Home » Letters » Is It Possible To Fire With Compassion?

Question: As I hired an incompetent domestic helper via an incompetent agent, I technically fired the helper. But the agent asked for some holding on to the helper in name first, to facilitate her transfer without incurring more cost for both the agent and helper. However, this is potentially risky for me if there is trouble caused by the helper. I verbally agreed to a certain grace period already, but the agent is likely to habitually delay. Should I quickly ask to sign the cancellation, or be more ‘compassionate’? 

Answer: If there was an agreement already, and if you have reservations that it will be stuck to, you should sign it as soon as possible. However, do so without ill will. It would be good to remind the involved on what went wrong too. 

Question: Will I create negative karma? After all, I already had some negative karma, to encounter the incompetent agent and helper in the first place.

Answer: If you are not breaking any precept (e.g. by lying, stealing…), how can you create negative karma by sticking to what was agreed to? You are simply preventing the agent (and helper) from creating negative karma, by not honouring what was agreed to (e.g. by lying), which as you mentioned, is likely to happen. To prevent this IS to be compassionate on your part!

Just because we suffer due to negative karma’s ripening does not mean we should continue letting ourselves suffer. As an example, due to ignorance (as the third of the three poisons), if a hand was put on a hot stove, does this mean the hand should remain there, to never be withdrawn? That would be more ignorance, that perpetuates suffering. The hand should be removed as soon as possible. 

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