I have been thinking about the whole Rob Ford affair, in particular the information that has come to light about his brother’s high school career. Dougie, it seems, was a very successful supplier of cocaine and other mind altering substances in his Etobicoke neighbourhood.
It was 30 years ago. Does it matter now?
Thirty years ago, I played saxophone. Does that matter now? Well, I know a lot more about music than most of my peers and I still have some close bonds to the people I played with during high school.
My husband was a waiter in a high end café in Yorkville 30 years ago. He has no connection with that today except that he still really likes cake.
So, I guess the answer is “it depends”. If that stuff you did as a teenager is still a part of your daily life, then yes, it does matter. If your friends are all from the period of time, yes, it matters.
What is important is to know how to talk about it. When I took a course in stand up comedy writing, we learned to deal with the “elephant in the room”.
If there is a chapter in your resume/life that seems out of place or downright weird, be prepared to call it out right from the get-go. Don’t wait to be asked. Be proactive and use the most candid and authentic language possible.
What if it took you seven years to finish university? The message is not “I flunked out of first year and had to take some time to get my head out of my ass.” But rather, “I was not quite ready for university, so I took some time to refocus, worked for a year and then selected a much better program that lead me to where I am today.”
So yes, your past matters but what matters more, is how you talk about it.