If it's a story about me, then I'll say so up front.

This is a blog about Truth, Justice and the American Way. The stories are true. No names have been changed to protect anyone's identity, including my own. If the story is about me, then I'll say so right up front. If I don't use a name to identify whom the story is about, then it's because it's not relevant. So please do not call me or e-mail me with your kind condolences or unwarranted congratulations about something that you believe is a cleverly disguised bio from my alter ego. These stories, like my photo, are unretouched.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Google Yourself – You’re in for a Shock

Remember the days when a potential employer would read your resume, interview you, check out your references, maybe query one of your peers at a Rotary meeting as to your reputation in the community and then decide whether to hire you?

Today it’s a whole new ball game. When you’re under consideration for a job, one of the many tools that human resource people are using these days is the internet. They check your credit score and credit history. They track what you have been “tweeting” and posting on LinkedIn . They track your comments on other people’s posts. They check out your Facebook page. They Google you.

Should this bother me? Nah! I’m into total transparency. I’ve never said anything online that I wouldn’t say in public, because I understand that the internet is a public forum. So I’ve always assumed that I had nothing to fear. I was wrong.*

This morning, just for chuckles, I Googled “Kay Lorraine Honolulu” and what a shock – On just one “information gathering” site (Pipl.com) I discovered that:

• I come from Monterey, California and have a criminal record
• I am a former truck driver (18 wheeler)
• I am an attractive African American who is a Facebook fan of jazz festivals (and a bad speller, to boot!)
• There are two of me living at different addresses in Jacksonville, Florida, and it appears that there is a bench warrant out for one of us
• I tragically died on December 31st in Easton Hospital after being stricken in my home (whatever that means)**
• I was born on January 4, 1927 in Chicago, Illinois
• I was born in April of 1935 and currently live in Gresham, Oregon
• I was born June 27, 1936 in Princeton, Illinois
• I was born on June 5, 1937 in Wheeler Township, Iowa
• I was born on September 29, 1940 in East Dubuqe, Illinois
• I was born on January 12, 1941
• I was born in 1943 and live at 2333 Kapiolani Blvd. in Honolulu, Hawaii
• I was born August 26, 1946 in San Antonio, Texas
• I was born in 1947 and live in McKinleyville, California
• I was born on November 28, 1981 and I live in the Philippines
• I currently live in Owosso, Michigan
• My father was Leroy Eugene Sellman
• I am the daughter of Stuart Basil Minchlin
• I am currently the Information Technology Director of the Barnes Group Inc. in Lansing Michigan
• I am currently a Producer at kay-net productions and have been since 1998
• I am a running character in a book called “Romantic From the Heart” which is written in tagalong, a primary language of the Philippines
• I work with lower functioning and developmentally disadvantaged youth at the Oregon Adolescent Sex Offender Treatment Network and have authored a very interesting paper on treating youth who have a parent incarcerated or have a history of abuse by a parent or others
• I was a former singer who can be seen on YouTube in an old clip of the 1942 movie “Sweater Girl,” singing “I Don’t Want to Walk Without You”
• I am cited in four scholarly publications

Here’s the problem, folks: Absolutely none of the above information is true about me. None of it. It is evidentially true for somebody with my name (and I’m not including folks named Lorraine Kay or Kay Lorraine additional-surname). Just Kay Lorraine, which I always assumed is not a common name.

I was a former professional singer, but not in 1942 (I hadn’t been conceived yet). I do not have a criminal record. There are no outstanding warrants for my arrest (at least none that I know of). Last time I checked I was still alive, job hunting in a tough market and now worried that some human resources person will reject my resume on the grounds that I am possibly a social security-aged, former felon with a history of working with sex offenders. And that was just one search site. How scary is that?!

This is not to say that all of the information printed about Kay Lorraine on Pipl.com is false. On that same site I also found the following true facts:
• I was a film producer for 20 years
• I am the lone woman recipient of the Jay Eisenstat Award of Excellence, which was presented to me at Gracie Mansion in New York City (all other winners have been Caucasian males, often awarded posthumously which confirms the rumor that I am officially a dead white guy)
• I have 16 years at the executive level in the Hawaii non-profit area
• I am known as an aggressive problem solver with a passion for community service
• On the side, I used to be a professional film critic
• One of my film reviews was quoted extensively in a scholarly publication about South Pacific Island culture, but it wasn’t any of the publications cited on Pipl.com
• I do subscribe to Brazen Careerist and read it regularly
• I do occasionally comment on blog posts
• I am my religious congregation’s liaison to the Family Promise Homeless Shelter
• Yes, I’m sorry but that really is a photo of me dressed as Martha Washington, on the steps of the Queen Emma Summer Palace at a charity historical function in 2006 (don’t ask!)

How can potential employers separate the fact from the fiction when there is so much information available today? The truth is, they can’t. And that’s the problem.

My friend Emma Littman had an interesting experience along these lines. She is also currently job hunting (she’s a bright, young attorney - e-mail me ASAP if you have an opening). Emma decided to Google herself and to her horror discovered a list of “known associates.” It was a list of all of the residents of an apartment complex where she briefly lived before she started law school. They were certainly not “known associates” and of those few she did know, Emma suspected that some of them were “quite dodgy.”

If you want to read more about what employers can find out about you online go to http://jobsearch.about.com/od/jobsearchblogs/a/privacy.htm to read a fascinating article by job search expert Alison Doyle.

And just for the heck of it, Google yourself on Pipl.com and check out your prison record, outstanding warrants, known associates and drug rehab references. And don’t even get me started on potential employers accessing your credit rating. That’s a future blog.

Are we having fun yet?

*Please don’t tell my husband that I have ever uttered that phrase.

** In lieu of flowers, please send a donation in my name to the Hawaii Women’s Business Center, 1041 Nu’uanu Avenue, Suite A, Honolulu, Hawaii 96817. Thank you.


  1. Thank you for this article. Since I started my business I have googled my name. I did try Pipl.com and my name is the only one that came up. I am not giving them money to get my information about me however. It is so said that we can not get a job based on who we truly are any more. I completely agree with your thoughts on the credit report especially now with the economy the way it is. My credit report was really good up until 2 years ago. It still is not bad, but it is not great.

  2. I just discovered you. Somebody on the internet suggested that I read this. This is funny, funny stuff. I think that all job recruiters and headhunters should be forced to read this before they start doing research on candidates. Wow!