Dear Mikey,

A few years ago, I was on top of the world. I had a great job, a great relationship, a great home, and a great group of friends. Life could not get any better and I was extremely happy. Then right when the down economy hit, I accidentally made a mistake at my job. A mistake that ended up costing me my job, my relationship, my friends and, eventually, I lost my home.

I have had to pay for my mistake each and every single second of every single day ever since, going on three years now. Whenever I try to apply for a new job, it gets thrown back in my face again, and whenever I run into my old friends, it somehow gets brought up once again. I have been through a lot over the last three years and I have faced it mostly by myself. However, over the last three years I have made a lot of positive changes in my life, such as I have returned to my church, returned to school to better my job skills, and have learned to be more grateful for all of the things and people I am still blessed to have in my life.

Yet, while I am trying to move on the past keeps holding me back. How am I supposed to move on when jobs and people won’t give me a chance to because my past is always brought back up? How am I supposed to defeat the problems I caused in my past that are still affecting me today?

Adam L.

Dear Adam,

I am sorry to hear that you have been dealing with some hardships over the past few years. However, at the same time, I commend you for your courage to take a bad situation and turn it into a positive one by changing your life around. That is not an easy task so I admire the changes you have made.

It seems like you are trying to move on with your life but there are factors and even some people in your life that are holding you back by constantly throwing your past back in your face. So I can imagine your frustration.

I have a suggestion. Have you ever tried talking to your friends? Have you ever told them how it makes you feel when they are constantly bringing up what happened three years ago? If they are true friends, and you tell them that it just adds more negativity to your current situation when they bring the past up, they should be understanding, apologize, and should not bring it up anymore. However, a great way to determine whether or not they are true friends is to put them to the test. If you ask them to stop bringing up the past and they continue to do so, then they are obviously not true friends and you should cut them out of your life immediately.

The only way for you to move on with your life is to surround yourself with only positive and understanding people. Right now you need positive support, and anything negative will just hinder your situation and your self-esteem even more.

As for the job situation, if something that you did at your previous job landed on your record as to where it may show up on a background check then that could be something negative that may be hard to avoid. The majority of jobs these days require background checks, and so each time you apply for new employment you should already have the mindset that it will be brought up. At that point all you can do is be very honest with what happened at your previous job and realize that the place you are applying to can either look past what happened and give you a second chance, or they can hold it against you. However, if they hold it against you, just cross that job off of your list and move on. Dwelling on negative things such as getting rejected by a job you applied to will just make your situation even worse. You have to keep fighting this battle, keep moving forward and try to stay as positive as you possibly can. Persistence is key in this type of situation and just know that soon you will get hired; you just need to find the right fit for an employer to hire you. If they ask about your situation just be honest and really sell yourself and what you have to offer.

I think that the fact that you have grown as a person in a positive way after you have been through all of these hardships over the past few years and have made all of the changes you have already made is very inspiring. You never gave up and you still haven’t to this day. You should be very proud of yourself.

Just hang in there and only surround yourself around positive people. Allowing anything negative or anything that keeps reminding you of your past will only hold you back from your future. We all deserve second chances, but we have to first be the ones that actually allow ourselves to have that second chance. You don’t even realize how strong of a person you are already. Tomorrow is a new day. Keep moving forward and everything will work out. I promise you.

Ahwatukee Foothills resident Michelle “Mikey” Arana is a 2003 graduate of Mountain Pointe High School. She offers free peer advice, however, Mikey is not licensed or trained, just a fellow friend to the community. All inquiries made to Mikey will remain anonymous unless legal issues occur. She can be reached at or

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