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Karma Cleanser 

Will it come back to bite you?

Dear Karma Cleanser:

At the start of this year, I went to work for a company that is based in Germany. It has been a good job but also very challenging, mainly because it entails quite a lot of travel.

Last week, I got a huge deposit in my bank account. I assumed it was reimbursement for my recent travel but it was for $4,500. I had only submitted $3,000 on the expense report.

I couldn't read the credit note because it was in German. (This German shit is killing me.) Today I showed the note to my assistant, asking her to translate. My assistant checked with the finance department and it turns out they thought I had paid for my travel expenses in euros, not U.S. dollars. They said they appreciated my honesty and would deduct the $1,500 from my next check.

I was really hoping my assistant would have just translated the credit memo. Is that so wrong?

-- Continental Drift

Look at this way: You've inadvertently represented yourself as an honorable and trustworthy new hire, even if that may not be the whole story. Be thankful for small accidents and that your potential for greed got lost in translation.

Dear Karma Cleanser:

(In response to "Cold Feet, Ankles, Shins and Shoulders," April 9): I can relate to the letter about the bride-to-be having second thoughts about her husband. I went through a similar emotional crisis in the weeks leading up to my marriage, even though I had been dating my fiancé for going on four years. I think the writer nailed it when she said this is "just a normal part of growing up."

The Karma Cleanser, however, didn't do so well. I'm not sure that advising this woman to "reconnect" with her "22-year-old self" is going to be the best advice for her in the long run. Looking back, I'm glad that I didn't listen to my inner voice telling me that the marriage was a bad idea. Yes, my spouse and I have had our share of bumps in the road, and there have been times when I missed the passion I used to have when I was young. But overall, I think that being married to him was my destiny. A 22-year-old wants the happy ending. A 32-year-old just wants health insurance.

-- Mama Knows

Mama, no! We'll agree with you when you say the writer's more youthful self may show through some flight impulses. It takes the wisdom of years to realize that every relationship endures its own cycles of expansion and retraction, like a tree that grows and sheds its leaves. But we'll have to disagree with your fatalistic view of marriage as settling. If the voice within you is craving pears, climbing up the apple tree will never make you happy, no matter how many years you sit there.

Been bad?

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