Emending Resume May Be Enough To Make Amends

By Wendy Belzberg

Published January 23, 2004, issue of January 23, 2004.
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I have an exemplary employee who has been with me for four years. He is an overachiever, a perfectionist and a lovely presence in the office; I have found him at all times to be honest and ethical. It has come to my attention, however, that he lied on his resume. He claims to have an MBA when he does not. Now what?

— Ethical degrees

There is no gray area when it comes to lying on one’s resume. That said, not all lies are created equal (but please don’t tell my children I said so). Your employee does not sound like a serial prevaricator. His duplicity may have been the product of a temporary lapse in judgment or sanity. If there is room for a second chance in your line of work, I would offer him one. If he comes clean and shows remorse, he should rewrite his resume, resend it to the employees in the office noting the correction and be forgiven his past sins. If he fails to come clean, he has paved his own route — out the front door, stapler and pencil sharpener in hand.

* * *

My brother lives in the same town as my father and is on the front line when it comes to my father’s medical needs. My dad is a diabetic and in the past year had his foot amputated. My brother signed off on the procedure without even consulting me. I just learned that my father will be having his entire leg amputated next week. When I questioned the need for this operation, my brother informed me that he is the one who takes care of my dad so he is entitled to make the decisions.

— Sidelined by sibling

Am I the only one who hears a singsong “nah nah nah” after your brother’s proclamation? Sounds to me like your brother is pretty peeved. Is he resentful that he is carrying the lion’s share of responsibility for your dad, or is his anger something carried over from your childhoods? Either way, it is time to address what is really bothering him. You may have to make monthly visits to your father’s bedside if you want to be a partner in his medical decisions. While you’re there, a little laying-on of hands with your brother is also in order. Your father’s bedside should not be a battlefield for either childhood hurts or grown-up resentments. No one is served by your brother’s hoarding of information and decision-making — least of all your dad.

* * *

My entire family is going away together on vacation. My father has offered either to buy my airplane ticket or to give me the cash equivalent. It’s about $6,000, which is a significant amount of money to me. Is it rude to take the cash?

— Flights of fancy

No ruder than it is for your father to offer it. Your father’s terms make it more appealing not to join the family vacation, which makes me wonder about the nature of your relationship. Is he secretly hoping that you will take the cash instead? This is not the equivalent of saying to a bride that she can have a wedding or a $100,000 check. If you don’t care about missing the family reunion, the right thing to do is to politely decline both offers. But since that wasn’t your question, my advice is this: Don’t sell yourself short. Are you worth only $6,000, or do you think you could get your father to pay you more not to attend? Think about it before you accept his offer. If family vacations are a regular occurrence, you soon may have a profitable business.

Write to “Ask Wendy” at 954 Lexington Avenue #189, New York, N.Y. 10021 or at wendy@forward.com.

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