L access after history of dishonesty

I’m currently in a hell of a bad situation (of my own making). I quit a job eight years ago. I lied to my coworkers about what I was doing with my life. I told everyone I was going to law school but I was not. Even while I was doing this I hated myself for it and knew it was wrong. I quit my job because people were starting to find out and I could not deal with it. After I had left my position there were a few people who I came clean to. It was incredibly painful. I never wanted to feel the way I felt before, during, or after this self-inflicted nightmare so I cut all ties with everyone I knew there and never did anything like that again. I was 34 when this all went down so this was no youthful indiscretion.
I went a completely different route with life since then. Worked my ass off and got a good job after getting a CS degree. That’s no easy feat with no real references. I am now in the position of needing to fill out SF-86 for DOE L access. My understanding is that this is equivalent to a Secret clearance.
SF-86 asks for 10 years of employment history. I plan on listing the job I quit and listing that supervisor because I have to - if there is one thing I learned from this is to never lie again. Not even a white lie. I know that they will discover what I did and that this is a major red flag, as it calls into question truthfulness and trustworthiness. My question is, should I bring this up in the SF-86 right from the get-go? If so, how? Or wait till the investigator calls and be straight from the hip?

It’s a bit unclear. Did you leave your job due to unfavorable circumstances such as being fired, quit after being told you were fired, mutual agreement, any misconduct? You said people were starting to find out, but you don’t describe what they were finding out. Maybe finding out you weren’t going to law school? 1.) It was eight years ago and not in scope of investigation. 2.) If you did not leave under unfavorable circumstances, you are not required to list it. When/If you have a subject interview, you can explain this situation, but it may not be that relevant unless there were other issues that weren’t disclosed. If you do have a subject interview, be honest about your reasons for leaving the position.

I re read your post. So as I am reading it you were lying to your coworkers and telling them you were going to law school. When they found out, you quit your job. Then you say you got a Computer Science degree with no references and you think this is hard.
This shows reason to not trust you and frankly speaking a lack of maturity. You also ask if you should lie again on the SF86 or be truthful from the “get go”.
I don’t think your a good candidate to hold an L clearance.

Thank you for your response. My apologies, my post is a bit convoluted so I’ll try to clarify. In no way am I considering lying on the SF-86. My question is more how to address it. In the SF-86, maybe in the free-text portion? Since the SF-86 goes back ten years, I have to disclose that employer and that supervisor. It is not that I am trying to hide this incident. Maybe a better question would have been if I write about it in the continuation area for questions 11, 12, and 13 on the SF-86, is that more appropriate than waiting for them to contact that employer, find out about this incident, and explain it in person?

If I was considering lying on the SF-86, I would not post here about it. :slight_smile: I completely agree with the lack of maturity assessment.

Thank you for responding. To clarify, there were no unfavorable circumstances such as what you list, but you are correct, people were finding out I had lied and not attended law school.

When you say it is not in scope, that is because of the length of time. But since the SF-86 covers ten years, and this was eight years ago, won’t the investigation ask that employer for verification since it has to be listed on the form?

So . . . Your concern is that you misled your coworkers about going to law school and you quit your job when they started to find out that you were not? Was a law degree something valuable at that job?

I don’t really see a problem here . . .

1 Like

I’m not seeing an issue. So you told co-workers you were going to Law School while you worked there. But you weren’t. Some found out you were not going to law school, you were embarrassed…lost face and quit. Then you went to school, got a degree…and are afraid to tell the investigator your reason for quitting? I’m not really seeing a clearance issue. . Sounds more like you changed your major. Or did that happen after you left? Now if you spun complicated stories, collected tuition assistance, etc…that re characterizes this. But if you just shared shop talk saying you were going to school on the side when you weren’t…not seeing a clearance issue.

Again . . . The only issue that I can see is if your lie were material to your employment.

1 Like

Using a bit of humor…I could tell people I am leaving a position to be a superhero. Chances are I will not become one. Is it a clearance issue that I told people that? Or that many laughed at my ambition? Or that I went to super hero summer camp? Not really. Now, if you spun a deep tale of how hard the course load was, begged off certain projects or tasks, or declined social activities based on your non existent going to law school story…or gained financial benefit from this story…I think I understand the concern. Did you tell them you were leaving to pursue a law degree, but did not do this, or did you tell them you were a law school student all along and it was proved you were not? So on the employment pages where you speak to “reason for leaving,” you could say left to go to school and still be honest. I don’t think as captured so far it even qualifies for “leaving under mutual agreement.” Unless there is more…

Looks like I have some things to learn about formatting. @EdFarmerIII, yes, you have the concern noted accurately. A law degree was not important to the job. Thank you for your response.

@amberbunny, thanks for your response. Yes. I quit, took a few months off to clear out my head and evaluate wtf I was going to do, then went back to school. I quit before everyone could find out, but there were a few that knew and things were going to get ugly in terms of rumor mill, ostracism, etc. Someone up the chain said it showed a lack of maturity, and I agree with that, but it also shows cowardice as well. Nothing like tuition assistance, certainly. Shop talk would characterize it I think.

Yes, amberbunny, I told them all that I was a current student but was not. I didn’t give much reason for leaving, but wasn’t required to do so. At the time I left, my supervisor had no idea that I was not who I was telling people I was and I left the position on good terms, no mutual agreement, being asked to leave, etc… I’m pretty sure those terms are probably not so good at this point as it was a workplace where the rumor mill was participated in frequently. I obtained the CS degree afterward as it was something I had always been interested in and it seemed as good a time as any. Sort of a fresh start.

I’m not seeing any reason to bring it up. If your old boss tells him you left to save face after telling lies and regaling them about the difficulties of Law School…okay that is an issue. My point: the scale of the event can range from nobody’s business to man that is a whopper of a tale. If the position you are applying for requires a Poly they may ask you if you ever lied. Everyone should answer that with an affirmative “Yes.” Because everyone lies. Period. “Does this dress make me look fat?” How did everyone answer that? And so on. I would not worry about this being an issue at all. You may have told them that as a goof. You may have actively tried deceiving people…again, scale. But they honestly forgot who you were within 30 days of leaving no matter how popular or unpopular you thought you were.

There’s nothing to disclose. I doubt your supervisor is even there anymore or anyone who might remember this from 8 years ago. The only thing you do is fill out the Reason for Leaving. Pick the reason. I’m not sure why you quit to save face but whatever. It’s your word against there’s. Say you wanted to pursue another direction in your career. You thought about law school but decided to go CS route. You quit your job to pursue this dream. Who cares what anyone else thinks about you. People tell white lies when they leave their jobs all the time to save face and not burn bridges. Everyone understands that