Feature

'Desk-bombing' is not a crime

And more of the week's best financial insight

Here are three of the week's top pieces of financial insight, gathered from around the web:

'Desk-bombing' is not a crime

How did stopping by a colleague's desk with a question get labeled as a terrible workplace faux pas? asked Pilita Clark in the Financial Times. I heard recently about a man who had been "vainly emailing a woman he worked with to get something approved." A colleague said, "Why don't you just go over and ask her to approve it?" The aghast man replied, "I'm not going to just go and desk-bomb her." But "since when has something as innocuous as asking someone an unsolicited question at work become so offensive?" In the office, there seems to be a growing "intolerance of interruption." Fine, people wearing headphones can be left alone. Otherwise, "all are more or less fair bombing game." It's way more efficient than emailing, "and usually more enjoyable." 

Reining in job-training charges

Lawmakers and regulators are exploring ways to thwart the rise in training-repayment agreements, said Diane Bartz in Reuters. According to the Cornell Survey Research Institute, "nearly 10 percent of American workers surveyed in 2020" were subject to a provision by their employer charging them for training if they quit their jobs. Such agreements, which critics have dubbed "training-repayment agreement provisions" or TRAPs, "have been around in a small way since the 1980s, primarily in high-wage positions where workers received valuable training." But lately, TRAPs have become more widespread in industries like health care, saddling workers with employer-driven debt. Nurses say they are often not told about the repayment requirement before they start, and the "instruction often repeats what they learned in school."

Watch out for foreign ATM fees

Pay attention to the ATM machine you're using when traveling overseas, said Christopher Elliott in The Washington Post. In Athens this summer, my brother withdrew 1,000 euros from an ATM and was charged $1,219. That's because the company, Euronet, charged "a 13 percent markup from the going exchange rate." Such hidden surcharges are not uncommon, and come on top of your bank's charges, which can run up to $5 plus 3 percent of the withdrawal (you can ask your bank to waive those). Stick to bank ATMs, or try one of the multicurrency debit cards offered by apps like Revolut or Wise, which will automatically "convert your money at the more favorable interbank rate."

This article was first published in the latest issue of The Week magazine. If you want to read more like it, you can try six risk-free issues of the magazine here.

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