I'm a Firefighter/Paramedic seeking a career in the fire service. I'v been applying for abour two years. I have a clean background and have never been in trouble. What scares me is the mistakes I made as a young man in high school. (Over Ten Years Ago) I tried a couple of drugs and I have been clean for 10 years. I'm truthful on all may applications about the usage. Will the usage keep me from getting a job? Will departments consider the person that I grow up to be?
Thanks for your help.
just do what they asked
Most departments will look at who you are now. The fact that is was ten years ago and you were so young, along with the fact that that is not who you are now should be a positive. We go out on people that have made similar mistakes all of the time. I think to be able to relate to those things with you personal experience helps in helping then. We donít need a bunch of people looking down their noses at people.
Of course it depends on what drugs you did, and how much. If you were doing speedballs, shooting cocaine and heroine, it doesnít matter how long ago it was, you would be out. I would be honest, but you donít need to add anything other than what they asked for, if they ask what drugs you did, you donít and shouldnít give a long story about how much, how often and why, just answer the question as asked. If they want to know more about those things they will ask. Remember to read all of the questions and answer exactly what they asked, that is what they want on both your application and background packets.
Good Luck, Capt Rob
707 869 1330
Here in Fairfax County, it is my understanding that there are certian drugs that are disqualifiers, like LSD and other hallucinogenics.
As for marijuana and others, they take into account the last time that you did it and how many times...
There are definitely drugs that will result in an automatic disqualification. So will selling drugs of ANY kind.
Congratulations for cleaning up your life. Ten years of clean living certainly shows that you are a changed person.
Be honest and truthful. Fire departments realize that meny people experiment while in college. Most candidates do have to answer some tough questions but unless it's an unusual amount or tyoe of drug, they come out of the background in one piece.
Thanks to everyone who's responded. I'm sure I'll be fine. (God Willing) Thats just been the one thing that I have worried about since I decided to pursue the fire service. I would hate to have to throw away every thing I worked hard for.
In fact, if a department refused to hire people who honestly admitted to having experimented with alcohol or marijuana they would have few candidates to choose from. Prior minor use should not be counted against you. But, if you admit that you have, it might.
Extensive use does raise questions. If you admitted to experimenting with marijuana 200 times will certainly raise a red flag. Experimenting with cocaine or methamphetamine is much more serious. Stating that you never used anything can raise questions. But if you never have experimented with drugs, donít feel that you need to say anything.
Let me be perfectly clear here. Any drug usage WILL be counted against you. Thatís why we ask about it. If it didnít matter, we wouldnít ask. There are no two ways about it.
While in todayís day and age drug use is more common in applicants than it used to be (some including the FBI have relaxed their standards), it absolutely is factored into the hiring decision.
If, you are considering not mentioning your previous drug use, I can guarantee it will come up during your background investigation. The background investigator (BI) will visit your friends, relatives, neighbors, high school teachers, former employers, as well as former boy/girl friends.
Lastly many departments will polygraph candidates.
One other thing to consider, a candidate who ahs smoked Marijuana 200 times passed the experimenting stage 3 exits ago!