First post here. I'm a cook in the Navy, and will be getting out soon, and have been trying to get more info about switching careers, and going FF. I've wanted to be one for over 6 years now, but just never really took the desire seriously until now. My brother is a Naval EMT on Okinawa, JP, and works with the federal FFs out there and has been helping me get my stuff together.
I'd like to go federal if possible, but would like to hear anyone’s thoughts on the matter if you were up to it. If the Fed route doesn't work out I'd like to work in the Portland ME area However it has occurred to me that before I go to far and waste my G.I. Bill on school , and all the time that goes into it, I was looking for some insight from some of you. There are a few areas that I am concerned about that I need some clarity on, some of which require some back ground, but I'll try and keep it brief.
1st off, I was wondering about disqualifiers. There are several I am worried about. Let's start with the medical issues.
Recently I was subjected to mold poisoning from the barracks that I lived, and it caused a laundry list of physical problems, that I am now finally over coming. One of them though, even though I have managed to completely rid myself of all the symptoms by use of simple supplementation (iodine), is a form of auto immune disease (hashimotos thyroidisis -thyroid auto immune dieses). Is this a disqualifier?
On top of that, when I first started to get sick from the mold, it was a chronic condition, and made me feel so bad all the time that it cause me to shy away from everything that was stress full, which translated, (when things got really bad) even into what appeared to be social phobias. So consequently I was referred to several mental health professionals. When the mold was removed from my environment, and I started to recover from all these issues, and million others not listed, went away, and for good. So it's no longer a problem, but since I was directed to see a mental health professional, as unnecessary as it was, is that a medical disqualifier at all?
Lastly, on the medical front, I ended puncturing me ear drum on a flight one day because I couldn't equalize pressure (head cold that day), and within a month or so everything healed up. In fact I hear better out of that ear now, go figure. Disqualifier?
Ok onto bad stuff... I'm by no means proud of these things but here goes. After reading some of the requirements listed on some sites as to what some stations consider a disqualifier or not I started to get a little worried. Some of these things might just be scrupulous issues but when faced with a polygraph... well you get what I'm saying.
-I've done pot roughly 5 time, 6-7 years ago, even though I'm pretty sure I told my recruiter it was only twice. I've NEVER done anything heavier.
-I smoked cigarettes in high school (before I was 18).
-I've been pulled over for speeding 3 times between 5-7 years ago.
-I've been in two accidents. Rear ended some one the first time. Then the second time I parked to close to semi (which I new I did) and when he pulled out he ripped the bumper off my van. The guy probably lost his job even though it was my fault. This was again, 6-7 years ago. (Noticing a pattern in the time line?)
-When I was a little kid, I was extremely dishonest... as in with a capital "E".
-When I was in 10th grade, I used to steel cds and movie all the time. Never convicted, but was caught by the store owner of one place, and he kicked me out.
-I used to work at a school snack bar in.... 9th grade where I frequently just gave stuff away and would clock in and out at the wrong time so I cold get paid more.
-I drove under the influence once, that I can remember, and anther time with a hangover. Never got pulled over for it. (6-7 years ago)
-I lied to a cop once about not wearing my seat belt 6-7 years ago. and tried again about 1-1.5 years later but got caught.
I think that's all the bad stuff.
I am a significantly different person now after joining the military 5 years ago, and am almost sickeningly honest now, to the point that I drive myself a little crazy making sure I get every detail right when telling someone something, eliminating as much exaggeration as possible in the process as well. I think that's all the bad stuff.
My big fear is being completely honest, and then being asked back for another interview, and then remembering something, and being accused of with holding info. The other problem is that I feel like I need to spill my guts every time I need to do some thing like this, and consequently, I end up delving into the TMI zone, and if I don’t do that then I over think the question. The only problem is that if I don’t do this I feel like I’m being dishonest. It’s a catch 22.
Grey areas are the worst for me to. Like: “Did you ever kill some one?” No! But… I have shot birds in the past with pellet guns for fun. And I had a room mate in A school that told me he had killed people and had stolen cars before, and never told the recruiter when he joined. Was I wrong for not reporting (if not liable) this even though he was probably making it up and trying to get attention (A year latter I found out he got kicked out for going UA and committing grand theft auto)? This sort of thing has happened twice to me! I just figured these people were joking!
Does having a current Secret Clearance help at all with any of this process?
Again, the reason I ask all of this is that I just want to know if this means I shouldn't even bother trying out at all, or if I still stand a good chance. I look forward to everyone’s comments, but would really like to hear from some one who has sat on an interview board.
Would prior Commanding Officer and Chief’s letters help, as a character reference, in order help balance out the bad of my past?
Charlie (CS2 USN)
You sound like someone who made a lot of young, dumb decisions when you were immature. Most expect that when you go through a background investigation. What they look for is time between those bad decisions and if you have continued to make them. From your statement it doesn't sound like you have any automatic disqualifications in your background. However, you can fail a background for one department and pass your background for another. It all depends who you are up against and what that department's standards are. I would not recommend lying in any of the application process but there are some things you might just want to leave out and not open that subject up. If they ask you should explain however sometimes it's better to specifically answer the question at hand and that is all.
Working for a federal department means you will be doing a lot of ARFF. Most get into this career to work and be where the action is. A federal military base is not that place. I will leave it at that.
Good luck and go for it.