Is the world of work organised around lying?

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009 - candidate, career management, Employment, Job Application, job search, job seeking, Professional CV, professionalism, tutorial, unemployment

Career Management

Creative Commons License photo credit: mnomono

Amy asks: Virtually everyone I know presents a totally different face to their boss. People are training themselves in “interview techniques”, which usually involves “saying what they want to hear”. I have to put a bunch of fake descriptions on my CV to fit in into the work world, even I don’t identify with a single statement on it. It is about issues such as having to hide your degree to get an admin job, otherwise they would not hire you!

Managers go around talking about personal development plans and business objectives, when everyone knows that they don’t believe in it themselves. I was working for an estate agent and my boss insisted that I answer the phone in a way that gives the impression that the office is terribly busy, even when we had one client a day.

Lies, lies and being so phony that it makes me want to puke. I want an honest straight forward job! Even a frigging McDonald’s job requires you to be fake all the time. For me it would be more convenient to tell the truth and be clear about my motives when applying for work etc. but then I will not “fit the profile”. As a consequence I have to adapt a totally fake work persona that drives me crazy. I believe I could do the job just as well if I was allowed to be myself, but his would be against the rules of the “game.”

Where is the “Christian mentality” of hones hard work gone?

In answer:

Simple really – if you feel that some of the competencies or tactics needed to do that job are lying, then its not the job for you!

You seem to focus on two work place issues: you and colleagues doing work; and then managing yourself in work/applying for jobs.

The tactics you describe in the estate agents and at McDonald’s simply accept that people like buying from happy busy people. Sure, you can fake that but after 2million+ years of development, most are pretty good at spotting fakery. Great estate agents love talking to people about property – they don’t need to fake it. And as Bill Gates would say, your parents saw flippin burgers as an opportunity, so hence were happy – don’t look down on it. The best McD’s people see it as a huge opportunity, and are 110% genuine in their approach and happy following company procedures – those who can’t see it as such, could see the tactics as fakery: how could anyone be happy flippin burgers? Its a matter of perspective

Inside work, having a plan is essential – no plan no direction, and hence anything will do. It sounds like you have gotten yourself trapped in this all to common hole. If you know what you want to do, then it translates in to a fresh, crisp CV that sells itself; and that translates for an employer into a great employee. If you feel you have to lie on your CV, then you are lying to yourself – and any half-decent HR person can spot or unearth that a mile off. The HR person who interviews you for an admin post when you have a degree wants to know why someone with that amount of intelligence wants a non-demanding admin job, and also questions how long you will stick at it. You choose to lie and make yourself appear artificially dumb, over finding an answer to the “why employ you” question: can’t answer that, no job!

If you do what you love, and are honest with yourself and those around you, and put that in a plan – then you will find you make progress. None of the best people in the world need to lie because they are doing what they love to the best of their ability – I suggest you do the same.

Good Luck!

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