What Do Resumes and Infidelity Have in Common?

They can both bring down mighty men…

Some recent examples are worth noting.  Coming in at the top of the list in the Resume Inflation Category – Scott Thompson (above left) was much heralded executive from PayPal, who was recruited to take the top post at Yahoo.  Unfortunately, he had a less than accurate major listed on his CV which got both him and a board member responsible for bringing him in fired.  The sad part – at this stage in Scott’s career, it would not have made any difference whether his undergraduate major was CS or English (he listed computer science only to have the university later make an official statement that it did not offer CS degrees until years after he graduated).  Ouch…

Honorable Mention (Resume Inflation Category) – former Notre Dame head coach for 5 days, George O’Leary, who falsely claimed a graduate degree in education which he never earned…  Again, he was and is a great head coach (currently at UCF, a program that’s on the rise) and that extra bullet would not have added anything to his coaching credentials.

The most recent example in the Infidelity Category – former Arkansas Razorbacks football coach Bobby Petrino.  Full Disclosure: I personally do not like Bobby Petrino (above right).  I didn’t like the way he left Louisville and Atlanta Falcons hanging; how he secretly met with Auburn where his former boss Tuberville was still gainfully employed; etc…  So when he appeared in a press conference looking all banged up and vulnerable, I had to chuckle and order another round for the table…  Genius of a football coach? Yes.  Unscrupulous human being?  Well, yes to that as well…  Rock-star status in Arkansas after registering its first 11-win season after four decades; father of four; affair with a 25 year old intern (who happened to be engaged to another person at the time); then lying to officials in a cover-up attempt.  What was he thinking?

Honorable Mentions (Infidelity Category)  Unfortunately, there are too many to mention in this category, from our beloved Magic Johnson, former CEO of HP Mark Hurd, elite basketball coach Rick Pitino, former CEO of Best Buy Brian Dunn to sports star and mogul Tiger Woods, who became the butt (no pun intended) of all infidelity jokes the last couple of years…

We’ve all made mistakes in our lives (and I get that), but it’s hard to give a hall pass to smart, powerful men who supposedly should know better, but act like they’re invincible and beyond the constraints of the moral compass that guides most of us.

Editor’s Note: The original title and content cast this article in the model of a top ten sports analogy, courtesy of the editors.  However, our contributor felt the import of the article was diminished, and successfully lobbied for his original title to be used.  We saw his point, and also caught the less than accurate description of “Grade Inflation” to describe what is more accurately “Resume Inflation”.

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About Richard Lee
Experienced finance and operations professional. Currently partner in five companies, adjunct professor of economics at Columbia College and executive contributor to a small business blog (www.SMBmatters.com); following corporate finance, M&A and management consulting tenures with Orbitz and Diamond Technology Partners; and six years of service with the United States Army.

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