Thursday, January 03, 2008

Don't be an ass - the internet never forgets

Get caught doing the dumbs and you will never, ever live it down - the internet has a long memory.

Guy is caught keying a car - $2400 worth of damage. Guy has words with the car owner. Seems the guy keyed the car because the car owner has military tags and plates. The police are called. More words are tossed around. A citation is issued.

The details are at Blackfive.

A moment of ill-considered vandalism, a lifetime of crap.

The problem is, Google is good at finding stuff but not so good for measuring repentance. He could have a Come to Jesus moment a year from now, he could find himself a changed man a decade from now but Google will likely always pull this incident up, first.

It will also find the hatred and bile piled on by blogs and blog comments.

I have some sympathy.

A long time ago I made a foolish choice and screwed up. If I'd been a civilian I might have gotten fired and moved along to the next job.

I was enlisted in the Marine Corps. I got Non Judicial Punishment; docked a few months pay, reduced in rank.


Yes, it sucked.

Every service member has a record book. Your new commanding officer opens that sucker up and just about the first thing his eyeballs fall upon is Page 11; the list of all the Bad Things you've done. Later there is another page with all of the good things but by then it's way too late.

If it you were a bad kid five minutes ago, or five years ago it's all the same thing - condensed into neat tidy paragraphs for their reading displeasure. You know what's coming ..

- We going to have any problems like this?

A small part of you may want to roll your eyes: I've heard this before. You want to say "That was five years ago and I regretted it about five seconds after the fact and long, long before the The Man had me standing tall in his office and oh boy have I changed, hey look at last quarter's pro/con marks .." but you don't because all you can do is suck it up and demonstrate you've changed because Marines Don't Whine.

You say 'No Sir' and get on with it. Because that's what you do.

Chesty Puller
Five Navy Crosses. Not a whiner.

At the risk of beating this into the ground .... this is a problem in the Real World where everyone is looking at your Page 11 and no one is going to be around to see what a good guy you actually are. First impressions are last and final ones.

Google is great for finding information. It's not so hot at measuring reputation capital - for telling people who you are now or how an otherwise 'ok' person had a bad day and fucked up his google rep for the next few years.

Cross Posted to The Daily Brief.
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