Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lying is Good

Yeah, you read that right.  Lying is good.  Just ask Casey Anthony.  Actually, don’t.  I’m sure the media will and she’ll make millions…  Ugh.  I don’t even want to talk about it.

I came here today to tell you a story, a story about lying, and how it can actually be a good thing.  

Lying is actually what got me into writing in the first place.  I owe a lot to lying.  Not my own, of course, but those of a “friend.”

Here’s my story.  You decide if it’s true or not.

Once upon a time I worked for a small company.  I was the HR person which meant I got to interview everyone who passed through our doors.  Well, one day, this pretty young woman comes in to interview for an Executive Assistant job, supporting our CEO, our Chairman of the Board, all our top execs.  I asked about her college background because there was none on her resume.  She said she attended one of the Seven Sisters, but had mistakenly left it off her resume.  Word processing issues, you know.  (Boy, do I know.)

She interviewed with our execs and they LOVED her.  They hired her on the spot, despite the fact that I could not reach any of her references.  When asked about it, she said one was on his yacht in the Mediterranean.  Another was in treatment for a terminal disease.  (You see where this is going, don’t you?)

They hired her anyway.  She became a very important part of our small company, with access to all our records, all our financials, everything.  She was pretty, she was charming, she even got our Chief Operating Officer to say, “If I ever have a daughter, I’m going to name her after you!”    Wow.  I chalked it up to a comment the girl made to me once, “Well, the COO and I are tight.  We get high every weekend at her apartment.”  TMI, right?  

She was willing to share other things with us, too.  About her upcoming wedding at Trinity Church in Boston – and if anyone knows Trinity, they know it’s booked years in advance because it is STUNNING.  She was planning her reception at the Ritz Carlton.  Her family was wealthy and from the seashore, dahling.  

Then, one day, she abruptly gave her notice.  She said she was going to pursue her Masters degree at Tufts.  I was impressed, as we all were.  That got me thinking.  Here she was, a young woman with all her options laid out before her.  She was quitting her boring day job to go back to school and pursue her passion.  What bravery!  

 I thought about my own life.  Here I was, stuck in a job I didn’t love.  I loved the people – even her – but I didn’t love what I did.  So I said, “Hey, I’m going to do that too!”  and I applied to the Writing Program at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

Then the other shoe dropped.

The woman who had inspired me to pursue my dreams got fired before her notice was even up.  Turns out, she was embezzling.  A LOT.  She was disclosing proprietary information.  She was doing bad things.  The Board demanded a full investigation.  Here’s what it turned up:

  • She had been fired from all previous jobs for similar activities.
  • Her parents had a lawyer on retainer, just to handle her infractions.
  • She never graduated from college, nor from the preparatory school she said she attended.
  • She never worked for the multinational peacekeeping body, as listed on her resume.
  • She was never engaged.  There was no Trinity Church.  There was no Ritz Carlton.
  • Her parents were remarkably average.
  • And, of course, there was no grad school.
Luckily for me, the stars aligned just right and a layoff loomed.  Our Chairman of the Board sat me down and said that if my passion was writing he would certainly help pave the way for that.  He paid for my first course in my Masters program, then “eliminated” my position, with a nice severance package.  

Two years later, I walked across the stage to collect my Masters degree.

All of this came from a lie, a lie that inspired me.  I still shake my head at the thought.  Amazing.

How's THAT for a story?