Lying–and why you shouldn’t do it–has been somewhat of a theme of this blog. I get lots of hits from Google of people querying whether they can lie about salary, jobs or any other job related thing. The answer is no. You will be busted. And I have a story.

I teach the adult Sunday School class at church. Yesterday we had a bunch of visitors from two states away who were up in our neck of the woods for a Boy Scout camp out. The Scout leaders were in my class.

After Sunday School was done, one of these visitors came up and said, “you remind me so much of a Sunday School Teacher I had 20 years ago. I forget her name, but her husband was [my father’s name]. So, it turns out that my mother was his Sunday School teacher 20 years ago, and I looked and acted enough like her that he felt compelled to tell me.

He had no idea who I was–not only was I a child back then, I now have a different last name and I go by my full first name rather than the nickname I used back then, and I was raised in the West and now live in the East. My point? It’s a small world. You will run into people who know you or your relatives. You can’t expect to keep things secret. As soon as you say, “I was making $120,000 a year at my previous job,” your former boss will waltz down the hallway and see you.

So don’t lie. You never know who that person in the back row is. I certainly didn’t recognize him. It’s a good thing I didn’t say or do anything that would embarrass my mother.

I hope.

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6 thoughts on “Why You Shouldn’t Lie

  1. I think it was Lincoln who said that no one has a good enough memory to be a successful liar. In the Digital Age we can expand that to “no one has a small enough circle of acquaintances to avoid being found out.” As Scott McNeely said, “You have no privacy.”

  2. Oddly enough I once worked for Sun. Scott’s company made me the techno-geek I am today. I was totally going in a different direction career wise.

    It was also where I had a friend who once worked in HR and gave talks. One day – in front of a huge group she was recounting an example about a firing where her husband worked. I don’t remember what the specific example was now..

    It turned out the sister of the fired employee from her husbands company was in that group. Enough specifics were given that it was obvious who was being talked about even though it happened at a different company.

    The friend almost lost her job over it.

  3. Anecdotal Evidence.

    We once hired an HR Vice President who was untruthful on his resume. We caught it by happenstance, due to the fact that I had worked at the same large industrial plant where he supposedly had worked during the same time period as me. I had read his resume, so even though it would have been extremely unlikely that we would have ever met due to the thousands of employees at that facility, when I met him for the first time I remarked that we had something in common; we’d both worked in the “XYZ” building, using a name for the facility that EVERYONE who worked there used. It was obvious that he hadn’t a clue what I was talking about. I was very puzzled, and I mentioned it to the General Counsel, who was a friend of mine. A thorough background investigation ensued, and he was gone after being employed about two weeks. He had lied about a job that he’d supposedly had many years before, and it bit him in a most unlikely way.

  4. Wally: that is definitely a problem with lying, keeping your facts straight.

    She Said: Oops. Although how do you tell any negative story?

    Mike: Ah not researching your lies!

  5. And what about HR and management that lies? I have experienced this many times and there are no penalties for such things. We employees have nothing to back us up beyond leaving the job.
    My experience has been that HR walks hand-in-hand with bad management. Both protect cronyism and nepotism in the workplace.
    (I have enough “Dilbert Stories” to write a book.)

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