QI’m a fairly new associate at a large firm. Recently, a partner made the rounds at the firm—at least on my floor in my practice group—telling us that his daughter is a Girl Scout and is selling Girl Scout cookies. Would I be interested, he asked. Honestly—and I know I’m in the minority on this—I don’t like Girl Scout cookies and get royally annoyed every year by the hypercompetitive industrial oversell of them. But that’s another story, and I didn’t launch into that story when I answered the partner.
I lied. I said, “No, thanks, I’m diabetic.” He said he didn’t know that and then mentioned his sister who struggles with diabetes and that his brother-in-law is a “saint” who took charge of her nutrition and keeps her healthy. I kept up the lie, even though I had a soda on my desk at the time and was eating caramel popcorn at a meeting with him earlier in the week (I didn’t think of these things at the time.)
Now—and it’s actually been less than a week—the partner emailed me a diabetic’s recipe list from his brother-in-law and mentioned to me that I should tell HR about my “condition.” Yesterday I had to think twice about what not to take with me to a practice group meeting and I’ve started to research what I—as a diabetic—can or cannot eat, drink, or do. I’m going nuts, and it’s only about six days. Should I spill the beans and ‘fess up or try to maintain the charade temporarily then let it die? I think I’m screwed.
AScore! You just took a $40 high-impact opportunity and squandered it. First, if it ever happens again—and given your response I doubt that it will—swallow your “industrial oversell” conspiracy theory and say, “awesome, my mom loves Thin Mints and can’t get them where she live. I’ll take ten boxes” Cost: $40. Impact: a spot on the partner’s “someone to remember” list.
The reality? You’ve got an associated mess on your hands that’s difficult to come out from unscathed. I see four choices:
- Keep up your secret life as a non-diabetic diabetic. Hey, maybe it’ll be an adventure and you’ll lose a little weight, discover the joys of method acting, and bond with the partner over a fake common interest.
- Start looking for another job because you’re fucked. Who wants a lying sack of shit around? Although once you get caught—and you will get outed, it’s only a matter of time—you may get points for being a scheming, manipulative, and creative associate who thinks “outside the box.” Y’now, partner material.
- Do nothing and hope the whole thing dies a slow death. Given the partner’s enthusiasm for your predicament—which may actually be a sly way of saying “game on, pal, I know what you are trying to do”—I doubt it will die off without a lot of pain.
- Walk into the partner’s office tomorrow with a check for ten boxes of Do-Si-Dos and five boxes of Thin Mints. Say “Sorry, I was so swamped when you came by and didn’t know how to say no without sounding like an ass. I’m not diabetic. I don’t know why I said that. My bad.”
I’d pick door number four. Mostly because I’m a terrible actor. And I happen to be eating a box of Do-Si-Dos as I write this.
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