Is honesty the best policy?

If we were all totally honest – what would we really say about why we want to study or do the job that we are applying for?To mark the UCAS deadline for applying to university people were asked to rewrite their applications …honestly. What these said were really quite funny. For example, “No, law is not my passion, I haven’t always wanted to be a law student and I wasn’t born with an ‘innate desire to help change the world’.”I’m sure that there are plenty of people out there who really do have the purest of motives and unlike the candidate above, really do have a desire to help change the world. However, how many of us spend more time thinking about what people want to hear than what our real motivations are? I wonder, if your real desire to become a barrister for example has nothing to do with a deep commitment to upholding justice and everything to do with wanting to earn lots of money – are you really suited to the profession? And if you feel the need to lie about it on an application then do you already know this?Is lying about your motives really bad or actually is it just what every does to get by? – In fact, is it expected? We all know that lying about your experience or qualifications on a CV or application form is a definite no-no and can get you in a lot of trouble, but does the same apply for ‘why you want to do the job / course?’It might be very revealing and interesting to gather a mass of data on why people apply to university. I wonder whether in amongst the ‘I want to deepen my knowledge and understanding of X and pursue a lifelong career in x’ we might see ‘I don’t know what else to do with my life’, ‘I desperately want people to recognise how clever I am’ and ‘I don’t want to have to grow up and work yet’.When it comes to work, I wonder how many of us would be writing ‘I don’t actually want this job at all – I do however want to eat, clothe myself and have a roof over my head’ or ‘this job is the nearest thing that I have seen to any career aspiration that I have – I’ll take what I can get and move on at the first opportunity.

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