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Karma Cleanser 

Dear Karma Cleanser:

I've been dreaming of a life with no 9 to 5, no memos, no meetings that drone on for hours. I've worked in a corporate setting for more than a decade of my life, watched good people turn into walking zombies, seen my own hair start to turn gray and the bags under my glazed-over eyes get heavier by the day.

I want to be an entrepreneur, to start a business that I can run via the Internet and drive across the country with my dogs in an RV. Karma doesn't seem to be on my side. Every time I mention this idea to one of my co-workers, they either ignore me or laugh at the idea. I have no family support. My friends don't return my phone calls. How do I get out of this?

---- Toss My Boss

Don't look to other prisoners for advice on scaling the jail's walls: If they knew how, they wouldn't be there either. Read books on entrepreneurship until your brain feels like it will burst. Demand that your family hear you out, even if they don't take you seriously. Be the crazy person handing business cards to strangers when it's least appropriate. A wise woman once said to us, "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got."

Dear Karma Cleanser:

My family life sort of screwed up me and my two sisters. We had a dad who was an ineffectual tyrant, too selfish to enforce his totalitarian rules, and a mom too busy cleaning the floors to join us at the table. I think the experience made each of us kids harder, so hard that we never will let our guards down ever again -- not in front of each other, nor in front of someone who is trying to "get through to us" and get to know the real person under the hard outer shell.

As adults, none of us have had a relationship that has been successful, and we all mutually despise any person who tries to date someone in the family. It's an us-versus-them thing that happens that really turns out to be self-defeating and insulating in a negative way. It's too late now to try and resolve the issues with my parents (mom has passed, dad is too far gone) but how do the three of us get past the dysfunction? If one of us changes, will the other two follow?

---- Psycho's Sister

There's only one part of the equation you can change, and that's yourself. The other two siblings may stay stuck in the same war zone of self-defeat until they're bickering old biddies in the retirement home, but that's really not your issue. The answer lies in awareness, as most answers do. Airlift yourself out of the crossfire and see how long the body armor remains.

Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com.

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