One thing young people are not very cognizant of is their personal record, particularly teenagers. Whether or not we ever see it, we all have a record that follows us from birth and well beyond death. It hovers above us like a vulture shadowing its prey. We may not see it, but make no mistake, it is always there tracking our every move, and I believe this is what young people do not comprehend.

As a systems man, I can tell you authoritatively, the government, the medical community, the financial community, and law enforcement have been collecting and maintaining data on us the moment we first entered a doctor’s office (be it in the womb or in person), opened a bank account or credit card, received a social security card, went to school, or received a ticket for jaywalking. Understand this though, there is no single record on any one of us as the data is physically maintained in several different places.

There are actually four parts to our personal record:

* Education – specifying the schools we attended, when we attended, the grades we earned, and if we graduated or failed. Employers pay particular attention to such data.

* Medical – specifies doctor and dentist visits, diseases contracted, procedures, medications, and treatments. Again, employers are interested in such data, particularly in sports and the military.

* Credit – for every financial account you open, your debt is closely followed as well as how well you paid your bills. Any time you miss a payment on a credit card, house payment, or car loan, it is recorded and influences your credit rating, not just now, but for years afterwards.

* Criminal – there is a tendency by young people to misunderstand their criminal record. Even as a juvenile, any and all violations of the law are recorded for years and years. Once again, employers are interested in such data, as well as the military and just about everyone else. Laugh as you may at being arrested in 8th grade, such a snafu may prohibit you from getting the job or opportunity of your dreams later on.

Unfortunately, it is not until we get a little older and wiser do we comprehend the necessity for maintaining a clean record, and usually too late to change it. Some things cannot be changed such as grades. If you try to falsify your academic record, it will inevitably be discovered and your reputation will be ruined, and in all likelihood you will face a serious misdemeanor (thereby updating your record again). It is also next to impossible to alter your medical and credit records, they are what they are.

In some instances, criminal records can be modified depending on the infraction. For example, certain misdemeanors can be esponged from a person’s record by the court providing the person agrees to certain terms, such as performing community service or attending special classes. Nonetheless, it is better not to get an infraction than to try and have it esponged.

It’s actually a little scary how much data there is on all of us, and we hope it is all safe and secure from public consumption. The point is, whether we like it or not, all of our actions are being recorded, and being a juvenile doesn’t mean you are exempt or have an excuse. Just remember, no matter how hard you try, you cannot outrun your record.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at [email protected]

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Copyright © 2010 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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