What’s the connection between three dead dogs, Bruce Springsteen and a Coconut?

Peter Foy explores the difficult concepts of truth and reality

By Peter Foy

Bruce Springsteen is a titan of the rock and roll world. He is “The Boss”, devoid of flim-flam and self-importance. He’s the prophet of blue-collar America, renowned for his ability to speak – or, more often, sing – truth to power.

    "...Standing before you is a man who has become wildly and absurdly successful writing about something of which he had absolutely no experience..."  

Only he’s not.

Listen to the recording, “Springsteen on Broadway” and you’ll hear these words:

“… I’ve never held an honest job in my entire life … never worked nine-to-five … I’ve never seen the inside of a factory and yet it’s all I’ve ever written about. Standing before you is a man who has become wildly and absurdly successful writing about something of which he had absolutely no experience. I made it all up.”

He made it all up.

In my home I have a painting. It was a gift to my wife, given long before I met her. The picture depicts three dogs: two Dalmatians and a black Labrador. They are painted, beautifully, with one of the Dalmatians lounging on a George Nelson Coconut chair and his two friends reposed in front. All three are long since dead so we, affectionately, call it the “Dead Dogs Picture”.

I never knew any of those dogs, but I do know that while Mrs Foy loves her animals she never allows them on furniture – certainly not a George Nelson chair! The artist didn’t know those dogs either. She painted the portrait from photos sent to her by a third party.

She made it all up.

The question is: do we believe that Springsteen’s canon or the Dead Dogs Picture picture are deliberately misleading? Of course not. Truth and reality are different things. Closely related, but different.

A story is true if it has ethical integrity.

Ethical integrity comes from a deep-rooted set of values that define right and wrong. A set of values that is accepted by everyone involved in that truth.

I go to my office each day, knowing that Just Recruitment Group Ltd has a deep-rooted set of values, truths. I know that we might occasionally violate those rules, which is why we have a policy to encourage folk to “Speak Out”. The important thing is that we have the rules. And we believe in them.

    In every conversation I have with a client, candidate or colleague I know that I will be held to account to an ethical standard, a Truth.  

In every conversation I have with a client, candidate or colleague I know that I will be held to account to an ethical standard, a Truth.

So much is happening in the world today, be it in the business or political sphere, where Truth is important. Our understanding of truth is being tested to the limit. As business leaders and citizens we need to hold true to our values, those deep-rooted beliefs about right and wrong that define us. It might make us unpopular, but it will keep us honest.

Truths are not facts. The dead dogs were never in that pose, but they were loved. Bruce Springsteen never worked in a factory but “Promised Land” is still a brilliant anthem for the working class.

By the by, if you do dip into “Springsteen on Broadway”, his tribute to the Big Man, Clarence, is heartfelt and moving. Clearly truthful but maybe not factual.

Published: 29 May 2019

© 2019 Just Recruitment Group Ltd

If you enjoyed this article, you may like: Why AI personality testing gives me the creeps

You may also enjoy: Inspirational people: Billie Jean King, tennis player, equal rights campaigner

Jobs currently available

Marketing Executive
Sector: Marketing, Advertising and PR
Salary: £19,000 - £22,000 per annum
Location: Colchester
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 908800
About the role

Are you target-driven and enjoy creating and implementing marketing strategists? 

Are you a people person who enjoys developing relationships? 

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Marketing Executive on behalf of a company based in Colchester. 

Your duties will include: 

  • Effectively implement subscription marketing plans and renewals to meet the agreed targets. 
  • Develop and agree cost-effective promotional activities, with an agreed expected revenue return. 
  • Use information and systems to prepare pre-activity forecasts, track performance and undertake post-activity evaluation to supply to the Senior Marketing Executive and Marketing and Promotions Manager. 
  • Identify potential problems and propose solutions. 

You will be: 

  • Able to think laterally, to make use of all our marketing channels to leverage subscriptions through promotional content across print and digital, email marketing, social media, exhibitions and much more. 
  • Analytical, and keen to monitor and evaluate the success of marketing initiatives through weekly reporting to feed back to the Senior Marketing Executive. 
  • Detail-orientated and able to take responsibility for the day-to-day management of all campaigns, including setting up promotions, briefing studio, building web pages, setting up media requests for our subscriptions bureau, photography, briefing the warehouse, managing the e-commerce website ensuring all offers are loaded for relevant brands. 
Read more
Sales Administrator
Sector: Public Service and Administration
Salary: Negotiable
Location: Witham
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 908761
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a well-established manufacturing company based in Witham.

You will have the ambition to succeed and the ability to work on your own initiative with good customer service skills.

Duties include:

  • Following up quotes by phone and email
  • Checking quotes and emails and adjusting prices to win business
  • Prospect calling
  • Booking meetings for the Business Development Managers
  • Warm calls to existing calls
  • Technical queries, quotes and orders
  • Customer service and query answering
  • Incoming calls

Working ideally 9.00am to 5:30pm, Monday to Friday.

20 days holiday per year (3 to be taken over Xmas) + bank holidays.

Read more
QC Technician
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: £15.00 per hour
Location: Sudbury, Suffolk
Role: Full Time
Contract: Temporary
Job ref: 908368
About the role

Calling all QC Technicians

Do you have a degree in chemistry?

Do you have effective communication skills?

Do you have experience and working knowledge in a Chemical and Biological Analytical Technique environment?

Do you have experience in dissolved gas analysis and blood gas analysis?

Just Recruitment is looking to recruit on behalf of a busy company based in the Sudbury (Suffolk) area for a QC Technician on a temporary ongoing basis.


  • QC testing, data collection, analysis, interpretation and reporting.
  • Preparing for customer, regulatory and notified body audits.
  • Quality Related Training.
  • Quality testing related improvement projects and quality initiatives.
  • Understanding of GxP requirements.

Working hours:

Monday to Friday, 7:45am to 4:50pm.


  • Free tea and coffee.
  • On site parking.
  • Weekly pay.
Read more
Machine Operator
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: £8.40 per hour
Location: Haverhill
Role: Full Time
Contract: Temporary
Job ref: 908151
About the role

Just Recruitment is looking for an experienced Machine Operator on behalf of a company based in Haverhill.

Working hours are:

Monday to Friday, 8am until 5pm.

Read more