Bad Online Reputation

I would like to go into asset/investment management. When I was in high school I used a racial slur on social media and screenshots were posted on a major publication. I've learned a lot since then and hope to move past it. Since then I have changed my last name.

Do you think I can still have a career in this industry? Will I lose my job as soon as HR finds out my original name?

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Comments (23)

Jan 21, 2019 - 7:32am

I would like to go into asset/investment management. When I was in high school I used a racial slur on social media and screenshots were posted on a major publication. I've learned a lot since then and hope to move past it. Since then I have changed my last name. Do you think I can still have a career in this industry? Will I lose my job as soon as HR finds out my original name?

Does your name appear in that publication? You can try contact them and ask them if not to remove the screenshots then to blur your name since it's personal data. Try and speak with a lawyer about this, but I'm sure that if you ask them they will have to at least blur your name.

Edit: I didn't had to much time when I first posted the comment, as far as I understand you had a situation while you was in high school witch was posted in a major publication, since then you changed a lot.
What I would try to do in this case it's to be honest ... and just tell them focusing more on how much I'v changed rather than focusing to much on what I have done in the past. This proves a lot, but again ... if you have to make it sound good :) hope you get my point.

Best of luck and keep us posted

Most Helpful
Jan 22, 2019 - 1:20pm

If you changed your name you should be fine.

But to be honest, unless someone does find out, I would avoid being honest about it; why would HR hire someone that could potentially create an image problem for the company.

I know someone that because of some of his twitter comments didn't get an invite for an interview despite having great connections.
  • 5
Jan 22, 2019 - 12:11pm

If your name is different, it's highly unlikely they'll find this.

Also, call up the publication and ask them to take it down. Threaten legal action for libel.

Get busy living
Jan 22, 2019 - 1:35pm

You can hire a reputation management firm (results with vary) to try and suppress the organic search results. Lots of stuff you can do on your own too.

You can do things like... Create web 2.0 profiles/properties and backpopulate with content that ranks for your old name & create an adwords account and bid on your own name (continued spend) to push down negative content.

I doubt the recruiter will find your old last name BTW. FWIW, I used to own a reputation management firm. We used to suppress negative content tied to people all the time.

  • 2
Jan 23, 2019 - 2:30pm

I unfortunately got into a business deal with someone who could have been a former client of yours! First few google pages everything was good, we proceed to do our deal.

A few weeks into negotiations he goes haywire insane and I see negative stuff online about him buried a few pages deep (scammed millions, threats, etc.). It all worked out in the end but I was pretty stressed at the time dealing with such a character.

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Jan 23, 2019 - 2:48pm

Truly filthy business. I'm glad to be out of it even though we largely focused on repairing business reputations that were being turned around, we still received requests from people like your ex-partner, criminals, etc...

Jan 24, 2019 - 1:02pm

I haven't been in the industry since 2012/2013ish unfortunately.

Jan 23, 2019 - 7:43pm

Everyone has screwed up in the past, and now smart phones and the internet are here to capture, preserve, and disseminate records of it all, ruining the lives of an unlucky few (alongside some that deserve it)

Some ideas of how society can fix this are the EU's Right to Be Forgotten and the idea of an optional "reset" of a person's internet records after some age

For OP specifically, lots of good ideas in this thread, but certainly don't tell prospective firms about it because they will see it as an unnecessary liability for their reputation. One thing I'd add is to be careful who you tell because they could blackmail you with it later (or they could tell someone else who could blackmail you.. better safe than sorry

Jan 29, 2019 - 10:41am

You are most certainly safe, people wont know to how to find it unless someone is actively trying to blow your cover(secrets).

Taboo: If I may ask what inspired this mistake? Would you call it a childhood mistake done in a drunken stupor or are you someone who has changed their ways and regrets its beyond the potential blow back of not being able to find a job.

just curious really

Jan 29, 2019 - 5:47pm

Hey, thanks for the input. What inspired this mistake was a combination of xanax, alcohol, stupidity, and the odd desire to be mean under the false guise of anonymity. Obviously, the backlash was a big factor in my regret, as I lost friends, created a rift in my family, and greatly damaged my career outlook. However, I've also grown a lot because of it. I understand the power of words more. I don't use offensive language to get a rise out of people anymore. I get why people are outraged at what I said and I strive everyday to be a more empathetic person because of my past mistakes.

  • VP in PE - LBOs
Jan 30, 2019 - 1:09pm

When it comes to your repuation on the interweb, it is worth it to go the extra mile to make sure this sort of thing is removed in its entirety. I would pony up the money for a lawyer to make some sort of defamation complaint if you are unable to get them to remove it yourself. People change. There's no reason this should still be lingering years later and impacting your employment, even though it is factual. No sense in speculating. Pay for some peace of mind

Dec 18, 2020 - 10:45pm

If I may ask, how old were you? If you don't want to give a specific, could you give a range. Like below or above a certain age. Just curious because it seems so shitty to have to worry about mistakes made in high school and a proper answer would depend on age. But either way dude, just chill and move forward and you should be fine. So many people in the future are going to have past shit on them on internet, the world is going to have to get accustomed to it. 

Dec 30, 2020 - 2:30am

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Sep 9, 2021 - 2:46pm

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