Fun Time: Some Lies are Acceptable, But Not on Your Resume
If you’re a parent of teenagers, you’ve probably reprimanded them for telling lies or being deceptive. Teens are tempted to lie about all sorts of things, such as what they were watching on their phones, whether they completed their homework, or which of their parents is the “cool” one.
I’ve had many conversations with my kids that revolved around honesty.
Me: “It’s midnight. Shouldn’t you be sleeping?”
Teen: “Doing my homework. Almost done.”
Me: “Almost done? Isn’t that what you said three hours ago?”
Teen: “Yes, that’s what I said.”
Me: “So you lied then, but you’re telling the truth now?”
Teen: “No, I exaggerated then, and I’m still exaggerating now.”
Teaching children to be truthful is important. Telling lies can get them in big trouble, or even worse, get them elected. Then the whole world will know what a terrible parent you are.
Parents want their children to become honorable adults and tell only acceptable lies.
Acceptable lies are considered white lies and fall into three main categories:
- Lies to avoid hurting other people. When your friend gets a haircut and asks you what you think, you say, “It really suits you. Makes you look younger.” You don’t say what you’re really thinking: “I know he advertises ‘perfect trimming,’ but you really shouldn’t get haircuts from the guy who does your shrubs.”
- Lies to get out of awkward situations. You run into an acquaintance at a store and he talks your head off. Finally, you look at your phone and say, “I’ve got to go. My wife just texted me. Our house is on fire!” Okay, perhaps that’s not a white lie. A white lie would be more like this: “I’ve got to go. It’s an emergency. My phone is at 1%!”
- Lies to be polite. You and your wife meet another couple at a party and have an “okay” conversation. When you leave, you exchange phone numbers and say, “We’ll have to have you over for dinner sometime.” What you don’t say, of course, is that “sometime” means “sometime when there’s peace in the Middle East and the British government has banned the consumption of Marmite.”
Such lies are relatively harmless. They don’t hurt anyone and are not self-serving. But in many other situations, lies are unacceptable and can get you in trouble. You could be fired from a job and even end up in prison. That’s what happened to an Australian woman named Veronica Hilda Theriault.
In 2019, she was given a 25-month prison sentence after being convicted of deception, dishonesty, and abuse of public office. She had become chief information officer for South Australia’s Department of the Premier and Cabinet by lying about her education and employment on her résumé, and impersonating a former employer to give herself a glowing job reference. And if that wasn’t enough, she had used a photo of model Kate Upton in her LinkedIn profile. In other words, Theriault didn’t just have a bachelor’s degree in lying, she had a PhD from George Santos Institute.
Lying on a résumé can get you in big trouble. Even so, in a recent survey conducted by ResumeLab, 70 percent of job seekers admitted that they have lied on their résumés. That means that 30 percent have told the truth.
But before we accept the findings of this survey, maybe we should conduct another survey to find out if they’ve ever lied in a survey.
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Compiled and partly written by Indian humorist MELVIN DURAI, author of the novel Bala Takes the Plunge.
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