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"Theft is theft. It doesn't matter if it is money or 4 slices of American cheese."

The story "Being suspended from work doesn't have to mean losing your financial footing" from the September / October edition of The Quarter Roll reminded me of a meeting I had at work once. My boss was sitting across from me and wanted an employment termination conducted that afternoon. It had been brought to my attention by another manager that someone had witnessed an employee from my department stealing 4 slices of American cheese out of the common refrigerator in the company's lunch room. Apparently, someone told my boss as well, because he came into my office as this story was being told to me. He was very upset. He wanted the employee to be fired.

The other manager and I looked at each other. Yes, someone's job was on the line for 4 slices of American cheese. My position was that I found it harsh to take away someone's livelihood over 4 slices of cheese.  I suggested that the employee be given a chance to pay for the cheese and apologize to the cheese owner, or be given a work suspension.

My boss took great offense to these suggestions stating, "Theft is theft. It doesn't matter if it is money or 4 slices of cheese." He wanted to debate with me the error in my thinking. In proving his point to me and the other manager he covered the religious and political reasons why stealing cheese was wrong. He told me that he knew this employee had diabetes and was poor, and theorized that perhaps she stole the cheese for financial or health reasons, but that didn't make it right. It was apparent where this meeting was going, and In the end I was instructed to fire the employee. I hated to see someone lose their job, and thought about ways someone could preserve their financial well-being during a time like this. That led to this story from September 2010.

If you find yourself in a position where your income is temporarily reduced because of a job loss or suspension from work, think about using your time in a manner that will sustain or improve your overall financial position. Here are a few examples.

-Get a temporary job.
-Increase your home value with curb appeal.
-Command a larger salary with new or enhanced skills.
-Use your trade to earn on your own.
-Weatherize your home.

The Quarter Roll is published to provide personal insights and opinions on everyday ways of saving and managing money, budgeting, and reducing debt. The Quarter Roll does not give professional accounting, legal, or investing counsel. The ideas, examples, and advice presented on this site are solely the opinion of the authors based on his or her personal experiences. All photos courtesy of The Quarter Roll, iStockphoto, or Dreamstime.   All rights reserved. This site is best viewed when using Adobe Flash Player. free money magazine