DEAR HARRIETTE: I was hired by company that has offices in New Jersey and in California. There's a weeklong training program that takes place in the California office, and I live in New Jersey. I assumed the company would pay for my trip; however, that is not the case. The company told me it would reimburse me for my two-week trip, but it would take three months to receive payment. The trip will cost $4,000, and I do not know if I can do it -- I do not have that kind of money to spend for training. I really need the job, but I do not know where the extra money is going to come from to make the trip. I am afraid to tell the company about my current financial situation. -- Rock and a Hard Place, West Orange, N.J.
DEAR ROCK AND A HARD PLACE: You must speak with someone to learn about company policy regarding company expenses. Some companies require employees to pay for company travel and expenses out of their own pockets as standard procedure. You need to find out if this is true for your company. If you do not believe you have the means to front business expenses and you expect that they will accrue as a matter of course in your new job, you must let the company know that you need different terms. Otherwise, you could easily start a job -- with a loan from a loved one -- only to be unable to afford to stay there.