How naive I was when I wrote that post - I hadn't given alot of thought to the possibility that numerous people have managed to parlay meaningless pieces of paper into gainful employment, let alone positions of authority. But I guess it makes sense, doesn't it? I've never come across bullshit degrees in the U.S. but I've run into more than 20 in Sand Land. Large numbers of people wouldn't continue to plunk down hundreds (or thousands) of dollars for fake credentials if they didn't see a return.
So, in response to the emailers and commenter, let's play a game I learned in Sunday School.
[That's a sentence I never thought I'd write.]
Way back in the days when my parents forcibly dragged me to church multiple times a week, my Sunday School class often played a game called "What Would Jesus Do?" Or WWJD for short. We would sit in a circle on the floor and snack on Cheez-It's and Kool-Aid. One by one, kids would describe a problem or dilemma they were facing. Then they would say "WWJD?" At which point the listeners would debate what Jesus Christ would do if faced with the same situation. The ability to recite mad quantities of Bible verses from memory was key to getting your peers to buy in to your suggested course of action. So basically my thoughts never counted for shit...but anyway...I'm not bitter. Really.
For purposes of our "Would Would You Do" game, please use the comments section of this post to tell our advice seekers how you have handled (or would handle) the issue of bosses/co-workers with fake degrees in your workplace.
|To squeal or not to squeal?
(Disclaimer: I am not a seasoned HR professional. All of my training and most of my work experience is in an unrelated field but my current job requires me to spend a good deal of time blundering through all things HR. If you want the opinion of a respected HR pro, you might consider sending a query to someone like the Evil HR Lady):
The 5 year-old tattletale in me screams "Bust those fakers!" For those of you who have sacrificed time and tuition money to earn bona fide credentials, you have a right to be pissed when people use fake degrees to weasle their way into the same or better job. A fake degree is a time bomb on a resume and, in my opinon, an imposter deserves to have it blow up on them.
However, my jaded, office-politics savvy self says keep your indignation in check and tread carefully. This is a serious accusation to level against someone. Before I contemplated saying anything to anyone, I would need to be 10,000% sure the credential in question is bogus - not simply from an obscure school I've never heard of. If I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the degree was crap, I would still think long and hard about the following considerations:
1. Is this faker a high performer who's exceeding expectations? Yeah, I know that's unlikely but if it's the case, the powers that be might not care about the faker's dubious academic background (assuming the faker is not masquerading as a doctor, attorney or other licensed professional).
2. What is the faker's position in office hierarchy? Are they very tight with the company's owners or top-level management. If they're a sacred cow, be aware that you're taking a big risk by ratting them out. Nepotism and personal connections play a bigger role in the Sand Landian work place than any other place I've seen. Outing someone with influence could backfire on you. No, it's not fair, but that's reality.
3. Would the people in power at your company be upset by an employee with a fake degree? Are you sure they understand what a degree mill is?
4. What is the risk to your company if it becomes public knowledge that the faker has a bogus degree? Again, if this is someone claiming to a be a licensed professional, it could be quite a scandal. If your company deals closely with firms from abroad (particularly western countries), employees with fake degrees may tarnish your company's credibility. But if it's a small, Mom and Pop enterprise, the risk to the company is less.
Without firsthand knowledge of your work situations and office culture, it's impossible for me to give you quality advice. The points I've raised are general things I'd consider before calling someone out. Best of luck, whatever you decide.
Ok, party people: You just discovered someone in your office has a fake degree - WWYD?