Dear Karma Cleanser:
I work in an office with a group of 15 women. We are all "friends" on a basic level, even though the other ladies know that I tend to be more liberal/progressive in my outlook than they are. Now it is the holiday time and people are going around asking for donations and that kind of thing. I am a very giving person and I don't mind sharing in the "holiday spirit" but there comes a time when I have to draw the line.
My co-worker J. has been asking me to help her raise money for a local charity that, supposedly, feeds the homeless. However, I also know that this charity is a far-right wing religious group with a history I despise.
My question is: Do I have a moral imperative to tell J. all the reasons why I won't give to her charity? Will it cause bad karma for me to stay quiet?
The tricky part is that if I do speak up and say what I really think, I know it will get around in our office and probably cause some waves. It could even hurt my chances of getting a promotion come January.
-- Ring My Bell
We like to think that the spirit of the holiday season is, "Peace on Earth," not, "Cuss out your co-worker" -- but that doesn't mean you need to sacrifice your integrity on the altar of ambition. Instead, do some homework and choose an alternative cause for your holiday dollars, one that better jibes with your personal politics. That way the next time J. brings up her charity, you can calmly say your money is already going to another group. No need to pick a fight about it or insist she stop giving money to the wing-nuts; chances are your input won't change her mind anyway.
Dear Karma Cleanser:
I am writing to you not for advice on my own karma, but because my friend Cat needs hers cleansed. Cat: I know you are reading this and I know that you suspect that there's some shady business going on with your boyfriend. As your friend, I need you to know that your suspicions are correct. Your boyfriend is, in fact, cheating on you. And yes, it is with the person who you think.
I am writing this because a lot of people care about you and they know that you aren't sure how to get out of your relationship. If you dump your boyfriend, all your friends will be there for you. Your good karma is depending on you doing the right thing.
Well, congrats. You've successfully reduced the Karma column to not much more than a shout-out. Happy now? We're not saying Cat shouldn't dump the jerk, but who are you to decide how it'll affect her karma? Perhaps a better friend would be one who took the news to her privately, instead of posting it in the paper for the whole world to see.
Been bad? firstname.lastname@example.org.