Mendax, Mendax, Braccae Igni: A Solution To Deceptive Interviewees?

In my latest IOUG SELECT Journal articleDBA, Heal Thyself: 5 Diseases of IT Organizations
and How Oracle DBAs Can Cure Them – I mentioned a specific ailment that I call Idiomyopia. (It’s my term for IT organizations that tolerate incompetent Oracle DBAs.)

It’s not unusual for an Oracle DBA’s incompetence to be identified well after they’ve been hired because of inadequate HR screening policies, or because of inadequate technical interviews. Sometimes, however, a candidate has simply pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes because their CV, resume, and educational background seems to be a virtually perfect fit for the job. It only becomes painfully obvious after the DBA has been asked to do something relatively simple – say, set up a database backup, or perform complete recovery, or even tune a troublesome SQL statement for better performance – that we discover we’ve been the victim of our own Idiomyopia.

And what happens to the newly-discovered incompetent DBA? Usually … nothing. They simply become relegated to simpler, less-demanding tasks, even though they’ve essentially perpetrated fraud against their employer. No legal action is taken;  perhaps they even saunter off to another job where the masquerade continues.

So I have a modest proposal for my brethren competent Oracle DBAs. Whenever we discover this type of fraud, let’s try a novel approach: shaming. My inspiration for this idea is an ongoing anti-corruption campaign being waged in India by those appalled by the audacity with which they are regularly approached for bribes on a daily basis. The idea is simple: Instead of offering money when asked for a bribe, a zero-rupee note emblazoned with the image of  Mahatma Gandhi is tendered instead.

In that same spirit, I’ve produced a facsimile of a zero-dollar bill. It ZeroDollarBill_Latin carries my disapproving visage and is suitably emblazoned in Latin phrases, so feel free to print some off and have them ready for your next round of technical interviews with a suspected “exaggerator.” (Oh, and just in case your Latin is rusty … Mendax Mendax Braccae Igni roughly translates to Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire.)


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