Monday, February 27, 2006


Recently, CEO of RadioShack Mr. David J. Edmondson was fired because he lied in his resume that he had two degrees when he has none. He joined the company in 1992 with false resume and as a severing package he was given a million dollars. (CNN) The company was having nonprofits for past 2 years and he announced a two-year turn around plan, which the board was not convinced of.

Now the interesting question that comes to our mind is, did the board ignore (or pleasantly over looked) the facts for 14 long years.

Why was the “stretching the truth” or more correctly “almost true” or “a little while lie” over looked in this pre-employment educational background verification? That too, in a country where information is structured and every citizen has an SSN. One phone call to the college where this guy claims to have studied would have given them a clear idea. Right?

Just a passing remark in this context; how many of the software guys, with genuine education credentials got visa refusals at US consulates of Chennai/Mumbai, just because the colleges don’t have OLIVE (OnLIne VErification)?

Are the rules for CEOs and ordinary blokes different?

The answer lies in the two critical factors.

1) Figures
2) Aura

Let me explain further.

Figures: The cash flow in the case of the CEO. If you had read the fine print, the company is facing loss for past two years and board was not interested in his plan for turn around. Hence they needed an excuse to fire him.

As long as the ‘deliverables’ are met, no one is bothered about the credentials.

Aura: Though a loaded term, I prefer to use it. This guy was given a million dollar package, for what? He had that charm (or the aura) to take with him half the company and had the brains (or was it a image projected to the board) to compete with them. Board found it to be prudent to pay him off, so that he doesn’t cause any damage to them.

How to apply it to our careers in our own little sphere of influence?

As mentioned earlier, we too need to take care of the following.

1) Never be under the impression that we are indispose able.

Whether it is CEO or the Managing Director, as long as it is not “your own” company/organization, you are at the mercy of the management. There are cases where even the best CEO was shown the door. Remember Steve Jobs was sent out from his “own” Apple for a while. That is a different story, that he was called back and he Apple to the place where it is now.

So, every three months make a survey of your own marketability and always have a backup option.

Note: When trying to have a backup option, never do that for the home city you are in. Say you are in Chennai and want to have a backup option, then always have an offer ready from Noida or Gurgaon. It has two fold advantages.

i) If you keep on putting all the companies in your home town on hold/backup, you will be left with no other company as choice, say after 3 yrs to join. As you have exhausted all the options locally and have to relocate to some other city.
ii) With an far-off city as an option, you can always give a “genuine” reason to companies in your city to join them, instead of a better package offer from distant land.

2) Build our own figures.

Whether you are a CEO or a code coolie, let the figures talk. (Management likes more of tables and charts, than monologues.)

i) Just always take a note of no. of hours you work, not the mandatory 8 hrs you fill in the time sheets. Have something of your own.
ii) Have something to say like “delivered 3 modules, with 8.7 m LoC, with 110 bugs (no critical bug, of course), delivered with in stipulated 20 man-months.

3) Build our own aura.

Always build an aura around you. There are those who just talk/baffle with technical jargon, with no tangible output, but considered to be technically “sound”. I am not suggesting you to join that bandwagon, but nevertheless, have some aura.

i) Participate in any technical discussion organized at practice or unit level.
ii) Always volunteer to give a “talk” or conduct a “workshop” on your technology/domain of choice.
iii) Contribute something to your “in-house” newsletter or be a part of “that” group that produces “white papers”. (Even if you firmly believe that the technical white paper is worth less the paper printed on, contribute.)

In other words, be “visible”.

4) Be honest about resume.

No harm in telling the truth that you were jobless. It is a known fact. Also if all are employed, how can Naukri/Dice survive?

Even, if you get a lower pay or slow promotion, you need not be under the constant threat of losing job due to the “fakes” you used to get hold of job. Also, that fear can hinder your performance, eventually leading to your ouster.

All the best!!


Raju said...

Hey good advice buddy

- this figures and aura thing is all true, have seen it work.

But Resume - Well I don’t think honesty is the best policy here


Jokes apart, I think faking is an art, as long as u know what to fake and what not to, u r a winner.

Definitely faking degrees is no good boss!

Kishore said...

Its too good...again lal salam for you write up

we will ask every soft coolii..has to to read this

atleast he will feel some thing Real news right...??

Pavan said...

Hey, the point (2) is really good on building own figures, generally resumes don't give such information.

People for that matter code coolie's in your terms have to be first educated for marketing them, resume preparation is one such tool for themselves.

The next time anyone prepares for marketing themselves, all 4 points are very much good enough to make their way out.

Keep spreading the word to all!!!

Anonymous said...

i appreciate ur observation of the trend in the industry..but then somewhere it is giving me a feeling that you are either vexed with the industry and seen it all from the closer perspective or u might be a victim of the same..and now learnt the tricks of the trade..whichever.. truly made me think on those lines..

Bhale Budugu said...

good post buddy...