“Reinforce a realistic reputation” – Futurist Jim Carroll
Futurist Jim Carroll is running a series that began November 27, 2023, and will end on January 1, 2024 – ’24 Strategies for 2024.’ Rather than running a trend series for the upcoming year as he has previously, this series will examine a number of his personal beliefs on how to best align yourself with the future. There will be a post each weekday, excluding weekends and holidays, until the series runs its course. You will find it on his blog at https://blog.jimcarroll.com, or on the website https://2024.jimcarroll.com
People see through hype. No one likes a blowhard. Reputations that don’t deliver always end up crashing and burning.
And ultimately, deceit fails.
2023 saw the bizarre situation of the ultimate defeat of the strange case of George Santos, an entirely fictional and embellished persona if there ever was one.! What was fascinating to many was not just the length of time in which he got away with it, but the ability of an entire group of people who seemed to be willing to either forgive him for his sins or let him get away with it. Think about how far we have come in our culture of normalizing deceit and fraud!
With this story dominating a lot of news throughout the year, it seems a good time to remind ourselves to double down on grounding ourselves when it comes to success. While the situation of the embellishment of personal background has always been true, the emergence of social media and our strange world of politics has made the situation of embellishment far worse – 2023 has made that clear. And after all, as you know, this is not just the ‘Santosization’ of deceit; in the last few years, there has been an ever-increasing number of news stories where someone has been caught padding, enhancing, or outright lying about their resume and background.
Indeed, social media, celebrity, influencer culture, and our world of bizarre politics seem to have made the situation worse. They have all had a pretty significant impact on how individuals present themselves – including this ongoing increase in the embellishment of facts. This is coming about because of an acceleration of the peer pressure that comes with these trends, and the instantaneity of information sharing. Peer connectivity drives deceit – it is all too easy to compare yourself to others, and in doing so, can enhance a feeling of ‘resume and skills inadequacy.’ The simple fact is that the emergence of the ‘influencer’ culture has led to the arrival of ‘personality superstars’ who seem to do everything right and absolutely nothing wrong, which certainly doesn’t match up to reality. And bottom line – you can certainly always feel inadequate when comparing yourself to these people!
How bad is the situation? A 2022 study from ResumeLab surveyed over 1,000 people and found that 36% of respondents admitted to lying on their resumes, and 93% said that they knew someone who lied. The most common areas of lying were job experience, skills, and job duties. Another survey reported that 70% of workers confess they have lied on their resumes, with 37% of those admitting that they lie frequently. The top lies told on resumes? Often, relatively ‘minor’ things such as embellishing job titles and responsibilities, exaggerating the number of people managed, and overstating the length of employment.
We live in the era of the viral success story, and everyone wants to achieve this goal. And yet invariably, if you go too, the inevitable crash and burn takes place.
There is nothing new here – except the fact that this embellishment and deceit culture seemed to come to a head in 2023. That’s why strategy #11 of my 24 Strategies for 2024 is to always reinforce a realistic reputation.
Essentially, given heightened expectations and accelerated peer pressure, wouldn’t it be a good time to reinforce a commitment to authenticity, honesty, reliability, and trustworthiness? Wouldn’t it be a good idea to double down on a personal or professional reputation that is grounded in reality?
This isn’t just a question of ethics and responsibility. You want to be seen as someone who can deliver, not boast. This involves being known as someone who can set realistic goals and expectations – that person who can clearly define what you can deliver and when you can deliver it. This involves developing a reputation for ensuring that your promises always align with your capabilities. It’s by consciously deciding to avoid the dreaded personal error of being known as that person who is always overpromising and underdelivering.
Honesty in communication is also critical; trust is paramount; transparency is key; owning up to mistakes at the moment things go wrong is critical. People will appreciate you more if you admit to your mistakes and failures when they happen – not long after the fact. Your ability to work with others to build that trust through action, not words, is what matters! You want to be known as someone dependable, honest, and who will always ‘do the right thing.’
Limiting self-promotion is also key – which can be particularly challenging in our new world of social-media-driven success judgment. Sometimes, modesty is the best course of action and can earn better results. Let people judge you on what you do – not what you tell them you do.
This might all come about as rather preachy – after all, we all try to live exemplary lives. But the bizarre situation that ultimately unfolded in 2023 showed the folly of our current success-driven culture, which made me think that going into this new year, a great strategy will be to double down on what we already know – it’s what we do that matters, not what we say we do.