The author Mark Twain, (think Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn) once wrote "when in doubt, tell the truth." He said it was easier, you don't
have to remember anything. But what the heck does Mark Twain know about this time, this place, these people and this job market? In this time of 'social networking' and various recruitment practices such as 'merit-based', how does honesty fit in? How
does one get ahead in this climate while still telling the truth? In my experience, it is true that honesty can see you penalised... I have a few examples to back this up.
A fairly recent job application saw me filling out a medical questionnaire, pretty straightforward 'tick
and flick' paperwork, i thought. When the question is framed “Have you EVER been....??” Given this was for a job where ethics is important and the nature of the work is safety related, i thought it best to answer honestly. Now i know that the chances
are i could have answered No and most likely never had any issues. But, i chose to answer Yes to a couple of questions. The examining doctor didnt make much out of it, asked me a few followup questions and then said I passed. Thinking that was it, i went home
happy that i'd passed the next stage in the recruitment process... I was 'between jobs' then and had very little cash for any followup such as specialist appointments etcetera.. in fact, i had already spent enough money getting to that appointment in
travel and an overnight stay.
Subsequently, i got an email from the medical examiner to say that they needed further information before i could proceed. Basically i needed specialists
to clear me... I felt healthy enough and had never been formally diagnosed with anything but still... my honesty saw me penalised. The penalty in this instance is the cost of attending specialist appointments and getting reports done. I sent an email in return
asking if this was absolutely necessary as any issues were many years old and that the further cost would be prohibitive. They replied that it was necessary for their processes and that my application remained open till i provided this further reporting. At
the time I couldnt afford these additional costs and so i put the whole thing on hold... till now...
I have decided in the last few weeks to continue this application alongside
a number of others and see if i can progress it further. We are in a completely different location out of state but I have been searching out the specialists and getting reports done. Not an easy task and certainly not cheap, but apparently this is necessary.
There are no guarantees at the end of this whether i will actually get a job but this next step has to be taken and has taken way too long already. I'm not getting any younger here...
see, i was raised with the mantra 'that a thief can be reformed but a liar is a liar.' In my youth, it was considered worse to lie than to steal. Nobody ever talked about simple exaggeration just plain straight out lying. You would have heard the saying
'Liar Liar, Pants on Fire!'?? Is exaggeration or omitting to mention certain factors the same as lying? If so, then theres a lot of lying going on.. We humans are social animals and 'little white lies' are considered sometimes necessary for navigating
the social scene let alone the job market and wider commercial world...
I have gone through all this extra, for what? The possibility of an entry level job, a possible step forward
in my career, a chance at a profession rather than a series of dead end jobs, money in the bank and a brighter future for me and mine? A job which requires still months of official training and testing before being let out to do ones duty. Is it really worth
it? Honestly... I don't know!! Seems i dont have much choice.. despite the 'lifelong learning'!
Isnt it strange how a 'fake Tahitian prince' can
get a top job in Queensland Health and live an extravagant lifestyle with no reference checks, no problem yet i can't even get a frontline job in the public sector without paying a high premium. Who is made to feel like the criminal, me who answers honestly
to a questionnaire or the man who fraudulently entered the public service on a high salary and ended up siphening off money to fund his lifestyle? Never mind that he was eventually caught and imprisoned... i have a feeling that the system is designed to hold
back those who are naïve, who are honest!! Nice guys finish last perhaps??
This might be an extreme example but the point still remains. I am not, in any way, condoning
dishonesty. Many times when i was working in the public sector, applicants always complain about the system and how it penalises the ordinary citizen. See my post on 'Gun
Culture'... I heard a lot of firearms licence holders saying that guns were only being held back from those who are honest yet the criminals can always get guns. I thought at the time it was just 'sour grapes' but now i'm not so sure... Now, dont get me
wrong, I'm not advocating for looser gun controls or more guns in the hands of the general public. We, in Australia, have seen no more 'gun massacres', 'shooting rampages' since the gun laws came into effect, the same can not be said for our American counterparts.
Another example comes to mind of 'honesty not always the best policy'.. When applying for government support, the 'safety net' for when you lose your job... you have to declare any assets
such as home and contents, cash at bank, car or any other income you may have at the time. Fair enough, is what we should all say, right? However, when you do have some money saved from previously working, you get penalised by these very agencies, even if
you have no other assets and still bills to pay. Are they saying that you should have absolutely nothing before you can get assistance?? Well, that's how it feels. Now, i have heard people say 'why didnt you just move your money to another for holding and
then claim, they wouldnt know and you would have got paid'. But this is not Honest is it?! The truth is, even with 'data matching' the likelihood of being caught out for something like that is not high. The system has much bigger fish to fry, doesnt it?
When there is obviously no truth in advertising and 'political correctness' gone mad, what is the individual supposed to do? You hear slogans like 'see you at the top'. Excuse me.. 'At
the Top', what exactly does that mean? The top of what? Sometimes it feels like you're the dung in the pile and sometimes it feels like you're the dung beetle rolling the dung uphill. This might be a silly analogy but i think it says something about self and
society. Political correctness has gone mad when someone can relabel their job title from 'bookkeeper' to 'business manager' or 'financial controller'. Looks better on CVs and Resumes doesnt it? Seems a little extreme but it has been done.
If exaggeration and omission are acceptable in the wider marketplace such as the race for jobs then they should be acceptable at home among friends and family, right? You know the people
in your own circles who lie? How do you feel about them? Why do people feel the need to lie to those closest to them? Do they really gain some advantage? Is it just that we are so use to being lied to that we no longer worry about it from friends and family?
I dont think so... I still talk about those who have lied to me in the past more so than those, for example, who have borrowed and never paid back. Why is that? People tell all sorts of stories even if they don't have to... or even worse they dont tell
you at all!
If your partner asks you if they look bigger, do you say 'yes' or 'no, you look beautiful/handsome...' If you say the latter, is that a 'lie' or is it just
the obvious sign of bias on the part of the partner being asked such a question? You see, it happens in all different ways... maybe it is in our DNA. The truth is.... Honesty is not always the best policy. Sometimes it saves peoples feelings, sometimes
it might save you money on followups. But is all this 'saving' really Saving??
In the next post, i will save you from reading any more of my rants on the lies out there. Instead I will focus again on the Joy of
Travelling, and it really will be out there as i will talk about travelling overseas... Stay Tuned...