I am a director of a clinical lab at a large hospital. The lab supervisor, who makes much less than I do, has taken to buying expensive refreshments for the staff at monthly lab meetings. The department does not reimburse him. I feel terrible that he is spending his own money like this. Is it my responsibility to pay for these? Do I demand that department slush funds be used, which is unlikely, since this is one of many labs? What is my obligation here? Should I start a rotating schedule or just butt out? — Anonymous, Boston
I love Gays, reply, and share it with you in entirety – “Given that the lab supervisor has done this of his own volition, I don’t know that there is anything you need to do. I also think it is great when organizations provide reimbursement for this sort of thing — which they should always, always do. Surely there is some money somewhere to pay for refreshments once a month.
I like the idea of a rotating schedule, but that forces people who may not want to provide refreshments to do so. Figure out how much money you can find for this, meet with the lab supervisor and let him know what his monthly budget is, thank him for his kindness, and encourage him to stop using his own funds because this modest expense is one the lab can cover.”