Colorful Entrepreneur - Public Trust

Hello board:

Here are my details:
Status: Employed at “big name” government contractor, under the auspices of the Department of Ed. since 2/2019
Clearance: In possession of interim-PIV since 4/2019
Investigator Interview: Completed 8/6/2019
Level: Seeking 6C Public Trust

I’ve no felonies, misdemeanors; I’ve a spotless financial record; no debt, no loans (only a mortgage); no drug use, not even pot, not even CBD, not even once; no arrests; nothing outstanding. No foreign relations; no foreign allegiances. A sterling education record, and my current employer enjoys my talents very, very much.

What I do have, however, is a colorful career. I’ve been gainfully employed; a successful entrepreneur; a successful and not-so successful business owner; a conventional employee; a pawn on Wall Street in the rat race, and so on. And I am 31 years old (I realize this post may make me seem older)

Because, relevant: I am a woman, and I have locked horns with my male superiors in the past, this sometimes results in petty terminations / dissolution of business relationships that just look incredibly colorful on paper.

Much like AWoodhull I have had a series of terminations in the past few years. I have disclosed each and every single one of these with excruciating, exacting, precise detail on my SF85-P form, believing that one cannot overshare enough. (And maybe to illuminate that sometimes it’s hard being a woman in the corporate machine).

I’ll provide a surface over-view for each termination. (I can go into more detail if prompted)

2018 - owner of company offered no other reason in writing other than “managerial decision,” on a whim, on paper. What he said, verbally, however, amounted to just plainly not liking me. And for every reason cited why he fired me, is every reason why my current employer hired me. He didn’t like the words I used; current employer loves the words I use. He didn’t like my scheduling technique; my current employer loves my scheduling technique. He didn’t like my “mediocre” multitasking abilities; my current employer loves my laser focus. He didn’t like that I sounded smart in my emails (yes, really) ; my current employer loves that I sound very smart in my emails.
Sometimes the business chemistry just isn’t there.
According to HR I involuntarily resigned but I am rehireable

2017 - My work from home days were questioned (if one were to overlay my sick days/work from home days over the calendar month they would see a very-obvious pattern emerge, which shouldn’t be all that mystifying) and after a contentious moment with my then-supervisor, I told him to “be more sympathetic toward women,” and was fired on the spot. (HR was there and almost had a conniption). Interestingly HR has me on record as voluntarily resigning and being rehireable.

2014 - I was partner at a medium sized corporation (I created). My partners were my guarantors. We had a handful of people on payroll. There were some grumblings between our employees, contractors, and my partners - missed commission payments; intermittent payments; grudgingly disbursed commissions – nothing, admittedly unusual for Wall Street. Then, my partners started to badger me about their take from our channel partners, and that it should clear directly to them and not our employees/contractors. Needless to say, one thing lead to another, my partners got more aggressive; they punitively slashed my draw by 30%; fired several of my employees, and then they dropped the casual one-liner “It’s not working out anymore.” They voted me out of (my) company. Their corporate lawyer sent my lawyer a notice that I breached fiduciary responsibility blah blah, and hence would not pay me my exit package.

– as I would later find out about 5 months later, one of my former employees had actually sued my partners for missed commission payments, and this suit was on-going silently in the background, until at which point after my exit, it could not be concealed anymore because I was subpoenaed to the bench trial as an expert witness.

Needless to say, I wasn’t going to get my company back. (I was only 23 at the time as well so didn’t want the uphill legal battle… welcome to the corporate world).

So, according to HR I stepped down, and I forfeited my shares.

2012 - My father died unexpectedly while I was working as an employee on Wall Street. My performance took a hit. I had a hard time closing out the remainder of the year with the proper quotas. My grievance leave was denied; my Christmas time was also denied; my performance continued to spiral. My then-supervisor fired me for poor performance; but still retained my services as a contractor (ha) ; then he got fired several months later himself…
then, of all surprises his father died unexpectedly years later - and he would reach out to me to apologize – and we grew from it and became very good friends. And to this day we are very close. Invited to the second wedding close.
He’s my boss, turned peer, turned friend.

In fact, he’s repeated as a reference multiple times on the e-Quip.

I disclosed every last lingering little detail possible in each of my terminations to the point that when my investigator read them aloud he was fascinated, as though reading a book.

I had to illustrate my history a little in order to demonstrate just how colorful and dynamic it was. I have substantial evidence that can corroborate everything I have disclosed, up to and including former coworkers, peers, colleagues and employees; lawyers, memorandum and even public records. So it’s not the candor I fear, so much as the ghosts from my past that can prove hostile against my efforts.

So, suffice to say - as mentioned - I have a very colorful career history. I am wondering if you think - with this primer - I’d be suitable for Public Trust.

I am pretty sure you can only list a reference once.

Please don’t let me your case.



Your investigator was not fascinated. He was just daydreaming about quitting.


Ha. By the time I got to the end of the post, I forgot she said she was already interviewed.


In all seriousness though, nothing looks like a show stopper.


I’m sorry. I can math (verb).
I was 27 in 2014… (be 32 in a few weeks)

Yeah, I wouldn’t give me a public trust either if I can’t subtract 5 years LOL

Humility goes a LONG way, my friend.

It’s called tact. Knowing when to share, and when not share. Both will be extremely useful to learn during a job search.

My best advice to you is practice humility and accountability often. It will get you a lot farther.

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Your investigator was probably in awe from having the pleasure of interviewing the pinnacle of human evolution


First . . . If you are working on an interim, I don’t think that the terminations are going to hurt you. Even if it’s unusual that all of this has happened to one applicant, none of these are usual situations on their own. The question that you will have to face: Why does all of this drama follow you? That’s not really a security question but one that your employer might ask . . .


While your story is compelling, there are always 3 sides to the truth. Yours, theirs and the actual truth, somewhere in the middle. As others have said, I don’t think it will impact your ability to get a Public Trust. However, you should ask yourself why this keeps happening to you.


First . . . If you are working on an interim, I don’t think that the terminations are going to hurt you. Even if it’s unusual that all of this has happened to one applicant

I was wondering about that, how the interim was relevant to all of this. Thank you for the direct response.

That’s not really a security question but one that your employer might ask . . .

More intriguingly, a lot of this stopped when I left the industry I was in and got into federal contracting.

Your investigator was probably in awe from having the pleasure of interviewing the pinnacle of human evolution

Wanting to make sure your employees and contractors are getting paid is hardly the quintessence of human evolution; it’s the decent, ethical, moral thing to do.

Humility goes a LONG way, my friend.

Simply stating facts, and I provided a contrast between the two employers. In fact, I would counter that accepting the brow-beating from the 2018-supervisor would be the quintessence of eating humble pie. (he’d often burst into my office demanding I use “less intelligent” words in my emails… but I digress).

The investigator’s response was - obviously - interpreted from my perspective, I cannot get into his head.

It’s called tact. Knowing when to share, and when not share. Both will be extremely useful to learn during a job search.

Of course. Obviously only the salient facts were provided on the form.

My best advice to you is practice humility and accountability often. It will get you a lot farther

Sure. The first thing I did after the 2018 supervisor fired me, was study for and get the PMP. One of his valid complaints is that he didn’t like my project management style - so I went on to learn more. Then I started law school because I swore I’d never let a nightmare like 2014 happen again.

And I made it very clear that my performance in 2012 was a sh*t show. No frills there.

Good, good. Thank you for the salient response. I really appreciate it.

To be clear: he was listed as the former supervisor and a reference that knows me well. So, twice, I suppose.

I thought your story was very interesting. I am sorry that you have gone through all of that crap but sometimes you don’t always get respect for being ethical. I have had so many crappy and crooked employers I could and should write a book about it. No one would believe all of that could happen to one person. I have had one clearance or another for half of my adult life and now I’m just adjudicated for one as a BI. I hope your clearance comes through soon and you can move on to your next chapter. BTW - I had a reference on my eQIP listed several times because we kept working for the same employers and we became good friends and good drinking buddies. He was considered a legend in his field before he retired and he was interviewed. He was also smart enough to know what to say and what not to say. LOL

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The reason why this keeps happening to you is because you have a victim complex. You keep going sideways with your employers because of this. Unless you start looking at your contributions to your situations, this is going to keep happening. Stop playing the victim and realize that your paid to do a job and stay in your lane.

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Thank you for the response. And - more importantly - thank you fo remaining relevant. Too many people on here are speaking besides the point.

I commiserate with you.


In the 2014 incident I was paid to build a company division for my partners by building up a corporation from scratch. So I was definitely not paid to stay in my lane. I was paid - and vested - to go very, very far outside of that well-traveled lane. In fact, I had to break ground and lay the foundation for, and paint that lane into existence.

If going sideways with [my partners] meant the employees got paid; so be it. If going sideways meant pushing back, standing your ground and fighting for their rights; so be it. If going sideways meant being called to trial as witness, and testifying under oath; so be it.

As for those other incidents: it all comes out in the wash. You talk to the right people and find out that the employee turn-over is very high under those managers; or that several people have been pointlessly fired or pressured into resigning since. And where do you think that salary goes? Back into the pot.

Just follow the money. Like I did with my 2014 incident… busted the scam wide open.

Being terminated three times in the span of a 12 year career pretty much falls on the bell curve of normal. You’re not going to like everybody; and everybody is not going to like you. Managers, bosses, owners can - and do - fire people for petty reasons.

footnote: I don’t count the 2014 incident as part of the average, because that was an entirely different animal.

Now that I’ve humored you, everything said here on both of our parts are beyond the scope of this conversation anyway. I provided my career history for context, only; not to get unsolicited career advice. (There’s Quora for that).

What is germane to this conversation is whether or not I’m suitable for Public Trust.