Offer Contingent IC TS/SCI with Poly, Want to accept another job

So I’ve seen a few other questions on here somewhat related to this, but I was hoping for a slightly more “personal” answer as it seems my situation is kind of a cross of several different questions. For reference, I’m still in college and am undergoing this whole process while also wrapping up my undergraduate degree.
Last year in May I signed a “Letter of Commitment” with a small contractor in the DC metro area basically saying that I would receive a Job Offer once I completed the entire TS/SCI w/ full-scope poly examination through the IC. I met with the investigator very shortly (maybe a month or so) after submitting my SF-86, and recently completed my polygraph (December). The poly was kind of rough (though I don’t have anything in my history to actually hide) and the polygrapher made a big deal about how there were things that were “unresolved” in my poly. Looking online, this just seems like a scare tactic that they like to employ when interviewing you. Again, I have no history or factors that I can possibly think of which would truly limit me from being able to pursue such a job.
That said, I’ve received an internship offer for this summer at another company that I would much rather like to work at (if given a full-time offer when I graduate) and that would also give me the opportunity to use my clearance to do work for them as well.

My questions were as follows:

  1. Does anyone have any experience with these “Letter of Commitments” that basically just say if I complete the clearance process I agree to work for the “sponsoring” company? If so, how truly binding are they? At this point I’ve been undergoing this process for about 9 months now but just don’t know if the company sponsoring me is the right fit anymore.
  2. Does anyone have experience with getting a clearance through one job, and then “reneging” on a job offer from that organization and simply going elsewhere? Are there any factors that I need to be concerned with, considering the aforementioned Letter of Commitment is the only thing I’ve signed so far?
  3. If I graduate prior to my clearance process being completed and start work at this other company (again, if they give me a full-time offer) and then my clearance completes could I simply tell the original company I wasn’t interested anymore?

Again, I apologize if there is a lot of overlap with other questions on here. I’m just getting started out in this “adult” world of Security Clearances and competing job offers and trying to figure out my potential moves going forwards, before I end up in a situation where I have an offer from my dream company but have to decline because I’m somehow obligated to work for a company I’m no longer interested in.

You are free to voluntarily withdraw from processing at any time. If I could read the actual verbiage on the commitment letter…I could give a more concise answer but I believe it is actually meaningless. They are well aware it is a highly competitive environment for poly cleared TS people with a degree. So they try to lock you up early on. Is the second position cleared as well? Same agency? Or are you spooked" by what the Poly person told you? It isn’t unusual to get a second poly and even a follow up interview. Did company A commit to a salary offer? You are pretty much free to end one relationship and start another more beneficial to yourself. As long as you were honest on the form, and in the Poly…don’t sweat it. Anti Poly will post and tell you they are not reliable but that carries zero weight to a person applying for a cleared position where the agency in question trusts them. You simply must successfully complete the poly in order to get cleared at that level. If perhaps you fudged the dates or frequency of recreational drug use…you may very well have something to resolve. Not unusual for one just completing college. They really do not care if you got high. As long as you have not done it in the past 12 months (based on age) or the use wasn’t way too high. But if you were not honest? That will be a problem. In that case I would withdraw, contact the security office submitting you and simply tell them you have withdrawn. You don’t even need a reason.

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I am in a similar boat and the guidance I was given by the agency representatives every step along the way was to continue living life as if none of this was going on. I personally accepted a new job, unrelated job shortly after signing my COE as well.

Take opportunities that are good for your career despite having this as an ongoing process, save the needed vacation days for any travel you may need, and cross each bridge as you reach it.

This reminds me of the “non compete agreements” some contractors want you to sign. Basically they are saying if you work for us, you agree not to go to work for one of our competitors. However these days it is hard to find two companies that are not “competitors” in some sense of the word.

A friend said he got one of these and noted that the way it was worded, one could reasonably conclude that he would be compelled to never even seek a job with another company, much less actually work for one!

I have no idea how these things are enforced but I suppose they could try to sue you at some time down the road. Or the company that ends up hiring you.

So for reference, the letter of commitment that they had me sign basically read as follows: candidate acknowledges that there is no expectation as to how long it could take to complete the entire clearance process, and then: “If a clearance is granted to the candidate, the candidate agrees to actively pursue a position which directly supports the customer w/in 30 days of approval and intends to accept a position on sponsor contract if offered”. Which I guess is the part that worries me/confuses me. The company I’ll be at this summer is known for having a VERY fast “turnaround” time in regards to interns being offered full-time. If they like you, odds are you’ll have an offer in your hands before you finish and you’ll have a short window to accept. I guess worst case my plan is to see what happens this summer, if they give me an offer then contact this other company and see if there is any update on my process and then if there’s nothing then potentially just tell them to cancel the clearance and pursue a non-clearance role with company B and maybe somewhere down the road restart the process. If they tell me they have my clearance, see if I can get out of working for them by basically making it clear I’m not interested anymore or at absolute worst case try to get company B to push my start date back, work for company A for a brief period of time then hand in my resignation.