A few weeks ago, I received this e-mail from reader Ryan Miner that I wanted to share with you:
"When I was a 19 year-old undergraduate student at Duquesne University I created a Facebook group in opposition to a proposal to allow a Gay-Straight Alliance to form on campus. I used the term subhuman to lament homosexuality.
I could not have been more wrong. My words were unabashedly despicable and unambiguously insensitive. My actions were the antithesis of the same faith I used to defend myself, and it was an indelibly poor reflection on my personal character. I embarrassed my family, my friends, my hometown, and Duquesne University. I was in no position to cast such blatant judgment, and I pray that I can be forgiven and learn from this awful experience.
As a result of the media attention and the emerging technology of this decade, I am infinitely attached to my mistake in the annals of Google. The stories you read from the Google results paint a polar opposite picture of who I am today. However, actions inevitably and invariably have consequences, and the reckless comments I made at 19 continue to plague me in my professional career. I have been denied employment and was even fired from a great opportunity as a result of the incident at Duquesne.
I am now looking to expand my career, but each time I submit a new resume, a sense of bleak fear overcomes me, wondering whether or not a company will Google my name only to toss my resume in the trash and move to the next applicant. If only I could relay to a potential employer that my beliefs have changed and I would never engage in that type of behavior in the future. But you reap with you sow, and I will continue to deal with the consequences of my mistake."
There can never be too many stories like this to remind us that Google is forever.