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The Good, The Dad, & The Ugly

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Dad's Advice - Addresses & Other Tidbits



Addresses. When is the last time you thought about your address? How about all you addresses for the last 3 years? Five years? TEN YEARS? I have. Especially in the last few hours... the background check I am filling out wants every address I have lived at for the last 10 years AND someone who can verify that I lived there.  Luckily, I have a folder. A very special folder. A folder that contains all the little tidbits of my pasts lives that I don't keep i my head any more.  It's my "Occasionally Super High Important Tidbits" Folder.

Yep, the "OSHIT" Folder. Aptly named as I have regularly face-palmed myself and said this aloud when trying to recall the information form memory.

So why talk about this? Here I sit - 3 hours into filling out a background check for a potential "government" job - and I realize, "Damn, I'm lucky to have my OSHIT Folder." Without it I would be calling my mom and family, looking through old emails, or find old post to remember every address of the last ten years. And then I remember that my dad never taught me this - I learned this on my own...

Professionally, I do occasional client work as a Life and Career Coach as a part time "side hustle." I used to teach transitioning skills professionally, but that opportunity has moved on, and so have I. The information and skills a received in that area are really valuable, and you see just how little people know about "looking for work." Its not their fault - looking for work is usually not something we think about as needing to have a skill in as we (hopefully) don't need to look to often. And when we do look for work, we go with "age old, tried and true wisdom" so we are all set, right? What could go wrong? Well, lots, and not being told to have an OSHIT folder is one of the many things I now coach clients on regularly.

Things I wish I Knew

This information (addresses over the last ten, or even twenty, years) is the sort of thing you don't know you need! One of best things about being a dad is passing on lessons you have learned to the next generation. In that simple act, you give a jump start to that person, helping get them to the next level. No amount of "now, listen your old man" can replace going out and doing things on your own and learning the lessons for yourself, there are many ways to reduce time wasted and stress encountered if you only listed. 

The folder is useful for more than just work applications. If you want to rent, take out a mortgage, or any number of other "big" life events, the information in the folder can be invaluable and save you lots of time and stress. Not to mention awkward phone calls asking your sister when her wedding date was - the one I missed because I was overseas and couldn't attend that she still holds against me... just a little... (Yah, I needed that info for my background check and I cringed! It asked for her name(s) and when she changed her name I needed the date.  FML )

What's in the Box, er, Folder?


"Life is a crappy teacher. It gives the test first, then you learn the answers."

So what's in the folder? Tidbits; little bits of knowledge that i have learned might be important to have in the future but are generally hard to remember and/or will be hard to find later. A perfect example is "previous home & mailing addresses." What can/should go in YOUR folder?

  • Address going back to Age 18
    • bonus points if you have landlord contact info or someone NOT a family member that can verify you lived there.
  • Employers/Companies
    • Physical Company Address
    • Phone Number & Email
  • Positions Held
    • Title & Dates
    • bonus points for a description of what you did
  • Supervisors of each Position
    • Name
    • Phone number & Email
  • References - Keep these up to date!
    • Friends/Coworkers going back at least 10 years
    • Addresses, Phone numbers & Emails
  • Car Registrations
    • Type/Model, VIN & License Plate #s
  • Credit Card Accounts / Loans
    • Account #
    • When you Opened it & Closed Accounts 
  • Personal Phone Numbers
    • bonus points for when you had them
  • Family Information
    • Mom, Dad, Siblings, Children
    • Dates of Birth, Places of Birth, and contact info

This is not a huge amount in terms of words, maybe a few pages, but the wealth of the information is huge. I also realize that the information may go out of date - specifically contact information, phone numbers and emails. In short, don't stress too much. Write down what it was at  the time and update it if you know it changes. In most cases people like to see you have the information to put in the spots, and if it is a background check, they will use what is accurate to do the check. Its not your fault things change. Just make sure your references are people you still talk to...

Because the size of this stuff is rather small my folder is actually a digital, not a physical, document.  I email my self a copy each time I add something and I save a copy on my computers and back up drive (when I remember to do so...) so worse case is I might lose the most recent information (the easiest information to recollect, thankfully) so not a big deal.

Start Now - Keep it Up to Date

I use Microsoft OneNote to organize my OSHIT Folder, along with many other bits of information. It syncs between my computers, tablets, and phone. You can password protect sensitive information on OneNote, so that's a huge plus. If you aren't sure, just keep a paper copy in you safe and in an actual folder. 

Okay, now it's your turn! Do you have an OSHIT Folder? Do you thin its a good idea? What advice would you give that I missed? Comment below! 


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Love the name of the folder! I've been there enough times too! Getting a background check for a Secret Clearance job can really make you say OSHIT far too many times. I wish I had one back then. My Secret Clearance expires in another 4 years and I'll be needing all this information again to re-new.

I generally keep most of this information, but not all in one spot. I'll certainly be looking at condensing that down now.

Thanks for the pointers!

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That's some serious background to investigate, especially if you need a contact at those old places you've lived and worked.

I know I've learned to keep information in OneNote since it syncs up to so many useful locations and I know I won't lose it. Especially my kids info such as their medical record number, socials, etc. That one tool has saved my bacon for information I needed at the last minute so many times. Digital and in cloud are definitely ways to go with this to avoid losing in my mind, just need to make sure the data itself stays secure.

Google keep is another useful tool I use, but more for immediate needs where I have shared lists with my girlfriend for groceries at home and other shopping needs that we both can see and update (and the random notes we write to each other on there out of fun!).

Anyhow, guess I need to get to work on remembering every address I've been at since 18......last 10 years is easy, but since 18.....oh man would I be in trouble if I needed that.

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@Gaarafield - i think that it's good to have, but the age 18 thing is for younger dads/children.  Dads with more "levels" (40 plus) 10-15 years for addresses is generally sufficient.  I will note that when I applied to work as a contractor in Germany, they required me to provide a document of EVERY job I have ever had (including periods of unemployment).  EVERY ONE, EVER.  That's where I learned that I needed to upgrade my OSHIT list.  

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In case something happens to you:

1) Somewhere, maybe not electronically if you are concerned about being hacked, note down logins and passwords to important sites (bank accounts) along with the PINs to your bank cards.

2) Make sure someone, maybe your spouse, sibling, friend, etc., knows about your OSHIT folder, where it is located and knows the password (if electronic) to access it.

(I read through this pretty quickly so it might have been covered already, but wanted to put it out there.)

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