As I sat in those expansive auditoriums soaking up details about brain processes – particularly learning and memory – along with social implication of our actions, I became mesmerized by certain key words and concepts. In light of recent events (Robert McDonald, Brian Williams, Lance Armstrong, Bernie Madoff, and so many others), these processes put a strong-hold on me and held my attention and curiosity. In simplistic form…these processes include:
As I stared at these basics and even dug deeper into the process details, I could not help but wonder how – given the true biological way in which our brains operate – is it possible for an individual to encounter, experience, and recall, replay, or retell events in a much different way from how that specific event actually occurred.
Little white lies aside, I paused to ponder if there had ever been a time in my life when the relaying of a personal experience or observation had not been fact-based – not told exactly as it had occurred (and was verifiable by others). Had I ever been “motivated” to distort or fabricate facts (or the truth) of an event or situation? If so, what might have inspired me to do so – an ideal job, fame, friends, cash? Was that inspirational element worth the compromise of my principles, integrity or sense of self? Despite my desire to understand through personal experience, I was unable to uproot any examples.
Although distortions, miscommunications, misrepresentations, dishonesty – call it what you may – lurk and lie in wait…attempting to influence and impact many aspects of our lives – from sports to investing to journalism and even to government – much weighs heavily on how we present and represent ourselves – especially in the details we each choose to include on items such as our resume or CV (curriculum vitae).
As someone who has assisted others in job search preparation including market strategizing, search techniques, and particularly the gathering, compiling and presenting of work experience and details, I’ve never encounter distortions, fabrication or even deception (verifiable through job specific contact checks) on the part of those I’ve chosen as clients. Actually, my encounters have been just the opposite – my clients have consistently been reluctant or hesitant to even “boast” about or elaborate on their experiences and credentials. Oftentimes, when I’ve proposed a change in verbiage or a sentence realignment in order to convey a more engaging, powerful execution statement of their acquired or innate skill…they tended to cringe or express hesitancy in making and embracing the suggested change. When I’ve probed why, they’ve shared that it’s due to their commitment to be true to themselves and their understanding/perception of the positions they held rather than out of a fear of “being caught.”
Apparently, this type of response or behavior is not the “norm.” In a piece published on LinkedIn by Rob Wyse, he states that ”…lying on resumes is common.” In a study (2002) of 7,000 executive resumes conducted by a recruiter he worked with, “23% of executives misrepresented accomplishments” and “Of those that misrepresent them, 64% exaggerated accomplishments.”
Given this – along with the many recent (and ongoing) missteps by influential individuals that continue to permeate our culture – I wonder if deception has become a way of life…the “new norm”? If so, are we – as a society – willing to accept that type of behavior? How would we feel if a heart surgeon lied about his credentials; or a pilot (see Catch Me If You Can) about his flight skills and cockpit hours? Is that what we as a society are desirous of supporting, encouraging, and continuing? If not, how do each of us find our way to not only sharing our viewpoint but inspiring others to articulate fact-based narratives of the lives we experience and witness?
Maybe, as shared by Dr. Deborah Khoshaba in her article “Self-Deception: A Defense Against Vulnerability”…it’s okay for each of us to “relax”…and
“Enjoy being an everyday person. “…give yourself permission to be normal.”
Crafted, researched and written by: LIZ CARLOCK
The Write Resources, LLC™
© 2015 EM Carlock