We are told that, if you're not confident, you should just "fake it til you make it."
This is great—in theory.
In practice, sometimes "faking it" can have extremely real and terrible consequences, which these people found out the hardest of hard ways.
Redditor SaithSiro asked:
"When did 'fake it until you make it' backfire?"
Here were some of those answers.
A rude awakening.
I faked being depressed to get pity when I was young. I kept thinking fake it till I make it but like, I didn't realize I was actually depressed...
Therapy starts Saturday, wish me luck.Giphy
When It Becomes Offensive
At Nelson Mandela's funeral, people took note of the sign language interpreter that seemed to just be making random hand gestures instead of actual sign language. Turns out he had made quite a few appearances previously and nobody had caught on that he knew literally no sign language. To me, this dude is just the poster child for 'fake it till you make it'.
My brother in law took out a loan without my sister knowing. He couldn't find a job of his liking so he would leave like he was going to work and come back like his day ended. He paid himself with the loan like it was a pay cheque. He even remortgaged the house and kept this up for THREE YEARS! No one knew and it all came to a head and they are now split and my sister is now laid off because of medical and no way of paying off this debt and now awful credit because of it.
He faked it but never made it.Giphy
Catch me if you can.
He was a literally infamous check forger in the 1970s. They made a movie out of his book, "Catch Me If You Can," but the book is way more entertaining than the movie IMHO.
In addition to his most famous impersonation (A Pan Am pilot,) at one point he impersonated a pediatrician. In a teaching hospital. He had residents and interns under him. His technique was, when faced with almost any case, he'd ask the resident, "What would you do in this situation?"
The resident would say, "Well, I'd blah blah blah," and Abangale would say, "So do that."
....until a resident ran up to him and said, "Doctor! We have a blue baby in room 102!"
And Abangale laughed and said that he'd attend to that right after the "green baby in 203!"
He didn't know that a blue baby meant an infant that was not breathing and thus cyanotic. He literally saw the look on everyone's face, ducked into a linen closet, and looked up 'blue baby' in the pocket medical dictionary he carried around. Then he burst out of the linen closet to "help" the residents run the code.
I'd say this qualifies.
Note: He also impersonated a DA in Alabama or some southern state. I'm telling you: The book is AMAZEBALLS.
I would always fake my personality. At school I tried to act like a bubble cheerful person because my mom wanted me to be popular like she was in school but then it backfired when I had an extreme anxiety attack and started balling my eyes out.
A happy ending.
I had the opposite happen once. I had an internship with a company, and I impressed them. They had an opening for a job that I really wasn't qualified for, but they assumed I could work it.
I couldn't, and I transferred to a more fitting job months later. I still keep in touch with them, though. They fully admit I wasn't a good fit for the job, but they know I have other skills.Giphy
Like them for who they really are.
I carefully finessed my online profiles until i was able to obtain the attention of the man I wanted. Turns out that being 110% charming, funny, confident, and attractive is a LOT more exhausting/impossible in person. I tried way too hard, got burnt out, didn't know who I was, and ultimately lost the guy anyway.
I did that twice in my early 20's. Never again.
My current boyfriend is the best of the bunch and "securing" him was a gloriously low-key experience.
I was working an XMAS job in college for a Jewellers; and made the mistake of selling a diamond brooch. I didn't realise such things had to be sold by a qualified professional and come with a authenticity certificate. But they couldn't actually punish me since I was ignorant to the fact.
Same place; also tried to replace a customers watch batteries with no idea of what I was doing. I thought 'how hard can this be?' and completely scratched it up, and then ran off and left it there, knowing it wouldn't be collected until tomorrow when I wasn't there.
The s**t you get away with as an 18 year old makes me laugh in retrospect.
When Non Je Parle
This reminds me of a TIFU post where OP moved to a new neighborhood for just a few months and decided to take some LSD to break it in. OP thought it was a good idea to go for a walk and when he went outside, his new neighbor greeted him. Being on LSD and a bit of an introvert, he avoided conversation by speaking French as he knew enough to get by and did not plan on staying there for an extended period of time. This went on for about eight months (longer than he expected to stay there) and eventually the neighbor had a friend of hers over who also spoke French and tried to start up a conversation with him. That's when he was like "yeahh... I don't speak French."Giphy
Climbing the ladder.
Almost living it right now. I'm a decent engineer. I work at a small firm. I don't think I want to do this type of work much longer, and I sure don't want some major controlling interest in a firm. But I do this because it's something I can do well, and provides will for my family. I'm currently looking at other career options that can make use of my ability and still provide as well.
I was told I'm on track to replace the head engineer, who's second in command and had 49% ownership of the firm.
No surprise there.
My colleague was trying to impress a potential client. During a conversation, he was asked if he liked the Toronto Raptors and my colleague, who knows nothing about sports but wants to "fake it" says that he's a huge fan and loves baseball! And this was when we just won the chip.
Basically, he didn't end up signing the deal...
I faked I was 15 when I was 8, I'm 11 now. Anyway this was a game and a girl told me she was 15 so I told her I was 15. We chatted for 6 months (well it weren't really chatting it was mainly "hey." "Hey." "What are you up to?" "Nothing much, you?" "Same" ) then eventually she became my much older online girlfriend.
About another 6 month then I came clean and told her I was 9, she wasn't angry or disappointed, she didn't care, so that was the time I basically dated a pedophile for a year.Giphy
I am a cop and I was on a murder case. The evidence lead me to a stadium during a baseball game and there were some strong leads suggesting one of the players on the field could be hiding a gun. I had to figure out how to mix in with the players and luckily I found out there was a guy who was supposed to sing the national anthem.
I visited him in his room while he was preparing for the show, knocked him out and took his place. All worked fine until I had to step out and actually sing the anthem.
When You're Looking Busy
Guy I used to work with told me about when he used to work as an electrician apprentice at a plant. When there was nothing to do, which apparently was most of the time, the lead guy and him would walk out to a random spot in the plant with a ladder a conduit bender and a bent piece of conduit. Then one of them would stand on top of the ladder and the other on the ground holding the conduit and they'd just chit chat all day. If any of the bosses wandered by they'd nod and pass the piece of conduit up to the guy on the ladder who would then make a show of trying to fit it in somewhere.
Said they both made it through 3 rounds of layoffs doing that, until they too got canned.
When You're Not Flexible Enough
I was 8 years old and I told my dance teacher I could do a backbend (I couldn't) so she moved me up a level in acro and put me in a special role for our recital. For the next week my mom tried to help me get a backbend but it wasn't happening and I had to come clean. Luckily she didn't get too mad. I had to move back down a level, but I still got to keep my special role!
I remember reading somewhere that some dude lied on his job application that he was a skilled piano player. To his surprise, his boss arranged for him to play at the yearly company party. So his friend bringing him there caught him Googling: "Most painless way to break your hand".
That story always cracks me up.
Taking it too far.
Some guy online liked me in a sexual way and kept wanting to roleplay with his weird kinks, so I started pretending to be a psychopath to drive him away, until it came to the point where I started making threats.
I lost control of myself then, and now that guy hates me to this day.Giphy
There was that one time when I boasted I was an ordained priest in Guam. It worked as a way to get discounts at the video game store, as the owner was very religious.
Unfortunately, I was boasting to a friend one day and a married couple later walks up to me and says they overheard me, and asked if I could officiate their wedding. I said sure and it worked out great. Got a girlfriend out of one of the bridesmaids and sang karaoke.
It wasn't until the fourth wedding I was asked to officiate was where I was exposed, where I gave a sermon out of the Bible, shocking the crowd. The couple and a lot of the crowd were Jewish.
They seemed to forgive me, as I read from the Old Testament the first time, and they were lenient about the botched Hebrew in a song the couple asked to sing. It wasn't until I said the wrong pronunciation in an oral passage that the crowd caught on, and I was not only stiffed of payment (though a friend of the groom gave me some cash for fooling them that long a couple of days later, possibly out of amusement), but I was chased out and threatened legal action.
I hired a mandarin translator for a game I'm developing.
Ran her translations through google translate, to find they were a good match. TOO good a match.
Showed it to a friend of mine who's from China, told me the translator just google translated everything and that the end result was barely comprehensible.
Little white lie.
During a job interview I was once asked my age and for some reason I said several years higher than I really was (said 25 when I was 21). I didn't mean to lie but at that point I couldn't say "oh, I mean 21" because I would sound like an idiot. Plus they weren't supposed to ask that anyway. So I just went with it. He wrote it down on my resume next to my salary expectations.
I did get the job and I'm sure they realized pretty quickly, if not immediately, but never said anything.Giphy
Not the smartest choice.
Not me but my aunt. She was offered a position to stage manage some performance in Quebec...in French.
When asked how well she knew French, she responded "Comme ci, comme ça," implying she knew it...at least barely conversationally.
She knew approximately zero French.
I forget the exact details but it didn't end smoothly.
Possibly this year.
I got my MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, but on the adult track, meaning I didn't learn anything about how to teach kids.
Fast forward a few years of tutoring adults around my city, I land a job (miraculously) at a local elementary school. I know zero standards, don't know any of the acronyms (aside from ESL ones), none of the buzzwords. The school didn't even check to see that I had my MA, just trusted my word because they needed another ESL teacher. I faked three years of knowing what I was doing at that school, but got shit pay because it was a disorganized mess.
This year, I got hired at a new school that has their shit together. They offered me over 10k more, and I'll be the sole ESL teacher for the entire school instead of one of six at a high ESL school like I had been. This means all eyes are on me.
I know a lot of the buzzwords now, and I have the acronyms down, but in the past I've always been able to field specific primary school questions to our head ESL teacher whom I will miss so very much. Now the spotlight is on me and I am terrified.
When Cousin Couldn't Keep It Up
Went to visit my older cousin in a big city (small town girl). Before going out, he told me that the friends we would be meeting are super snobby, and would probably make fun of me if I told them I was from SmallTown-A (today I would tell him to get better friends, but when I was 18 I just wanted to fit in). We agree I would tell them I'm from City-X.
So the blonde bombshell in the group (6 years older) starts talking to me while my cousin and his friend head off to buy shots. "Where are you from?"
"OMG, me too!" She proceeds to ask me which school I went to, which coffee shop was my favorite and where my parents work - just making polite conversation. Of course, I
do the adult thing and confess make up an entire fake life story.
My cousin gets back to the table with the shots and I have never been more grateful for the opportunity to put alcohol in my mouth and stop words from coming out. At seeing me knock back my shot like an animal, my cousin forgets our cover story and loudly proclaims "Good god! You don't have to drink like you do in SmallTown-A, just chill!"
I did not look at Bombshell for the rest of the night. I have seldom wanted the earth to swallow me as much as I did in that moment.Giphy
Stay far away.
Basically all the times I faked nice to customers I didn't give a crap about as a cashier.
One customer was a middle aged man thought obligated polite conversation during transaction = he had a shot. He proceeded to invite me to his workplace for a free cup of coffee. Where did he work? The truck stop at the sketchy part of town.
Did faking nice lead to an invitation to be trafficked? F**k if I know. Man shows interest in me? My lesbian a** instinctively goes in the other direction. I will never be sorry for that.
That's how you learn.
I moved to the United States when I was about 11. At the time I had a very Indian accent and being in middle school it did not fare well for me as other kids started mocking the way I speak. I started faking an American accent just to avoid the mocking and eventually it just became the way I talk.
I have since moved to yet another country where my friends mock me as "the most white sounding Indian". I can't change my my accent even if I wanted to.
The entire Dr. Death podcast series. He was the WORST surgeon and continued to maim and kill patients.Giphy
I forced myself to vomit everyday before school so I didn't have to go. I got diagnosed with appendicitis and had to go the hospital. There wasn't anything wrong with me (obviously) and I ruined my grades.
Ah, elementary school.
In 2nd grade, I had to give an oral book report on The Duck Who Thought He Was a Watchdog. I did not read it and was just making up everything. My teacher obviously knew I was lying, and kept asking me questions about it, and I kept making stuff up.
Eventually she had enough of it, and slammed the book down on the ground and yelled at me in front of everyone.
When You Need A Job
A few years ago I got a job interview after months of looking. I was desperate. I thought I was going to be working in the mail room for the City but when I arrived it turned out it was for delivering mail between City offices. Okay, no big deal, I can do that. Well, in my province we have G1 (Learners), G2 (Still have some restrictions about when/who you can drive with) and G (Full License).
Well, I needed my full G for the job but hadn't gotten around to doing the test. No big deal, I thought, I'll just go along and schedule a test ASAP, hopefully before any paperwork needs to be done. So I went through the interview and I think I'm home free, but no. They want to do a driver's test right then and there, and I need to present my license to the testing company.
Thinking quick, I tell them I don't have my license on me. Well, they need it and they were willing to find a City employee to drive me back out to my house (~30 mins away) and get it. Backed into a corner I finally have to admit that I don't have my G license. I blurted it out and basically ran out of the office and didn't look back.
Still one of the most embarrassing moments of my life.Giphy
John Spano was a fraud who almost bought the NY Islanders hockey team. He was only worth 5 million but he "bought" the team and their cable rights for 165 million.
He was found out once the payments were due and instead of sending 17 million he tried to pay 1,700 instead. He ended up getting arrested for wire fraud.
When You Don't Know What A Manhattan Is
Got a part time job as a bartender to help with bills. Told them I knew how to bartend. I can pour a whiskey coke and beer so just figured I'd pick up the rest as I went along. 1st week I was serving to get to know the menu and someone called in sick. Owner makes me bartend. So I'm doing fine, just beers and a few mixed drinks. Then a party of about 40 people coming from a wedding come in and starts asking for all these different shots, different specialty drinks, etc. Total Yikes.
When A Cat Screeching Is Your Theme Song
I took orchestra in elementary school and I eventually realized that I was just not going to understand violin. But I still wanted to be in orchestra because it had some perks. So, whenever we had lesson I put my fingers over the strings and moved my bow around like I meant it. When we had to play individually, I had to do it for real. I thought maybe, by some miracle, I'd get it and play normally.
Faking your whole life by not living as yourself as you turn into someone else and fail to achieve happiness. You constantly distant yourself from your loved ones in search for money thinking that it would eventually solve your problems. But it doesnt end there and it gets worse and worse until you get crippling depression and are ready to hang yourself.
Be yourselves and be happy.
When It Could Have Backfired, But You Got Lucky
Okay, I guess it ultimately didn't backfire, but it's a pretty good story I was told in film school eons ago. Back in the 80/90s, a guy snagged an interview for a camera operating job at a TV production company that was way above his experience level. The interviewer gave him a camera, said "okay, take this apart and lay it all out for me. You have 20 minutes," and left him there. After panicking for a minute, he walked down the hall, found a technician working and asked him to take apart the camera for him, which he did. Interviewer comes back, says, "good work. Now put it back together," and goes off to put out some other fires. Our guy tracks down the tech, who obliges again, and he was hired. When I heard this story the guy had worked in the field 15 or so years so I guess things worked out.
Don't do that to yourself.
I had a new part-time job. First couple days there I felt terrible, stressed, anxious, and depressed. I pushed through it and starting feeling ok with the job with occasional feelings of stress.
Six weeks in I had a mental breakdown in front of some coworkers. I quit later that week out of shame and to help my mental health. I later weighed myself and found that I had lost around 20 lbs. over the time I worked there, weight I wasn't trying to lose.Giphy
We had a 'doctor' one time at the hospital going around giving orders and stuff for 2 whole weeks until another doctor called him out for doing something stupid and he disappeared.
Turns out he wasn't a doctor and apparently had been going state to state faking it. I don't know how he got access to our computer system and an ID badge but he did somehow
More background checks, please.
I worked with an absolute sociopath. After she got fired for stealing (of course) she applied to be a programmer at a huge business.
She didn't even own a computer or know how to turn one on.
I would give an arm and an eye to have been there her first day. She'd told me that she was "ballsy" and "ambitious" and would "figure it out" because she's so "intelligent."
I hope the hiring team got a workshop in background checks.
Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel....
This will get buried, but this is a semi relevant story to when I was in first grade.
Some back story here: Every Christmas we would go my Grandma's house and spend Christmas there. She had various toys around and a few in particular were spinners. They were basically plastic cones with a peg sticking out of the bottom. You would simply spin them on the point of the cone similar to like a bey-blade. The spinners were some of my favorite toys at Grandma's house.
So in First grade we're learning about different religions, cultures, etc. Up comes the topic of the Jewish religion. The teacher is explaining that around the Holidays, Jewish people would spin Dreidel's and celebrate Hanukkah. She then asks if anyone is Jewish so we can learn more about their culture.
I raise my stupid little hand thinking the little plastic spinners I was spinning at Grandma's house must make me a Jew.
She proceeds to ask me questions like if we celebrated Christmas, etc. A lot of other questions too which I probably answered like an idiot and confused the hell out of her, but the rest of the class was learning from this "experience".
It wasn't until a few months later that my mom comes home from Parent teacher conferences and is like.. Why did you tell your teacher you were Jewish?
I'm just like.. we're not?Giphy
I tried football in grade school. Didn't put in the time to memorize plays and stuck to defense. My last year, one of the coaches thought about putting me in offense, and I had to come clean.
Stopped playing after that year for many reasons, that being one of them.
This is my friends "fake until you make it story":
So at our elementary school there was this book club that did competitions and had meetings every Friday. My friends mother told her to sign up for it and she forgot about it and missed the deadline to sign up. So, for 7 months straight she pretended to be in the group and had her mother buy the books the club was reading (the school was supply the club with the books).
It was all going perfectly her mother learned a big competition was coming up and she had to write an essay to try out for the team (it was mandatory). So, her mother went to the library and asked the lady for the essay prompt and date of competition. The library employee then told her that her daughter had never signed up and she had wasted money on books my friend would never read/need again.
It took a while for her to earn her mothers trust back.
I worked for a Savings and Loan which refused to give me a raise to the salary of the guy I replaced. This irked me because I was already doing his job in addition to my own, so I took a contract job and left for greener and frankly more lucrative pastures.
The guy they replaced me with was rejected by me in my interview with him: he didn't know 'C' programming, SunOS/Solaris, Sybase database syntax or anything else I did. I wore a lot of hats. Anyway this dude announced in the interview he was going to "optimize" the server to disk layout and really take care of things but couldn't explain how. But he was a friend of one of the System/36 guys and they both seemed to think "How hard can UNIX be? We know mainframes!" Whatever.
A few weeks later I got a call from my wife who still worked there: the servers were down because Mr. Optimize was hired and did exactly what he said. He apparently rearranged all the cables and when the servers didn't come up he declared I'd remotely hacked into the system and crashed everything. Sigh. I called my old boss and said "Look, believe whatever you want but I told you that guy doesn't know a root prompt from a hole in the ground. Call this dude at the local Sun office and he'll fix you right up."
Sure enough local Sun SE came out and figured out which disk controller was supposed to go to which disk and corrected all the mount points either by switching back the cables or changing the device names. Either way I was vindicated and Mr. Optimize The Server was fired.
We are told that, if you're not confident, you should just "fake it til you make it."
This is great--in theory. In practice, sometimes "faking it" can have extremely real and terrible consequences, which these people found out the hardest of hard ways.