To say that the job market is tight is the understatement of the last half-century. If you are fortunate enough to be earning a salary, think carefully before you do so something that could turn your paycheck into unemployment benefits. In other words, we strongly advise you to be above board with your managers. If you are caught in a lie, you may never again be viewed as a trusted employee. Depending upon the nature of the falsehood, this perspective could impact your promotion, your bonus, or even result in your termination.
A few classic scenarios to avoid are as follows:
Fudging information relating to your career history. One of our clients had interviewed with a Fortune 500 firm. Prior to the interview, this IT professional was told to complete a form detailing his entire work history. Explaining honestly to the HR manager that his memory of his earlier jobs was blurry in terms of dates and accuracy of company names, he added that his prior positions had no bearing on the job for which he was interviewing. He was told not to worry, and to fill out the application to the best of his ability. A few days later, our client tendered his resignation with his current company because he had received an offer of employment from the corporate giant. Before he could assume his new position, the same HR manager contacted him to tell him that the offer had been rescinded as a result of a background investigation. The Fortune 500 firm, which was heavily regulated by the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission), viewed the inconsistencies on our client’s application as falsehoods, thus constituting a breach of regulatory compliance.
Disguising days off as sick leave. Every year, at the official opening of the public beaches, traffic flows heavier toward the shore and lighter into areas of commerce. Among those flocking to soak up the sun are numerous employees who have “called out sick.” Employers are as wise to this annual migration to the shore as they are to workers who cite illnesses as a means of extending their holiday season. For the sake of your career, it is far better to plan ahead for your time off than to be exposed as a liar.
Padding your expense account. Gone are the days when companies gave carte blanche to employees required to entertain clients and/or travel for business. With every employer’s belt tightening, be prepared to have your expense account examined closely. Support your business-related expenses with receipts for every meal, trip to the gas station, and ticket to the theater. Whatever you were thinking of pilfering from your employer, it will never equate to the salary and professional reputation that you risk.
Keep in mind that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. If you behave less than honestly with your employer, you will reap unpleasant and perhaps disastrous consequences.