Thursday, April 26, 2007


The Corporate Value Of Untruthiness

The focus of the article below is not only on how much you have to lie to get ahead, but also on how much you may need to schmooze. David Shulman, author of From Hire To Liar: The Role of Deception in The Workplace, tells us "Everyone lies on the job. From the secretary on up to the highest executive, lying and deceiving is absolutely necessary to get your work done." He contends that deception is not "automatically counter-productive" and that it may even enhance productivity. The main point of lying is to put an upbeat face on everything you connected with. Shulman advises new hires to pretend that they learn more quickly than they really do, and never to ask a question even when the boss says, "Does anyone have any questions?" The pretense of having grasped the issue at hand will not only make you look good - it'll make your boss feel like a Master Explainer. Always present the status of any ongoing project in an optimistic light, and eschew the details.

If you need to ask questions of somebody - and you will - ask them of a colleague, but make sure to butter up that colleague so that he or she won't dis you to the boss. Or get defensive. "Blatantly kiss his ass," Shulman urges. Manipulate more experienced colleagues into doing the actual project for you (more or less) under the guise of simply teaching you the ropes. If anything goes wrong, pin the blame on the office scapegoat.

Shulman, a sociology professor at Lafayette College, apparently wrote this book to, ahem, "shine a light" on the value of untruthiness in any corporate career. As he says, "Everyday stuff like kissing up, taking too much credit, inventing problems just to create the impression that you're indispensable - these aren't big white-collar crimes. These are how people get ahead."


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