Ask Jack: Handicapped Stall, No-Contract Work + Job of the Week

restroom sign

Kent explains:

I'm a disabled guy in a large office setting. In the restroom on my floor, there is one handicapped stall and one other stall. If only one stall has its door closed, it is usually the handicapped stall. Is there any way to politely ask others to use the non-handicapped stall so the handicapped one is available to me? Or should I simply wait my turn?

Kent, luckily for you, I'm becoming a bit of an expert on workplace restroomissues. I have a crazy theory on this one: Maybe it's not that guys are purposely choosing the handicapped stall first. But perhaps when they do get in there, in the relatively "luxurious" amount of space, they unconsciously seem to... uh... settle in. Relax. Linger. Regardless, let's try to nip this in the, you know, place where we nip things. I'm guessing you want to be less confrontational than the guy in that Curb Your Enthusiasm episode. So I recommend taping a sign on the stall door: "PLEASE USE OTHER STALL FIRST. [perhaps draw an arrow] SOMEONE NEEDS THIS ONE. THANKS." I think that often, people aren't trying to be rude; their brains just need a little kickstart. So a simple reminder might make a big difference. After all, when you're rushing to a bathroom stall, etiquette is not likely the first thing on your mind.

Rhoda says:

I'm a freelance graphic designer. A friend in my neighborhood hired me to design a brochure for her real-estate business. A contract wasn't offered, but because we are friendly, I didn't think to insist on one. Well, long story short, I'm now having a hard time getting paid the agreed-upon amount. What should I do?

Not to be too flippant, Rhoda, but the thing you should do here is: Learn an important lesson. Next time, get the contract. it can be stressful enough working with friends or family. So it's best to deal with these people as you would with any other professional contact -- not any better or worse. I'm reminded of a recent interview I heard with Jersey-Boy Bob Gaudio of the Four Seasons. Legend has it, he and Frankie Valli agreed to their terms on a handshake and never made it more formal than that. The interviewer asked if this was still the case. Yes, yes, Gaudio insisted... and then quietly admitted that a little paperwork may have been generated to back up their agreement. Life's pretty easy when things are going smoothly. But when troubles arise (spoiler alert: they always do), it's nice to have some rules to refer to.

In the short term, Rhoda, be polite but blunt: "I'm working on my finances and was just wondering if there was an update on payment for that project." Then put on some Four Seasons music; it'll cheer you right up.

Last week's Ask Jack questions

Do you have a work-related question for Jack? Write it in the comments below (better answers to this week's questions are also welcome!) or tweet it @AOLJobs with the hashtag #AskJack.

Jack's Job of the Week

Rhoda wouldn't have had that problem if she was a contract specialist. If you are, apply to be a Senior Contract Analyst for Aerojet Rocketdyne in Sacramento, California. You'll negotiate, administer, and monitor big contracts with government agencies and major firms. Plus, the words "jet" and "rocket" are in the company's name; how cool is that?!? If this is not your area of expertise, no worries: Do your own search on AOL Jobs right now. It's easy, free... and there's no contract!

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