Resume ethics

33% of all resumes may be fraudulent or lacking vital information.Note: I don’t do funny little funny marks over letters in words. This post will feature the American spelling of “resume.” That makes this post safe for all of us to enjoy. -Ed.

“A resume is advertising. You are marketing yourself.”

Marketing? I just threw up in my mouth a little. Isn’t marketing another word for “lies?”


Funny, but I’ve never lied on a resume. Perhaps it is my analytical nature. As a computer programmer (an unpaid hobby, to be sure) I deal with facts and logic. It is illogical to put anything on a resume that is not completely factual.

I’ve never even fibbed. Or exaggerated. Or used my most famous artistic license to embellish in some small, innocent way. Nope, that’s not how I roll.

I assume I am alone in this. I guess I get off on being different.

I happen to know a guy. He was born and raised in New Zealand, then moved to the United States. He lied on his resume about graduating from college. He got a job at a big entertainment company. One we’ve all heard of. He then jumped to a new entertainment company (one we’ve all heard of) and became a vice-president of one of their departments. He then jumped yet again, to a big entertainment company, where he is currently a senior vice-president. He has the all-American family. That’s 2.5 kids, a dog and a cat, drives a car worth more than my house (rented), a wrist-watch more valuable than my net worth, and lives in a mansion.

There’s a lesson in there somewhere, if one is willing to pay close attention. Be honest and lick boots. Lie through your teeth and get the keys to the kingdom. Dammit. I wish I could see the lesson!

A quick search of ye olde internet reveals a plethora of infomatums about resumes and honesty. I even found a site that advises you on seven lies you can (probably) get away with on your resume. Wow.

Many Human Resources staffers preach the dangers of lying on your resume, and they’re right to an extent.
–Unnamed internet source

To an extent? Here we see our old friend, “the ends justifies the means.” Also known as That Which Makes Business Go. You can take that “extent” and shove it where the sun don’t shine.

Not too surprisingly, my resume is a bit different than the average bear. No, I didn’t suffer from a spate of creativity and make it 3D, turn it into a Dungeons and Dragons character sheet, or use a layout evocative of the board game Life. It’s just plain boring text. Logical.

What I did do was take up valuable vertical real estate on the page to insert a single line of text, in large font and bold, that stakes my claim to ethics and integrity.

I know, I know. Most people who have seen this knee jerk and say, “Anyone who claims they are ethical probably isn’t.” Touche, touche! (Again, no little funny marks in my words.)

Naturally when someone comes up to you and says, “I’m not a liar,” you don’t believe them, do you? It’s a bit like “thou dost protest too much.” To believe someone who says such a thing about themselves would be extremely foolish. And yet, I saw fit to include a line about ethics in my resume. What does that make me? Hopeful? An optimist that my message will be received in a good way? Bah!

I don’t know why, but I think about things like ethics, values, and morality quite a bit. I often wonder how much the average person proactively thinks about things like this? I’m guessing it isn’t that much, unless the context is how to get away with doing the opposite. I imagine I think about such things more than most, but less than some. In fact, I actually consider myself a hobbyist ethicist. As an added bonus, such considerations and evaluation of the world around me make a wonderful font for my negativity.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I’m expert on the subject. In fact, that’s why I maintain my amateur status, just in case they decide to start an Olympics for something important, you know, something other than sports. The Olympics are a movement! And everybody needs one! (Kudos to Harry Shearer.) I want a chance to represent my country, too! (They do give out participant ribbons, don’t they?)

The other day, by chance, I overheard the boss and coworker discussing something, and it came up that the listing for the job we both applied for contained the word “ethical.” I didn’t remember that.

How odd, I said to myself. I did a little recap of some of the things I’ve seen this guy do with my very own eyes:

  • Create dummy companies, shipping drops and fake identities to purchase products
  • Deliberately lie on his website about product status as “in stock” so he can talk the customer into something else
  • Include a fake Photoshopped picture of his business on his website
  • Tell local customers that our facility is not retail (so please don’t stop by – we don’t like that)
  • Tell suppliers that our facility is retail so they will sell to us (even though we’re internet only)
  • Work on a project with his son to Photoshop a fake business license for the City (rather than buy one – luckily he got caught)

I guess it begs the question: What in the name of Zeus’ butthole does this guy consider ethical to mean?

I already know the answer: Anything which makes him money.

He actually considers himself a good person, good in his religion, and yes, ethical. As the resident atheist, he often turns to me for my opinion, which I share when asked. We’ve learned to agree to disagree. (With the added caveat on my side that I can also despise.)

Here’s the rub, though. If you are so unethical in a myriad of ways ingrained into your business, why in the name of Zeus’ butthole would you hire someone who claims, right on their resume, to be “ethical.” Someone who says, in the very placement of the word, that it is one of the most important things to know about them?

And then, after hiring that person, why would you then allow them to peek behind the curtain and see, in full glory, all of the shitty little unethical things that you do?

It doesn’t make sense. The only possible conclusion I can come up with is that it is intentional. It’s some sort of power-based mind fuck.

Or, as I call it, my job.

6 responses

  1. This post made me laugh, cry and immediately check my resume. I’m in the clear.


    1. I hate resumes. I hate interviewing. I hate eye contact. I hate firm handshakes. I hate filling out job application forms and signing that it’s okay for them to check my credit. I hate work. I hate jobs. I hate companies. I hate bosses. I hate being told what to do. I hate the fact that a human being who is a special blend of “moron” and “bad” gets to decide if I have food to eat and a roof over my head.

      That’s my motherfucking resume! Anyone got a job for me?


  2. Not that you asked on macs, for the accent aigu to which you refer:

    hold down option, type e

    then type e

    You’ve just placed an accent aigu on top of an e, like so: é

    Alternately, you can do it the stoopid way:

    Set your cursor where you want the letter > Edit > Special Characters (then there are a bazillion options for whatever speshul characters you wish for).

    I think he liked your ethical resumé because he thinks he is ethical. It’s like ex-BFF who claims she’s a good Xtian (we all know I use the X to denote my own opinion as “not so much” to “utter BS”) but will tell EVERYBODY to their face that whatever actions she takes, in whatever ways are to provide for her and her child. Everybody else doesn’t count.

    Baby Bejeebus cries when he hears this but it falls on deaf ears. She believes her “ethical” part is that she fucks people over on bad loans because it takes care of her kid. It’s also good that she’s usually gone and her young teenaged daughter is “babysat” by said teen’s boyfriends…because she’s out stealing money to provide for “family.” See? Stealing is right, lying is right, not being present for her kid is right…It doesn’t compute. If it did, they’d all change. They think it’s FINE.


    1. I love aigu. Especially with meatballs. 🙂

      I think you nailed it. I have no doubt my boss sees himself as good. The human brain is exceptional at rationalization and self-delusion. More than that, I’m sure he doesn’t see the examples I provided as “bad,” either.

      Let’s look at one in particular. The “in stock” thing. After he makes a sale, he hangs up the phone and announces to the office, “I just sold the XYZ from the ABC page where the product is listed as in stock. That’s a sale I wouldn’t have gotten.” I’m surprised he doesn’t have a giant gong he rings every time he makes a sale.

      On the surface, standing alone like that, what he just did doesn’t sound too bad, does it? Sure, it’s still lying, but it’s just a little white lie, right?

      On the other hand, the boss recently bought something on where a product was listed as “in stock.” The seller replied, apologized, but said he’d made a mistake and had run out. He had to cancel the order.

      Guess what the boss did? Yep. He left the guy bad feedback.

      As the boss explained: “I had a choice between two items. I was torn and I couldn’t decide. So I picked his. By the time I found out it wasn’t really available, the other item was already gone.”

      Wow. That sucks, doesn’t it?

      So you’re out hurting other people for making an honest mistake (by leaving negative feedback) for the exact same thing you do, routinely and deliberately as a strategy.

      What if you lived your entire life that way? What would you be?

      Somehow I think it’s not “good.”


  3. You have a fabulous blog! I want to award you the Brilliant Writer Blog Award for all the hard work you do!

    Go to and pick up your award.


    1. Thank you, Deirdra.


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