Important Question

Would I pass a secret security clearance if I have been permanently barred from a state employer due to an unprofessional comment (that the employer took as a threat, but no charges were ever filed and nothing ever came of it) which happened five years ago? This was a one-time incident in my life; I have had several responsible jobs since then and nothing has happened since. I have accepted responsibility for this and the employer allowed me to voluntarily resign in lieu of a disciplinary dismissal. Thank you, I would really appreciate and value your opinion!

Based on what you have provided here it sounds like you have mitigated the one time issue. As long as you are completely honest and forthright about it on the application form this should not prevent you from being granted eligibility for Secret.

I agree with @marko.hakamaa that it should not prevent you from getting the clearance but they will want to look into it and so it could slow things down because they will probably want to visit that employer and get their side of the story. However, everything is so slow right now, you might not notice the difference.

First I would make ABSOLUTELY SURE you interpreted this situation correctly and that you are fact barred from employment at this state agency and barred for the reason you say. Some people tend to build up situations in their mind and blow it way out of proportion and start imagining things. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve encountered this. And ironically it’s usually the conscientious (and sensitive) types who are more inclined toward this. I’ve had people who are so self-critical and assume the worst in a situation and paint such a bad picture of themselves that I cringe at what I’ll find. Then after talking with the past supervisor and looking through the employment file I feel bad for the Subject for carrying the burden of a totally misinterpreted or imagined situation.

[Subject (Joe) recounting situation]: “I left on bad terms with the supervisor there. He didn’t care for me and was critical of my job performance. He asked me to resign.”

[Cut to investigator interviewing this past supervisor]: “Joe? Joe was a good guy. One of my better workers. He was a little sensitive so I had to be careful in how I supervised and talked with him. Joe was very talented and I thought he was wasting his time in this position and that he would probably do better elsewhere. And I even told him this once. Heck, I wish we could’ve kept him. I wish I could clone him and make ten more workers just like him.”

But if your case is more cut and dry and bad, still stick with the facts. Don’t color it with any interpretation you might project onto it. Talk about it but do so factually and if you want to characterize it at all then boil it down to a sound bite which subsumes all the points you’d like to make. This takes work. And don’t rework it and add to it during the interview. Also moderate any opinions you have. The irony is that in a bad/unfair job situation most honest and conscientious people are in inclined to lay out a criminal defense case with exhibit A, exhibit B,… timelines… corroborating witnesses. It’s always counterproductive, the message is lost, and often just opens more cans of worms. Also, temper, or better yet, don’t express, any emotion you have about a job/situation/coworker. There’s one way to do all of this without effort and that is brevity. BE BRIEF!

Wise advice. Answer questions honestly, don’t try to hide stuff but don’t launch into a long editorial or passionate defense.

Thank you! Do i need to put the actual comment that I said on my application, or just a statement like i wrote here? Not sure how much detail is needed. Just a few sentences with the date and few facts, or put in the actual comment with a little of the background of how the situation led up to the comment, with an investigation & hearing within the employer? Hope to submit my 86 this weekend. Thanks again !

Just provide the answer to what the question asks with basic facts. You can elaborate further if asked.