob may be violating state labor laws. I’m not an
attorney, but in-house organizational assistant jobs are rarely
commission based. I suspect you’d have a case if you went to the
state’s Bureau of Labor and Industries, something I’d advise you do, at
least to find out what’s legal and what’s not. You might be eligible for
unemployment even if you do walk, if he doesn’t regularly pay you for
hours worked.

As for organizing him, I leave him with a long memo about what’s
where, status of various clients and projects, with links to the
appropriate files. Create a document you can show anyone as an
example of your work, and to demonstrate how competent you were,                               how well you served him, and how if he does fail, it’s by his own
hands, not yours. Devote your energies to building up your won
businesses. Identifying ways to earn money on the internet is a great
way to beat the vicissitudes of the local labor market. If you’re as good
as you say, you should find a way to survive and thrive.