“I’m totally going to do it with her tonight,” my manager said while waving a packet of condoms in front of me from across the counter. “What do you think? How do you think it’ll go?” he asked with a smirk. I didn’t know how to respond to that question. I wished my manager was joking, but he wasn’t—he was serious about wanting to have sex with my friend.
Three hours earlier on that day, I was excited my manager was helping my friend get a full-time job at another company with the help of his personal connections. She got the job, which was ecstatic news to hear, but my mood immediately changed when I saw that my manager was attracted to her and wanted to seduce her.
This was none of my business and I didn’t want to get involved, but he really struck a nerve when he asked me to lie about his personal life. My manager was married for 20 years and had eight kids and was more than 15 years older than my friend. He pleaded for me to never mention him in conversation, which is essentially lying by omission, so that he could put on the facade that he was single and looking.
My heart sunk. My chest felt heavy. All I wanted to do was help her get a job, but I got into this. I couldn’t ignore this dilemma. Should I listen to him so I could keep my full-time job—a job I actually enjoyed for once—and continue on as if nothing happened? Or should I tell my friend the truth and let her make her own decisions after receiving all the right information?
In the end, I told my friend the truth and then gave my two weeks notice the next day. I didn’t have to resign, but I knew my relationships with my coworkers would be strained after this incident. And I was right—my manager cursed at me on the phone for half an hour and wouldn’t bat an eye at me for the next two weeks. The experience was mortifying.
I have to thank him though. This dilemma made me question my character and my values. I realized that my character matters more than money: money comes and goes, but my self-respect, my dignity, my relationships, the trust that people have in me can never be fully regained.
That day was the turning point in my life when I decided to be more proactive, to pursue my passion to coach instead of working a job that I didn’t fully agree with. Life is just too damn short. I began teaching personal finance to people in debt so that they could live a life that aligned to their values and priorities, to live with integrity. When they stopped worrying about money so much, they began to focus on others and were generous not just in money but in their love. Imagine a world where everyone treats each other with genuine love and kindness because there’s no money-related stress to take out on others and where money is used to create goodness.
I’m not rich. I saved between 25-50% of my measly income every month since my first job and sacrificed a lot. At that time, I had enough savings to go one year without working so I was financially secure enough to make the right choice.
I want you to know that if you live manage your money well, you will never have to compromise your character or your values for the sake of money. You will be free to make choices rooted in what you actually want for yourself instead of external circumstances. On the flip side, when you’re drowning in debt, you’re stuck doing activities that detract from your life. You might feel like everything is out of your control right now, living paycheck to paycheck, with one emergency after another, but I assure you: you are responsible for getting into this mess and you have the absolute power to get yourself back out. The first thing you need to do is make the decision to transform your financial life.