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Thread: Should I lie about having a 4 year degree?

  1. #1
    Tangent's Avatar
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    Should I lie about having a 4 year degree?

    I am dealing with a serious moral and ethical dilemma here.

    I went to a 2 year state community college back in the early 90's part time then went on to a 4 year college but got sick and had to drop out. I stubbornly tried to keep going to school despite my medical problems but failed a bunch of classes and dropped a few and my college transcript looks like a mess. I should note that I ended up involved in a class action suit against the company that made me ill in the first place and it took me a few years to recover, which is why I had to drop out as a senior and went so long not going back to school.

    Eventually, in the early 2000's, I went back to the 2 year school and transferred my credits from the 4 year school to cobble together an Associates Degree in 2001. This is in mass communications/broadcasting and I have many years working on television newscasts and master control under my belt now.

    I technically have a senior standing at the 4-year school and want to go back to finish, but I need to work in the mean time.

    Right now on my LinkedIn I have it so it looks like I went to a 2 year school for 2 years and graduated with an associates degree, then went on to a 4 year school for another three and graduated with a Bachelors degree. All nice and neat. (four year degrees often take five years to get these days)

    I want to apply to bigger broadcast facilities in bigger cities that pay more, but it will still only be around 36K per year starting out (around $17 per hour.) Part of me thinks that an AS degree should be good enough and that such a modest salary doesn't require a 4 year degree, but I don't want to sell myself short. I want to look as good as possible to a respective employer.

    Obviously, my greatest fear is that they will check with my schools to see the dates I attended and what degrees I have, but I've never had a TV news station bother to check before. I seriously doubt a 36K per year job warrants such a check, but you never know. I don't even know how an HR department goes about getting this info from a school.

    The places I now want to apply to aren't local TV news stations, though, they are huge broadcasting facilities that originate a lot of different channels and live events and have dozens of master control stations and control rooms. I'm very well qualified to do the job and my experience speaks for itself, but I don't want to take the chance of being passed over because I only have a 2 year degree.

    I don't want to sound conceited but I really am good at my job and have always been a dedicated employee, so I don't think a little white lie here and there would be unfair to an employer, I'm worth the investment. I love working with technical equipment and satellites and the thrill of live broadcasts gives me wood.

    So what do you guys think? Anyone ever fib a little about their college careers?

  2. #2
    Vic Ferrari's Avatar
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    You know the right answer from an ethical and moral standpoint so I don't have to tell you what I think there.

    From a professional standpoint, I'd also warn against fudging the degree. You've got the chops, you don't need more than the 2 year degree AND if you fake it, you've got to spend the rest of your time covering your tracks, which is virtually impossible, and not focusing on opportunities. Faking a degree means that the next opportunity has to be passed up because THEY may check even though your current employer didn't.

    It's not worth 36 grand to go through that AND I doubt they'll care, anyway.

    If you want the paper, enroll in school and get it done while you're working. Trust me, it's a huge pain in the ass but you have too much on the line to let a short-cut screw you 3 years from now because some fellow employee that wants your job decides to do a little investigating to undermine you.

    Broadcasting is a cut throat business, don't give them the knives to use on you.

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    Tangent's Avatar
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    I'm thinking that I could just put the associates degree in 2001 and leave out that I tried to even go to a 4 year school at all. That would still be a lie of omission, though.

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    Calloway's Avatar
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    At one of the engineering firms that I worked at early in my career, we had a new guy start who said he had 3 degrees. Turns out the guy was a big BS'er, and ended up rubbing management the wrong way. They checked, and it turned out he didn't have a single degree to his name. They promptly fired his ass.

    But because of him, management went ahead and checked up on EVERYONE else working there. One of the owners came out and told us this in a meeting, and told us that the rest of us checked out fine, and he just wanted to let us know.

    They also changed the official hiring policy after this guy. They started checking into backgrounds of potential new hires before making an offer.

    And I was only making about 38K at this time.

    So, you can see the salary you're getting doesn't really factor into it, and it might not be anything you do that causes your boss or HR department to look into your background.

    I know one thing for a fact. If I had been lying, the owners would have fired me on the spot. As a matter of fact, they were all set to hire another guy about 4 months later, did the background check, found out he had an Associates instead of a Bachelors (as stated on his resume) and they turned him down. My boss told him in the phone call where he turned him down that if he had been honest and said he had an Associates degree, they would have made him an offer. We had other people working there who had Associate degrees, so that wasn't a problem.

    The problem was he lied.

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    mongolking's Avatar
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    Seems to me that if one is prepared to lie to gain advantage, fiddling a resume to secure a few thousand is a tad unambitious. Why not try credit-card fraud, cheque kiting and selling stock in non-existent companies? Or to appreciate a master, look at Bernie Madoff!

  6. #6
    xtc's Avatar
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    It sounds like you have some actual work experience under your belt. Given this, your formal education is much less important.

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    realworld's Avatar
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    say you studied and didnt finished the last year(s) because of employment.
    example : Bsc, Msc (thesis not handed because of employment opportunity)

    you re not lying, you have a professional excuse.

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    Sam I Am's Avatar
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    shit... my ex-wife didn't finish college and *allegedly* was short 9 hours.

    She still puts up that she graduated with a Bachelor's ...

    She's had 4 or 5 different jobs since "graduating college" and apparently not a single swinging dick has ever asked to see her actual fucking lambskin... (maybe they all showed her THEIR lambskins, know what i'm saying?)

    i'm not recommending anything other than being totally honest, because that's what a man of character and integrity does.
    .. except for the situation where you're 'overqualified', in which case, i wouldn't be above forgetting to mention that you have a PhD when you're trying to get the only job hiring (Wal-Mart and Home Depot, etc.)

    my 2 cents.

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    Gromnir's Avatar
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    Do NOT lie, it is only a matter of time before you get caught. With the way everything is on the internet now, something like this could follow you for years. A reputation takes a long time to build but can be destroyed very quickly. You really don't want any skeletons in the closet.

    Omitting your attempt at a 4 year degree isn't a problem in and of itself, but depending on your employment during those years it could leave a big gap in your history. You could put your Associate degree and then list additional coursework that is relevant to your field. I think it is no problem to omit things from a resume (such as Sam I Am's example of leaving off your PhD), but don't add things that aren't real.

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    Calloway's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam I Am View Post
    ...and apparently not a single swinging dick has ever asked to see her actual fucking lambskin...
    From what I understand from my former boss, that company called the schools directly that we listed on our resumes, asked to speak to the Registration office, and asked if anyone with name "XXX" had ever graduated under major "YYY". If so, what year. If they had to pay a fee for the information, they did.

    After that first fiasco with that one employee, they were very serious about finding out each of our backgrounds.

    I had been there for almost 4 years at this point, had even been over to my boss's house, and had even come in on a Saturday (on my own time) and helped them move offices once. My boss admitted, on more than one occasion, that he trusted me and my work.

    And they still did a thorough background search on me.

    It just takes one bad apple to make your company examine the rest of the bunch. That's just one more price of doing business in this day and age.

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    Tangent's Avatar
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    Yeah you guys convinced me not to do that. I appreciate your clarity of thought.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tangent View Post
    I'm thinking that I could just put the associates degree in 2001 and leave out that I tried to even go to a 4 year school at all. That would still be a lie of omission, though.
    Sorry to comment rather late, but simply leaving out your attempt to complete a 4 year course seems reasonable to me. I don't think anyone will give a shit about a gap from the 1990's if you've had recent study/work experience. If they ask, you can simply tell them you were ill during that period.

    Faking a degree is a completely different matter. Be honest and say you have an associates degree.

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    Tangent's Avatar
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    Yup. The point is I don't want it to look like I even tried to get a 4 year degree and failed and am very proud to have worked for an associates degree. It makes me seem like less of a screw up that way.

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    hotloader's Avatar
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    Socially (and sometimes professionally when it's warranted) I lie about my level of education. I'm self-employed though, so it really doesn't matter. Occasionally I feel like I've got to lie about my education to a customer before a deal is closed, even though my trade doesn't require any type of schooling or degree. In certain social settings I'll lie just in order to avoid a million questions. My situation is pretty unique though because I didn't even finish high school. I actually dropped out my sophomore year. This fact doesn't really jibe too well with the quality of life that I've got and the level of articulateness that I present, so when it becomes known it raises more questions than I usually care to answer. In my business it's not uncommon for many young male entrepreneurs to get a head start on their career at a young age as soon as possible. School isn't really important to us, and essentially becomes a waste of time after a certain age. Regular people just don't understand that, so it's much easier just to lie and tell em' I got a degree in business or marketing or whatever at a state school and leave it at that. Better to fit in and be a chameleon in that regard.

    When you're talking about lying to a prospective employer like the OP, you're taking a huge risk if they actually cross-reference with the school. The worst thing that could happen would be getting shit-canned and losing the reference though. If it's worth the risk and you know you can do the job with your level of education, I'll play devil's advocate here and say "fuck it". Go for it. Being in business since I was in my late teens, I can tell you from experience that every employer out there (including myself) is breaking one or two "rules" on a daily basis. If they aren't they're not gonna be in business for very long, I can tell you that.

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    RamblinWreck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam I Am View Post
    shit... my ex-wife didn't finish college and *allegedly* was short 9 hours.

    She still puts up that she graduated with a Bachelor's ...

    She's had 4 or 5 different jobs since "graduating college" and apparently not a single swinging dick has ever asked to see her actual fucking lambskin... (maybe they all showed her THEIR lambskins, know what i'm saying?)

    i'm not recommending anything other than being totally honest, because that's what a man of character and integrity does.
    .. except for the situation where you're 'overqualified', in which case, i wouldn't be above forgetting to mention that you have a PhD when you're trying to get the only job hiring (Wal-Mart and Home Depot, etc.)

    my 2 cents.
    Wish I had left off I was working on my MS with some job applications. Wendy's was one of the places that wouldn't hire someone with a BS (much less someone currently in grad school). I was barely scraping by as a Graduate Assistant and desperately need some money to, you know, eat food, and I needed a job that was pretty throw-away (part-time, no outside responsibilities). Looking back, universities abuse the hell out of their students - there's no way in hell I'd go back and teach 4 lab sections with a full class load myself.

    Oh, and to OP. Don't lie. Never know when you might have that dream job at Notre Dame lined up and everything comes crashing down. Granted, George O'Learly is now doing pretty damn well for himself at UCF, but he'll NEVER coach at Notre Dame due to his resume scandal. (Not that I'm bitter or anything that he left Georgia Tech...bastard...)

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    Octavian's Avatar
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    OP.

    Here's the truth. You're a man, which means at some point you can expect someone WILL want to take you down at the workplace.Either because the guys a douchbag, or because he's a foot soldier for a scorned woman.

    The phrase " anything you say can and will be used against you" comes to mind.I've seen folks fired who did everything by the book.If you lie about your background, it's a termination waiting to happen. Someone looking to toss you on the street has an instant means to do just that.All it takes is one phone call to the university -my academic conduct office actually has a publicly accessable directory, so all one need do is directly call the VP of Academic Conduct.

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