FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

In Defense of Lying on Job Applications

by EVA LIDDELL

Bob’s Dylan’s lyric, “To live outside the law you must be honest” have long served as my moral inspiration. I am thereby forced to admit that I’m not buying the idea that Merilee Jones, the woman who was the Dean of Admissions at MIT, should be made to run the gauntlet with the likes of Henry Kissinger and Paul Wolfowitz because she lied on her resume thirty years ago when she applied for the job. Maybe I just don’t have the proper amount of respect for our vaunted institutions like MIT in the first place. I don’t consider universities that further the advancement of our beloved State which devotes itself to the continuation of war respectable. But hey, that’s just me.

I thought everybody lied on job applications and resumes at one time or another. Sometimes it makes the difference between putting bread on the table rather than some suicidal moralistic impulse that one must never lie even if you starve. I decided to ask around about the subject.

“Have you ever lied on a job application or resume?” I asked a cab driver friend of mine. “Yes, I have,” the Brandeis dropout replied. “Thirty years ago when I applied for a job at the Hilton as a busboy I put down on the resume that I had worked as a waiter at Mr. Steak in Boston. It was a complete fabrication.” In what seemed to me a non-sequitur he ended the conversation by saying that he doubted if a restaurant with the name “Mr. Steak” would have survived very long anyway. Although this could have been an oblique reference to his recent conversion to vegetarianism.

I asked a jazz musician friend of mine who hasn’t had a straight gig in forty years if he ever lied on a job application. “I did have one straight job when I was eighteen, as an exterminator,” he said, acting kind of proud about it. “But I was lying when I wrote on the job application that I had a high school degree.”

Out at the urban tennis courts I asked the tennis coach if he ever lied on a resume. “Never about tennis,” he asserted loudly. Some mothers of the little kiddies he was instructing were sitting nearby on the bench and heard my question. Then we moved aside. “But I have lied on my pizza delivery jobs,” he revealed. “I had to compress dates. It doesn’t look good to put on a resume that your pizza delivery work has been stop-and-start. I had to say I delivered pizzas for five years consistently.”

I was thinking that maybe I should put the question to a more elevated crowd. I remembered my mother-in-law telling me a story years ago that when her husband was filling out his application for medical school in the 1940’s and he was asked to state what profession his father had been in, he wrote down, “Professor, University of Moscow, Russia.” “University of Moscow?” I said dubiously. “I know,” she admitted, “there was no University of Moscow.” Then she thundered, “What was he supposed to say, that his father had been a horse trader in some schmutz town in Russia?”

Trying to keep things current I called around to some of my fancier friends, some even college professors. “Have you ever lied on a resume?” “Never!” they responded. “Never?” I asked. “Not even when you did like, odd jobs before college or something?” They all said they never lied. Why do I not believe these folks, they with their credentials and their tenured positions? Call it a hunch.

The last and final job I will ever work I put down on the resume that I had no college degrees at all. I was lying. I just thought I’d be overqualified and wouldn’t get the job. I mean, I needed dough in a hurry. Later when I was talking about graduate school to one of my coworkers, a local gangbanger who I was encouraging to get out of the ghetto, the manager who overheard me said, “I didn’t know you went to college.” I told him I was sorry I lied on my resume. “That’s silly,” he said. “You didn’t need to lie on your job application. We hire anybody.”

I have a feeling Marilee Jones was a risk taker and pushed her luck a bit. She had a good run, thirty years isn’t bad to be the Dean of Admissions at one of America’s most revered institutions. I just can’t be moral about her lies because there is nothing moral about these institutions. They are knowledge factories that turn out little war makers, little business profiteers. They are not sanctuaries of humanity or decency, not any more. And that cannot be laid at the feet of Marilee Jones. I just wonder how she’ll fill out her next job application.

EVA LIDDELL lives in the Pacific Northwest.

 

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
March 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump is Obama’s Legacy: Will this Break up the Democratic Party?
Eric Draitser
Donald Trump and the Triumph of White Identity Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nothing Was Delivered
Andrew Levine
Ryan’s Choice
Joshua Frank
Global Coal in Freefall, Tar Sands Development Drying Up (Bad News for Keystone XL)
Anthony DiMaggio
Ditching the “Deep State”: The Rise of a New Conspiracy Theory in American Politics
Rob Urie
Boris and Natasha Visit Fantasy Island
John Wight
London and the Dreary Ritual of Terrorist Attacks
Paul Buhle
The CIA and the Intellectuals…Again
David Rosen
Why Did Trump Target Transgender Youth?
Vijay Prashad
Inventing Enemies
Ben Debney
Outrage From the Imperial Playbook
M. Shadee Malaklou
An Open Letter to Duke University’s Class of 2007, About Your Open Letter to Stephen Miller
Michael J. Sainato
Bernie Sanders’ Economic Advisor Shreds Trumponomics
Bill Willers
Volunteerism; Charisma; the Ivy League Stranglehold: a Very Brief Trilogy
Lawrence Davidson
Moral Failure at the UN
Pete Dolack
World Bank Declares Itself Above the Law
Nicola Perugini - Neve Gordon
Israel’s Human Rights Spies
Patrick Cockburn
From Paris to London: Another City, Another Attack
Ralph Nader
Reason and Justice Address Realities
Ramzy Baroud
‘Decolonizing the Mind’: Using Hollywood Celebrities to Validate Islam
Colin Todhunter
Monsanto in India: The Sacred and the Profane
Louisa Willcox
Grizzlies Under the Endangered Species Act: How Have They Fared?
Norman Pollack
Militarization of American Fascism: Trump the Usurper
Pepe Escobar
North Korea: The Real Serious Options on the Table
Brian Cloughley
“These Things Are Done”: Eavesdropping on Trump
Sheldon Richman
You Can’t Blame Trump’s Military Budget on NATO
Carol Wolman
Trump vs the People: a Psychiatrist’s Analysis
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Marines to Kill Desert Tortoises
Stanley L. Cohen
The White House . . . Denial and Cover-ups
Farhang Jahanpour
America’s Woes, Europe’s Responsibilities
Joseph Natoli
March Madness Outside the Basketball Court
Bruce Mastron
Slaughtered Arabs Don’t Count
Pauline Murphy
Unburied Truth: Exposing the Church’s Iron Chains on Ireland
Ayesha Khan
The Headscarf is Not an Islamic Compulsion
Ron Jacobs
Music is Love, Music is Politics
Christopher Brauchli
Prisoners as Captive Customers
Robert Koehler
The Mosque That Disappeared
Franklin Lamb
Update from Madaya
Dan Bacher
Federal Scientists Find Delta Tunnels Plan Will Devastate Salmon
Barbara Nimri Aziz
The Gig Economy: Which Side Are You On?
Louis Proyect
What Caused the Holodomor?
Max Mastellone
Seeking Left Unity Through a Definition of Progressivism
Charles R. Larson
Review: David Bellos’s “Novel of the Century: the Extraordinary Adventure of Les Misérables”
David Yearsley
Ear of Darkness: the Soundtracks of Steve Bannon’s Films
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail