Job searching was once considerably more simple. People submitted resumes, former employers were called and it was determined if each potential employee was qualified for the job based on their history and whether or not that history was relevant to the job. Naturally, when the employers called the phone numbers they had no way of knowing if they were really reaching former employers or just people pretending to be them. I am reminded of the television show Seinfeld, wherein one character got a friend to pretend to be a company that employed him.

Then our lives became digitally enhanced and things changed — not always for the better. Information about us that we previously shared in photo albums on book shelves now exists online and can get us fired. Moreover, even a long gone criminal past can now prevent us from getting a job.

It was once the case that if you were convicted of a crime, a certain number of years pass effectively erases that crime from your past. This is no longer the case now that crimes are so well documented — not to speak of such gross acts as having your photo taken with a placenta. It is rather unfortunate that people’s crimes are being so well documented online but it could also be a kind of crime deterrent — though if the death penalty doesn’t seem to do a good job of deterring people from committing crimes that end in it, could it be possible that future job humiliation would prevent anyone from committing more minor crimes?

From this I think there are a few important things to take. Specifically, we need to be careful about what information ends up about us online. Whenever possible, of course, we should not do anything in public that could possibly prevent us from getting a job. We should also be vigilant about not writing anything online that could get us fired — in short, don’t complain about the job that you have in a place where anyone can read it. Don’t even complain about a potential future job if you have any aspirations to get the job.


  1. It’s definitely a mess, Gordon. So many kids have been bitten by this trend without really realizing what they were doing by posting all the details of their personal lives online for so many years.

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