I've been a furry for a decade, spanning back through my high school years — and left a large online footprint. I've tried to reduce it a bit, but everything is forever on the Internet. Entering the job market, I'm concerned about prospective employers being able to link me with my furry identity, or folks being able to link vice-versa.
My question to you is: does it matter? Do people actively search for people's backgrounds and would my furry identity matter to them? What do furries who have careers do regarding their two identities?
John "Deer" Doe
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Hi, John Deer,
What an outstanding and highly relevant question for the “Ask Papabear” column! Thank you for sending it.
Background checks by companies for potential employees have been around for a long time. They are especially important when it comes to government employees, any job that deals with working with children, or jobs that involve highly sensitive information. Companies conduct background checks to protect themselves and their clients, as well as other employees.
In the past, background checks traditionally focused on whether or not a job applicant had a criminal record. Additional focus in recent years has been paid to applicants who have any record of child abuse or molestation, or with links to organizations or people associated with terrorist groups.
There are companies that specifically provide background checks to employers. The Internet, as you note, has become a resource that employers sometimes check on their own, and, yes, social networks are increasingly coming under scrutiny.
Here’s a good link about the things employers often check and what some of your basic rights are: http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs16-bck.htm. And this article is about employers checking social network sites: http://abcnews.go.com/Business/job-tweets-background-checks-employers-now-include-postings/story?id=13908874#.T0B0zvEgdNs.
Now, John, your question is particularly intriguing because it involves your having, in essence, an alias; that is, your fursona. My first questions to you, then, would be if there is any way that your real identity is easily linked to your fursona? For example, if someone googled your name, would they easily find web pages about your furry activities?
If not, then it is highly unlikely that an employer will find out you are a furry. Their main interests will be a criminal, financial, and educational background check. They will check your resume to see if it is factual, and call your references to see if you are being truthful about your experience and education. They will also probably google you on the Internet, and they could possibly check social network sites, especially Facebook and Twitter.
Most people out there have no knowledge of the furry community and would not even think to check this unless it popped up for some reason on a search under your real name.
On the other hand, if your name does pop up in association with your fursona, things might get a little dicey. As we all know, people outside the community often judge furries based on the furry porn that is out there; and, whether or not you post such material yourself, there is guilt by association. This is particularly a problem if there is any “baby fur” porn. That, I believe, would send up an immediate red flag to any potential employer and you would not get hired . . . or worse!
I don’t think the above scenario is very likely, however. Most routine checks will not be so thorough (and, of course, never volunteer such information); if you are not applying for a position that involves working with children, the disabled, or the elderly, or with a government agency or a large corporation with lots of proprietary information they wish to keep secret, you probably have nothing to worry about.
As for what professional furries do about their dual identities, I can tell you that I, for one, have had no problem with it, but that’s just me. If anyone out there reading the “Ask Papabear” column would like to share their experiences involving being a furry working in a non-furry environment, please share them by posting a comment using the form below. Thanks.
Good luck on your job search, John!
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