You'd have to be crazy to lie on your resume’ these days. It's so easy for others to use a search engine like Google, Bing, or Yahoo! to check that resume. So who would try to sneak a lie past them? The CEO of Yahoo!
Recently, Yahoo! CEO Scott Thompson was caught with a little too much creativity on his resume’. How did he think he could get away with it? Besides, as the CEO of Yahoo!, the better he made the company, the greater were the chances his lie would be discovered. Does he arm-wrestle with himself, too?
What was that grandiose lie on Thompson's resume’? He claimed that he had gotten a degree in Computer Science from Stonehill College. Stonehill College? I'm sure that's a fine school, but is that the one you'd choose if you were going to risk your future with a lie?
Last year, authorities discovered that Yale's football coach, Tom Williams lied on his resume’. Coach Williams had said that he had been a finalist for a Rhodes scholarship. It turned out that the coach had never been a Rhodes Scholar candidate, or even an applicant. What was he thinking? "There's no way anybody could possibly find out that I'm making up this little Rhodes Scholar thing?"
In a particularly odious episode, during Richard Blumenthal's 2010 campaign for Senator in Connecticut, he claimed he had served in Vietnam. This was exposed as a lie during the campaign.
Remember Michael "Way To Go Brownie" Brown, the FEMA director during Katrina? His resume’ stated that he had been a political science professor at the University of Central Oklahoma. School officials said he was never a member of the faculty. This revelation was quite disturbing, since everything else about Brown seemed so exemplary.
So why do people do this when the odds are so much against keeping their secrets secret? I'll bet most of them could still do fine without padding their resume’s. All right, forget about "Brownie" – if you can. Scott Thompson had proved he could be a successful CEO before Yahoo! Richard Blumenthal won his election even after he was caught lying about serving in Vietnam. So why do they do it?
I don't think saying they want to get caught is the whole picture. I think it's more that they want there to be the possibility of getting caught. Maybe in this sit-behind-a-desk-all-day world, this is the kind of thrill some people have found to replace the physical thrills of yesteryear. They aren't going to wrestle a grizzly bear before their morning latte, so they lie about where they went to school. They aren't going to win the one they love in a duel while waiting for the car's GPS to be fixed, so they lie about fighting in a war. They aren't going to fight off a python and save a kid's life after their wine tasting class, so they claim, well, they claim they fought off a python and saved a kid's life. For them, their bravery is tested on the battlefield of the internet. Like with most famous warriors, they know the odds are against success. That's probably what makes the fight so exciting.
I'll never be tempted to lie on a resume’ just so I can see if I can beat internet search engines. I don't need a substitute for physical bravery. For the last two years, I've been getting my rush from fighting amateur boxing matches. So far, I'm eight and two, nine and one if you count the controversial Lopez decision. Think I made that up? Well, I just can't imagine how you could check on me.