Compulsory giving

Joey Garcia

I’m a new employee at a nonprofit where the executive director earns about three times what most employees earn. Yesterday an envelope began circulating with a note asking each employee to give $5-$10 toward a holiday gift for the boss. A sheet was stapled to the envelope so we could check our names off! I’m a single parent and can’t afford to contribute. But I don’t want to leave my name unchecked. Ideas?

Ah, the holidays! The people who circulate these requests probably have no idea what chaos they cause. Consider this: It’s possible that the list of names is attached to ensure that the envelope is passed to everyone. So when the envelope hits your desk, check your name off. The specified dollar amount is a suggestion. (Trust me on this.) Can you spare one dollar or two? If so, that’s enough. If not, drop some coins in. As you slide that cash into the envelope, relax into the awareness that you are giving what you can. If there’s an anonymous suggestion box in your office, slide a note in requesting a review of mandatory contribution solicitations. (Hey, isn’t mandatory contribution an oxymoron?)

I’ve been dating a beautiful (inside and out) woman for nearly a year. I can see spending the rest of my life with her and want to propose at Christmas. One thing holds me back: children. She is divorced and has full custody of her three children. They are wonderful kids but I’ve always wanted children of my own. My girlfriend does not want any more children. She told me this when we first met but I really didn’t take it seriously. Now what?

Now you realize that your girlfriend knows her mind and speaks the truth. She is clear about what is right for her and sets boundaries accordingly. Since she does not want to adjust her lifestyle, are you willing to embrace her children as yours? Think of it as a way for you to explore becoming as beautiful inside and out as she is.

One of my co-workers recently separated from his wife. I’ve always been attracted to him and we’ve had great conversations over lunch with others in the office. A group of my friends—none of whom I work with—are having a holiday party. I’d like to invite my co-worker as my date. I mentioned this to a friend who cautioned me against it, saying that my co-worker’s separation is too recent. She also said I should wait until he’s divorced. What say you, Joey?

Some people initiate workplace dating because they love the adrenaline rush of keeping a secret from co-workers. It’s exciting meeting in a conference room for a kiss or sending each other saucy text messages during staff meetings. Breakups can be nasty, though, and may even sideline your career. So be sure to check your company’s rules about workplace dating so you’re informed in advance. If everything is cool, ask your co-worker to join you for the holiday party. After a month or two of dating you can assess the connection and decide whether to tell your boss or the human resources person. In the meantime, no flirting at work, please. It tends to make other people uncomfortable enough to complain and that makes management unhappy.

Meditation of the week
“The secret of health, for both mind and body, is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly,” Buddha said. How do you transform the world?

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