I don’t keep a resume but if I did I think it would be hard not to have a few little lies scattered about. That was certainly the case when I prepared my first resume after college.
I had put “Conversant in Spanish” on it even though “Habla ingles?” was about the extent of what I had learned conducting interviews for my dad’s temp service in Sacramento.
I paid dearly for that little lie – almost. On a job interview in San Francisco, the hiring manager met me at the door and started speaking Spanish to me from the get-go. I didn’t understand much but I did get that we were going to a bar to play backgammon and talk.
One good thing about not being able to talk is that you have to listen, and listen is what I did. After a few games and a beer it occurred to me that the guy really liked to hear himself talk in Spanish. He wanted to prove to me that his Spanish was really good!
“I have to be honest,” I told him in English. “Your Spanish is way too good for me. Can we speak English now?”
He beamed with pride. He was better than I was. He was ok in Spanish, I wasn’t. And I got an offer letter the next week.
As for that Radio Shack CEO, he had no easy recovery from his lie. But he made things worse by trying to be ok. He retreated from one lie to another, saying at one point that he did have a degree, just not a four-year degree, which also turned out to be untrue.
The best among us shames the devil seven times a day. If you get caught, don’t get defensive.
It’s ok to be not ok.