Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reader Questions Bringing Up Faith at Work

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a woman of faith. Now that I am in my 40s, I can see even better how important my faith has been in my life. I know, of course, that I have worked hard and that has helped me to have the wonderful job that I have. I am a good wife and mother. So far, even though I have had some challenges, my life is great. I don’t take this for granted; I believe that this is happening because I have faith in God. I am active in my church and do my best to live a well-balanced life. When people ask me why I am so positive, I like to tell them why. But I worry that I shouldn’t talk about faith at work. I never try to get people to follow my path, but I do want to be able to tell my truth. What do you recommend? -- In the Spirit, Atlanta

DEAR IN THE SPIRIT: You are wise not to proselytize anywhere, especially at work. Your focus at work should be the tasks at hand. Of course, it is also important to build relationships with the people on your job. What you are already doing sounds right. Be a good example of honorable behavior and focus. When asked why you are the way you are in a one-on-one situation, feel free to express your belief that you know you work hard but that your faith is your foundation. Keep it simple unless you believe the person asking is sincerely interested in learning more. Do not invite co-workers to pray with you or go to church with you.

Be mindful that a work environment is legally supposed to be free of any religious affiliation. That said, if someone asks to learn more about how you practice your faith, you can share more information. There is no need to be paranoid, by the way. Just remember that everyone’s religious views are acceptable in a work environment.

Read more in: Friends & Neighbors | Work & School | Etiquette & Ethics

Reader Wants to Bear Witness for Co-Workers

DEAR HARRIETTE: I know that my former boss came onto a couple of the interns and young assistants at my job when I first started my career. I know because on two occasions I saw him do it, and on other occasions the women confided in me when they were upset about it. I got in touch with the ones I knew how to reach to find out if they want to speak up in light of so many people telling their story these days. They said, “absolutely not.” I feel like this man should be held accountable, but he did not do anything to me. Can I speak out for them? -- Me Too, Dallas

DEAR ME TOO: It is noble that you want to stand up for your former co-workers, but there is not much you can do. Even for the brave women who have included their voices in this horrific discussion about sexual misconduct in the workplace, it is very difficult to prove the allegations. For you to lead a charge as a witness when the alleged victims will not say anything will not work. Worse, it would expose them to unwanted public scrutiny. You can let them know that you will stand as a witness if they ever change their minds.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics | Sex & Gender | Abuse | Work & School