Honesty in the workplace

Several times I’ve missed out on raises and/or promotions due to what was recently referred to as my “unfortunate candor.” In other words, I wouldn’t lie. I would refuse to answer questions, switch topics or simply say that it’s not something I can discuss at this time, but I’ve always refused to outright lie. As a result, my career has suffered. How, as faithful Catholics, can or should we alter our morality to align with what may be required in order to advance professionally?

I dont think there is a way to stop it, you either stick to our guns or drop your morals and join the crowd…but its important to remember Jesus did warn us, many would be tortured, imprisoned, and killed because of him (due to them being a christian), its only going to get worse too, eventually it will be a crime to be a christian, what will you do then…Id say many will give in, just so they can keep their jobs, income, homes, etc. in the end, they will have been more concerned with ‘mans laws’ when they should have worried more about God laws, and not denying their faith when the road got rough.

Lie about what?

And as far as candor, there are ways to say things and then there are ways to say things.

A variety of things, although nothing that would pose any legal issues. The most recent one, which brought about the candor comment, wasn’t due to how I said something but due to the fact that I refused to say things that weren’t true (it was an either/or type thing, either make false statements or refuse and not reap the rewards). I’ve worked with plenty who don’t have the same moral hangups and many of them now make 2-3 times what I do.


If the boss asks you for your opinion of Bob’s proposal, you shouldn’t say, “It rots! It’s full of holes and I can’t believe Bob still has a job here,” when you could say, “It’s not Bob’s best work, but I think it has potential if we make a couple changes,” even if it does rot.

Don’t martyr yourself. Discretion is often the better part of valor.

I’ve written hundreds of reviews. I’m very good at tactfully relaying a person’s shortcomings and failures. What’s in question is situations where someone offers a promotion or raise but only if I’m willing to flagrantly lie either about myself or to others. I guess another way of looking at it would be to ask if professional dishonesty could ever be justified, particularly in a case where the benefits of doing so would literally turn one’s fortunes entirely around.

I don’t know anything about your situation, but we were warned that we may have to suffer for our faith. It’s not going to get any easier, I’m afraid. But staying strong will be worth it in the long run.

You are doing the right thing. Unfortunately, we can’t expect our rapidly disintegrating culture to appreciate it though.

That’s one of the frustrating things it that, early on in my career, I was rewarded for my honesty several times. Now it seems to be much more of a detriment.

As in someone offers you a raise if you take credit for . If you’re not taking credit from someone else , then do it. Maybe the boss wants to reward you but needs something to write into your file.

I would suggest meeting with your priest or asking your Confessor about what to do when these situations come up.

I’m wondering if the issue is more related to scrupulosity or some kind of other rigid moral approach that isn’t practical or necessary. :shrug:

My biggest practical concern has been that getting caught after the fact (which would be easy in some of the situations) would likely lead to me being unemployed.


1789 Some rules apply in every case:

  • One may never do evil so that good may result from it;

  • the Golden Rule: "Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them."56

  • charity always proceeds by way of respect for one’s neighbor and his conscience: "Thus sinning against your brethren and wounding their conscience . . . you sin against Christ."57 Therefore "it is right not to . . . do anything that makes your brother stumble."58



The truth is: if you lie, you’re an enemy of God. Its as simple as that. Lies have consequences. If an organisation thinks it can build itself on lies - it will crumble. Only when facing the truth, can an organisation hope to become strong. God is incompatible with lies, as God is incompatible with all sins.

People lie, because the truth is often terribly inconvenient. Sorry.

It is never justified to be blatently dishonest however there are some jobs that skirt around this.

I can think of some fields where it may be required to master language or presentation to embellish.

If you work in one of these fields or similar, unfortuantely, you have to have this skill. Is it lying? It could be, and some are professionally educated to carefully choose verbage. it’s not what you say, it’s what others hear. The truth is somewhere in the mix.

Not sure about this one. after all, God does this all the time, when he grants Satan permission to do evil…so that something good can come from it.

Ahh. If you get tripped up later on, it could cost you your job. That’s a horse of a different color.

In my job I’m very sensitive about things like this. I’d choose the safer route and maybe look for other job opportunities in the meantime. If you were rewarded before for integrity maybe there’s another employer who will appreciate you more.

Question: is the lying a generally accepted part of the game you’re in? Is it in the unwritten rules? People who are in the game might well accept how it goes.

It all depends on the situation, mainly who’s doing the lying, what’s it about and who’s in charge. I know some of what was asked of me in the past wouldn’t have been an issue to some in management but it would to others. The ones who wouldn’t have minded those things would have been upset about others. I’ve always relied on hard work and integrity to get by. Unfortunately, it got to the point that all that does is allow me to get by. It gets disheartening at times seeing that lying, backstabbing, falsifying reports, kissing up and badmouthing coworkers are now what’s rewarded, sometimes to an outrageous degree. I know one guy who is where he is now solely because of his ability to defame and rat on his coworkers. The quality of his work is deplorable to an almost unbelievable degree, but his constant, generally untrue reports of how awful everyone else is have somehow led to him being viewed as the cream of the crop.

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