College student seeking guidance about clearance process

Hey everybody!

I hope you’re doing well. I am a recent grad likely to get a job with NAVSUP and I am feeling pretty anxious about the upcoming clearance process and whether I should go through with it.

Cards on the table, here are my red flags:

  • I smoked marijuana one time in my life a little less than a year ago (over 21, “legal” state, I didn’t know I would be working with the federal government).

  • Beyond that, I have diagnosed depression and anxiety due to family trauma that I have treated through therapy and finding religion. I still have hard times sometimes, I will admit that, but it hasn’t stopped me from exceeding expectations in my internship and having a really high GPA.

The reasons why I am worried:

  • If I don’t get the clearance, so be it. I was honest and I would rather be honest than a liar. However, can other employers that DO NOT require a clearance see that I was denied clearance? Would a denied clearance appear in a background check for municipal government or a private company? I have tried to find this info on my own but am having a hard time getting a clear answer.

  • Secondly, would admitting that I smoked weed on the SF-86 be reported to my current employer? Again, I live in a “legal” state, I was over 21 when I did it and it was on a weekend not during work hours. I work at a tech startup so It’s not like I am working in a position where I am required to be drug tested or need to be marijuana free to competently do my job (e.g. lifeguards, soldiers, police officers). With that being said, I am still a bit nervous.

I would never under any circumstance lie of the SF-86. Honesty and my country are too important to me. However, if a denied clearance would hurt my future chances employment elsewhere in the non-clearance world or would get me fired from my current job/internship, I would just decline the job offer and wait a few years before deciding to try again (I have always been passionate about public service).

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I am really new to this world and have no one in my life that has a clearance so I don’t really have anyone else that I can ask. I have found answers to all of my other questions about the process online, but these two are giving me trouble.

Thank you all so much and have a wonderful day! :slight_smile:

Nothing you described appears to be a show stopper. Marijuana use is prevalent in backgrounds now and adjudicative standards have relaxed. You have several mitigating factors as well when it comes to your use, age, one time use, time passed since use, etc. You will get some extra questions but again, doubtful it would cause a denial, especially if you have no other negative circumstances to report.

The anxiety/depression does not even appear to be reportable on the SF-86, read the questions carefully. If you googled the SF-86 to see the questions, make sure you look at the latest version, a lot changed in regard to the mental health questions.

As of this point in time, a clearance denial does not appear in backgrounds for municipal, state or private sector backgrounds. Could it be shared in the future? Maybe, anything is possible but the chances of that are miniscule. You would have all sorts of national security implications by sharing that information I would think.

Thank you so much for your very detailed response! I really appreciate it!

I guess I got an old version of the SF-86. I just checked and the one I read online from OPM was dated, “revised, November 2016.” I will search for a newer one. Thanks for the heads up!

One more thing since you are here, and, because of your username, I assume are a federal investigator. I am having trouble deciding if something is reportable as employment on the SF-86.

For about a month at the end of last school year and the start of Summer, I was setting up social media accounts and helping plan marketing strategy for a gaming start up. I never filled out an I-9 or a W-4, but I did sign a document that I think they drafted that basically said I would be paid by the asset. With that being said, I never gave them my paypal or other info so they could send me money. I just wanted experience in the gaming world and figured the dealing with taxes this way would be a nightmare so I didn’t really want to get paid. I also didn’t want to owe them my labor in case I felt the project wasn’t going anywhere. This is exactly what happened a month later and I left.

Should I report this as employment? I have looked up what employment is defined as and all I could find is that the BLS says, “people are considered employed if they did any work at all for pay or profit during the survey reference week.” Considering I never got paid or sent in my information to the person running the project to pay me, is this employment? A lot of the info requested for the employment section of the SF-86 I would have to reach out for because this whole thing was organized over an online gaming forum.

I know this is a weird question, but I don’t want to overshare or undershare. The last thing I want to do is commit a felony by lying to the federal government, but I also don’t want to make more work for my investigator by including an irrelevant experience.

Thank you again! :slight_smile:

List the employment as best you can. You can explain in the comments you were not paid, etc.

Although these situations can be murky, is better to list than for the investigation to uncover unlisted information down the line. Even though uncovered information may not be a show stopper, it can delay the completion of your investigation.

Yes, I am a federal investigator, I know, I know, super creative username.