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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Plagiarism: Who Cares? (Part Two)

Picture of a judge's gavel.

If you’re just now joining the discussion, you should go back and read my previous post about the personal repercussions of plagiarism.  That said, let’s return to how plagiarism can ruin your current (or future) career. 

Professional Repercussions

When companies hire someone, they’re hiring more than just a resume; they’re hiring a human being, complete with all the beliefs, quirks, and personality traits that compose that individual.  That’s why the hiring process almost always includes an interview phase. 

Looking great on paper is only the first step.  The rest of the work of getting and keeping a job you enjoy is convincing the person(s) who is hiring that you are a hard-working, honest person who would be an asset to the company.  Having a recorded instance of plagiarism on your record automatically labels you as lazy and dishonest.

What’s that, you say? “Plagiarism is only applicable to jobs like being a reporter or an author; in the field I want to work in, my boss isn’t going to be hiring me to write essays all the time.”  That would be a valid argument if plagiarism’s stigma limited itself to the realm of writing.  As it is, being caught for plagiarism makes you appear lazy and dishonest in everything you do. 

Nurses are entrusted to administer dangerous and addictive medications on a daily basis.  As an employer, I’d think twice about giving you the key to the medicine cabinet if you’ve proven yourself to be someone who has no problem with lying. Even cashiers have access to cash drawers! Yes, there are ways for employers to figure out if an employee is skimming a little off the top of each transaction, but it would save a lot of time and trouble for the employer to pass on hiring the person who poses trust issues. 

Is this starting to sound a bit like the discussion about personal repercussions from part one? It should.  Too much emphasis today is placed on academic achievement and not enough on the value of actually learning and on  simply being a good human being.  That’s a whole other can of worms, though.  For now, I just want you to think about the kind of person you want to be and how easily you’d compromise your values. 

When it comes to me, I’d honestly rather fail a class and deal with having an F on my transcript than plagiarize. 


Photo credit: Joe Gratz


A small tip for students to deal with an F is considering it as a "Feedback" instead of a "Failure." Nice post. Happy New Year!

A small tip for students to deal with an F is considering it as a "Feedback" instead of a "Failure." Nice post. Happy New Year!

Plagiarism can be compared to cheating because a person applying
such practices is actually running the efforts of another person by taking away
the credit from him. Therefore, if you are aware of the harmful effects of
using a copied text, you can always make use of plagiarism checker
software so that you can detect whether the same sentence
structure is already present in the web space.



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