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Boss asks you to lie. Would you?

August 11, 2009

I’ve commented on this before but I saw something yesterday that reminded me how real this is.

The phone rings. Its your supplier. Is the payment ready? he asks. Can he come by to pick up the check tomorrow as promised?

Your boss overhears your conversation and gestures at you silently. “Yes, yes,” he lipsyncs, “Tomorrow 3 o’clock!”

You know very well that’s not gonna happen because the accountant is away and no one can issue checks but her. But this is the 3rd time this supplier had called this week.

So do you lie to the caller as instructed and go home relieved that you’re in your boss’s good books?

Or do you tell the truth, go home with a clean conscience and find yourself searching for another job in a month’s time?

If you are an employee, there’s a few universal criteria on keeping your job. One of ’em is to be “resourceful” or be able to think on your feet. Yep, finding clever ways of getting out of sticky situations.

You’ll learn that sometimes it means telling clients what they want to hear. Once you successfully get them off your back using this technique, its easier to repeat it the 2nd and 3rd time. Soon, you get the hang of being “resourceful.”

And then you start sliding down the slippery slope.

You’ve been reminded a few times. Over here, everyone’s measured by the co’s bottom line, not by how many truths and untruths you tell. The company doesn’t care how you do your job, only that you get it done.

Its the dilemma of a lot of honest people in the workforce.

Do I bend the truth and live to fight another day?

Or do I tell the truth, get labeled “unresourceful” and be doomed to a future of licking stamps?

Now if you are an entreprenuer, you’ll appreciate the advantage of being known as an honest businessman.

The only thing you gotta do is figure out is who’s likely to score with the client first. Is it the businessman who honestly says, “I think I can get it done in a week. I can’t promise you but I’ll try my best,” or the one that confidently says, “Sure, I’ll get it done in a week!” and then apologize later for being late.

Remember in a dog eat dog world, the golden rule is sign the contract first. Worry about how to deliver later.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 11, 2009 8:38 am

    Just wanted to say HI. I found your blog a few days ago on Technorati and have been reading it over the past few days.

  2. August 11, 2009 8:28 pm

    Good post. I think it depends on how desperate you are to cling on to the job. If you got nothing to lose, I bet you will prefer to be honest and go find another job. But if you are desperately holding on……then you’ll do whatever you are told to do and in this case, be “resourceful”.

    And if you’re a professional who uses your very own name to do stuff….that’s even worse.

    It is tough when you’re put in a spot to choose between breaking your principles or your rice bowl. Most would opt to be “practical” and just do what the system wants them to do. Those who prefer to keep their principles need to be prepared to stand up on their own, and remember not to adopt the same practices when they become company owners themselves.

  3. August 12, 2009 10:30 pm

    Ahaha… our boss used to say, “I don’t tell you to lie. Just don’t tell the customer the truth….”

    When I was working, I used pass such calls directly to my supervisor without asking him. One day he asked me why and I told him I’m such a bad liar they will know if I try. 🙂

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