Is it ever okay to lie in order to advance your career goals?I rarely accept meetings with people who I don’t know or know very little, especially if I’m not clear what the purpose of the meeting is. The other day, however, an acquaintance asked that we met up to talk about a project. As much as I asked her to tell me what she wanted to discuss, she insisted that she’d rather tell me the purpose for our meeting face-to-face. Going against what experience had taught me in the past, I accepted to meet with her.

The valuable lesson in this meeting will help us all have more success when trying to reach our personal and professional goals, I promise.

You have no idea what the whole purpose of this meeting was for! Read on…

I agreed to meet this woman at a coffee shop in the middle of one of my hectic work days; once we were face to face, she finally explained that she was working for a multilevel marketing company and that the sole purpose of her asking me to see her had been to try to recruit me. (The company is one of those whose structure is based on members trying recruit other people under him to sell a product; these people, in turn, look for others to recruit, and so on.) I felt completely betrayed. If this had been the point of the meeting, why didn’t she tell me on the phone? She probably thought she’d have a better chance of convincing me in person. Nevertheless, her lack of honesty added to her inconsiderate waste of my time did not give her the results she was seeking.

How many times have you used these dishonest tactics to reach a goal? Things like promising to take care of certain job responsibilities in exchange for getting a project; or telling someone they’d get some sort of benefit from participating in an event you organized, when you knew this wouldn’t be the case. Sometimes, the problem is simply a result of poor planning. Perhaps this acquaintance was sure that I’d benefit from what she was offering me. Other times, it has more to do with being focused on just yourself instead of considering how your unfulfilled promise affects the other person.

My answer to the proposal this acquaintance (she is, by the way, now deleted from my contacts) was pitching me? A very blunt no. I honestly considered just getting up and leaving the moment I found out why I had been dragged to the coffee shop. Imwanted to tell her that her honestly would have been appreciated when she called to ask me to talk–but, on top of that, had she been forthcoming about the purpose of our meeting, I would have recommended her company to people in my network who would have perhaps been interested in what she was offering. But given the way in which things played out, I found it impossible to work with her.

The truth is, no matter what field you work in, without mutual trust, it’s impossible to see any positive results. When you start out with a lie, it’s hard to get over the bad taste that leaves in people’s mouths. The best practice is to be careful with the means that you use to get to the ends you desire. Even if you have the best of intentions, if the other party feels lied to, you won’t get anywhere very far.

Image via Thinkstock

This article was originally published on Mamas Latinas.

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