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Dear Urban Diplomat: How do I make peace with my Google results?

I recently finished my master’s and started applying for jobs. There’s just one thing standing in my way: an extremely unfortunate rap video I made as a joke in high school. It’s one of the top results when you google my name. I worry the clip will stymie my chances at employment, but I can’t get access to my YouTube account or the email associated with it to delete the travesty. What should I do?

—Search and Destroy, Dufferin Grove

Sadly for you, the platitude “nothing lasts forever” is about as obsolete as Windows 95. There’s no surefire way to make this go away, but there are a few things you can try. First, report the clip to YouTube on the grounds that it invades your privacy. Next, bury that sucker as far down in the search results as possible: comment on news articles using your real name, sign up for every LinkedIn knock-off your pesky eighth-grade classmates keep inviting you to, and link your (hopefully less questionable) social media accounts to each other to trick the Google-bots into listing them first. If a would-be employer unearths your star turn anyway and brings it up in an interview, be honest: express your regret, explain that you’ve tried to take it down, and don’t be afraid to poke a little fun at yourself—provided your sense of humour has evolved since high school.

Send your questions to the Urban Diplomat at urbandiplomat@torontolife.com

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