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:
February 19, 2018
Rob Urie
Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics
Richard Moser
Mueller the Politician
Robert Hunziker
There Is No Time Left
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Decides to Hold Presidential Elections, the Opposition Chooses to Boycott Democracy
Daniel Warner
Parkland Florida: Revisiting Michael Fields
Sheldon Richman
‘Peace Through Strength’ is a Racket
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Taking on the Pentagon
Patrick Cockburn
People Care More About the OXFAM Scandal Than the Cholera Epidemic
Ted Rall
On Gun Violence and Control, a Political Gordian Knot
Binoy Kampmark
Making Mugs of Voters: Mueller’s Russia Indictments
Dave Lindorff
Mass Killers Abetted by Nutjobs
Myles Hoenig
A Response to David Axelrod
Colin Todhunter
The Royal Society and the GMO-Agrochemical Sector
Cesar Chelala
A Student’s Message to Politicians about the Florida Massacre
Weekend Edition
February 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
American Carnage
Paul Street
Michael Wolff, Class Rule, and the Madness of King Don
Andrew Levine
Had Hillary Won: What Now?
David Rosen
Donald Trump’s Pathetic Sex Life
Susan Roberts
Are Modern Cities Sustainable?
Joyce Nelson
Canada vs. Venezuela: Have the Koch Brothers Captured Canada’s Left?
Geoff Dutton
America Loves Islamic Terrorists (Abroad): ISIS as Proxy US Mercenaries
Mike Whitney
The Obnoxious Pence Shows Why Korea Must End US Occupation
Joseph Natoli
In the Post-Truth Classroom
John Eskow
One More Slaughter, One More Piece of Evidence: Racism is a Terminal Mental Disease
John W. Whitehead
War Spending Will Bankrupt America
Robert Fantina
Guns, Violence and the United States
Dave Lindorff
Trump’s Latest Insulting Proposal: Converting SNAP into a Canned Goods Distribution Program
Robert Hunziker
Global Warming Zaps Oxygen
John Laforge
$1.74 Trillion for H-bomb Profiteers and “Fake” Cleanups
CJ Hopkins
The War on Dissent: the Specter of Divisiveness
Peter A. Coclanis
Chipotle Bell
Anders Sandström – Joona-Hermanni Mäkinen
Ways Forward for the Left
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Winning Hearts and Minds
Tommy Raskin
Syrian Quicksand
Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma Still Tries to Push Dangerous Drug Class
Jill Richardson
The Attorney General Thinks Aspirin Helps Severe Pain – He’s Wrong
Mike Miller
Herb March: a Legend Deserved
Ann Garrison
If the Democrats Were Decent
Renee Parsons
The Times, They are a-Changing
Howard Gregory
The Democrats Must Campaign to End Trickle-Down Economics
Sean Keller
Agriculture and Autonomy in the Middle East
Ron Jacobs
Re-Visiting Gonzo
Eileen Appelbaum
Rapid Job Growth, More Education Fail to Translate into Higher Wages for Health Care Workers
Ralph Nader
Shernoff, Bidart, and Echeverria—Wide-Ranging Lawyers for the People
Chris Zinda
The Meaning of Virginia Park
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail