Do you think that wasn't on the minds of other Yahoo executives when Thompson was offering up vague and contradictory excuses for his resume fraud? I just hope that at least one of the Yahoo executives being served up Thompson's BS last week looked him in the eye and said, "You're so full of sh*t."
Perhaps the best indicator of how deep the problem goes is the "so what?" reaction of many bloggers and commenters on the Internet. You can do a Google search on "Scott Thompson" and "so what?" to see what I mean, but here are some samples:
"His ouster for something so petty, when many CEOs do so much worse, is simply outrageous."
"Who cares? Thompson has a degree in accounting, not computer science, but frankly at this point in his career does it really matter what he studied as an undergraduate?"
"So what, he misstated what he had a degree in from back in 1979. Computer Science from Stonehill College? What? Where? It’s not like he lied about having graduate degrees in computer engineering from a real school that someone’s actually heard of, like MIT, RPI, Cal Tech, Stanford. Who f’ing cares?"
All of those arguments are pathetic rationalizations that miss the larger reality. Thompson's lying on his resume matters because the fake CS degree at some point may have helped him get where he is today. Weird as this sounds, some technology companies like their executives to have some kind of computer science background. Lack of such a background would get you filtered out for many job opportunities.
Further, those statements and the thousands of others like it betray a cynicism that is both breath-taking and troubling.
Troubling, at least, to those of us who aren't liars, those of us who want to believe in a workplace meritocracy -- or at least (don't worry, I'm not delusional) aspire to that ideal.
But for the liars, that kind of cynicism does more than provide a useful distraction. It offers a fertile breeding ground. And we all know what the best fertilizer is.