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PSA: Maybe Don’t Tell Your Employer You’re Fluent In Chinese If You Aren’t

Topics: Career Advice

Interviewing for a job is a lot of pressure. And sometimes, the pressure can be so high that even the most honest person might fib a little in order to lock down the job. However, it’s important to note that there is a difference between slightly exaggerating your skill level and straight-up lying in your interview. If you don’t believe me, take a look at this real-life situation from a Redditor in the U.K. whose entire office thinks he is fluent in Chinese. Spoiler alert: OP does not speak Chinese.


(Photo Credit: Alex Proimos/Flickr)

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OP says he started his job about nine months ago. So far, so good. OP has been settling in fine and everything has been great – except for the fact that everyone in his office thinks he is fluent in Chinese, which he is not.

“When I was interviewing for the job they asked if I had any extra things that I enjoyed out of work and I’d read about how languages can make you more employable and seem interesting, so I lied and said ‘I speak Chinese actually, taught through self study and some time studying there.’ Out of all the lies on my CV that greatly exaggerated my work experience, this one stuck. I’ve no idea why I said it, but I was just desperate to secure some work and thought it would be forgotten.”

The Problem

OP tells Reddit that before he even officially get started at the job, word got around that he was fluent in Chinese. And to make things worse, people around the office have been asking OP things like, “Wow! It’s really cool you can speak Chinese. What’s the word for __?”

“I thought it would die out, so I’ve just been making random noises … thinking that it sounded good enough and people would then soon forget. I’ve also been telling stories from ‘my time in China,’ which have been horrific. I found out the other day about me saying I visited the great Wall in Beijing was factually incorrect – there is no part of the wall there!”

What Should OP Do?

The silver lining here is that speaking Chinese has nothing to do with OP’s current job role. However, his co-workers are now walking around the office making gibberish sounds with the “translations” OP has “taught” them. With that said, OP last reported to Reddit that he is planning on telling his boss the truth. We only hope that his boss has a good attitude, and can appreciate a good laugh and good intentions. Good luck, OP!

Tell Us What You Think!

Should OP tell the truth? What would you do? We want to hear from you! Comment below or join the discussion on Twitter!

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If he is otherwise useful on the job, send him on a solo ‘networking’ trip to China 🙂




I think that if OP is ready to come clean about this lie he should ensure that he is also prepared to find a new job, as it is unlikely that his boss and his coworkers will find any of this amusing. This is so much more than just a lie now. OP has to account for all of the other lies he has told while carrying on this terrible pretence and making a mockery of his co-workers and the… Read more »


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