DEAR HARRIETTE: I just started a new job and love the company culture. We have fun together but also get a lot done for the community around us. The only thing that I am petrified about is my first karaoke night. Once a month, everybody goes to the same bar, and everyone sings a song. I am a horrible singer with terrible stage fright. Would I lose all my credibility with my new co-workers if I didn't come? They are all excited to see me sing, and they often remind me that nobody has ever skipped out. -- Deer in Headlights, Milwaukee
DEAR DEER IN HEADLIGHTS: This kind of company "hazing" is all too common and surely can lead to embarrassment. Yet it is almost like a rite of passage for some people. Sounds like it is for your job.
You should let everybody know that you really can't sing. Make it clear up front. Then, pick a funny or upbeat song that you can talk to rather than sing. Make it fun. Act it out rather than even attempting to sing to it. Do your best to turn your shortcoming into an asset by claiming it and delighting in your limitations.
(Harriette Cole is a life stylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)