[Originally published December, 2004.]
You lie for a living.
You’re not a bad person, not really, but telling the truth at your current company tends to get people fired.
And you can’t afford to be fired. You’re thirty seven, you’ve got three kids, you’ve got a big house to pay for, your wife would leave you within nanoseconds if the cashflow ever dried up, and it’s been well over over a decade since a cute, random girl in the street looked at you with anything even faintly resembling a sparkle in her eye.
Society only needs you because they need the product your company makes. Lose the job and you are no longer needed.
Without your job you’re just a mere stain.
So lying equals survival.
You have to lie because you have no other ideas about how not to be killed. How not to lose everything.
Lying replaced ideas long ago. Lying replaced great sex long ago. Lying relaced your marriage long ago. Lying replaced joy long ago.
Your lies became the painless cancer.
Yes, I’ve read your resume. Very impressive.
Look, I already said I’d get back to you next week.
Hugh, this is an incredible piece. It is painfully awesome; very evocative.
This has got to be one of the saddest blog posts I’ve ever read. The nihilistic underpinnings reflect a postmodern view of the world that offers no hope or solace to the human condition. If a psychological exercise, it could serve as a type of cleansing – ridding the mind of all the collective harm that prevents close, meaningful relationships. If a confession, then perhaps it’s the first step in the direction of wholeness.
Life requires certain levels of deception. Is lying always wrong?
Good lord, how depressing! Reminds me of the movie “American Beauty” you hit it on the nail though with spiritual malaise being the equivalent of a physical cancer.
“Most men leads lives of Quiet Desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them”. Sad but true. We have lost our direction. Hunt or Gather?
I think this may be my favorite cartoon of all… I have it on my myspace page.
Why would anyone lie? The truth is always more colorful.
Author: James Hall
A beautful and terrifying piece. Reminds me of T.S. Eliot’s repurposing of Dante’s line in “The Wasteland” while watching morning commuters:
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
I had not thought death had undone so many.
So, Hugh, will such “mind-forged manacles” dissolve as Organizational Man evolves into Wikinomic Man? What will cause the expendiency of lies to give way to the complexities of the truth? I’d like to believe in the rise of virtuous business (as I call it) but my crystal ball isn’t clear on this one.
I am trapped in a web of my own making. How do i escape something which is now part of my exact being? Why do you mock me so, Hugh!
Lies aren’tlies until the are discovered. Why do you want to uncover the truth. Some of us…most of us can’t handle the truth…HELP!
Sell the kids for organs, the wife into slavery, turn the house into a brothel, tell the boss where to stick his job and follow your dream to be a cartoonist. Anything else you need fixing?
Thank you so much, Hugh. My thoughts exactly. It’s been a little over two years since my wife died, and I still find it impossible for me to work for another company again full-time.
Too much has changed, and if there’s one thing I know, I’d rather be dead myself… than lie. It’s just not gonna happen.
Damn, am I lucky …
An absolutely spot-on description of too many careers. Those who are made uncomfortable by this post, need to read it again and treat it as a wake up call.
The only thing you didn’t mention is that changing course (not lying) requires a fresh start, usually in another industry, not just in another company.
It has been done, but it sure isn’t easy.
Ignoring the problem leaves you friendless and alone when your lies finally catch up with you.