The Right Way to Earn Money


I am 26 years old, started my career a couple of years ago. I believe in doing the things with right intent will get us success/good karma. But many friends of mine increase their professional experience unrealistically to get a job and they are able to do the job good. They are paid around 100k but a genuine guy gets let’s say 50k. Is that also a right way to earn money? I feel like the money they get is filled with bad karma and taking away other people’s opportunities. Am i thinking right?

—varun, US


Dear Varun,

When you say “increase their professional experience unrealistically to get a job” do you mean on their resume? They overstate their experience to get a job?

There’s nothing wrong with being a good salesperson and enthusiastic! The dividing line between the kind of exaggeration one might make in making a “sales pitch” and outright lies is sometimes difficult to ascertain.

For starters, it is THEIR karma, not yours. Nor is it yours or ours to judge. But you have brought up the subject so here are some thoughts:

1. Intention. Does the person INTENTIONALLY lie and say things that are, in fact, untrue? Does a person in their enthusiasm and desire to be hired put a “better face” or “spin” on their education or work experience to make it SEEM they have the necessary qualifications? Is this conscious? Subconscious? It’s not always easy to discern the difference between self-promotion based on enthusiasm, courage and confidence and outright prevarication (lying).

2. Consequences. There is a book or movie about a man who pretended he was a surgeon, a pilot, and perhaps other things. (I’ve never read the story.) There are other similar stories in life as well. They lie to get a job but, and what makes the story intriguing, is that everyone around them thinks this person IS qualified AND the person performs his job above average (until the truth catches up with him). Now, it’s wrong for them to lie but one cannot but secretly admire their boldness and confidence for using their own energy to accomplish something that others gain only perhaps by years of study!!!! If no one is injured or harmed by their fabrication, it’s not too bad (karma) and it makes a good story. In your comments you feel that more deserving candidates don’t get the job or, if they do, they are paid far less.

These kinds of injustices abound in our world of duality. Cases of racism or paying women less for the same job and with the same qualifications; caste prejudice. Yes, all these are unfair and unfortunate yet they abound everywhere and in every country. So too nepotism (hiring undeserving relatives).

So, yes, there is karma here when a person lies or harms another person. The real spiritual question is: What, if anything, do I do about this? What is MY dharma in any situation? I suspect there’s NOTHING you can do, practically speaking, about these matters.

We cannot evade the law of karma. Nor can we necessarily rescue other people from their karma. We have our own to deal with as well. Do your best to be honest and a good example to others; if asked, to counsel others in the direction of truth and dharma. There might even be a case where you feel to be a “whistleblower.” These are difficult decisions as doing so has consequences to you. But you haven’t asked that question here. Maybe a situation will come where can help a deserving person get that job by putting in a “good word” or counseling him to view his resume in a more positive light.

I hope you find these thoughts helpful,

Nayaswami Hriman