Have you ever turned down more responsibility for personal reasons?
I always viewed being given more responsibility as a good thing, something that makes you stronger. But, recently I was given an opportunity that I initially accepted and then had to formally turn down and explain to myI was no longer interested in this additional role.
It is a very awkward situation as initially I thought I could qualify for the role; it requires a Top Secret clearance that my company was going to sponsor me for, but I read through 136 pages of the SF 86 form and realized I would have to disclose a shit ton about my past that may raise flags and affect my current job. Also, I would be subject to periodic drug tests and THC is not allowed, even though Delta 8 THC is legal in my state.
There are other things on the SF 86 form that would raise questions. In 2001, 2002, and 2011 - 2013 I was in and out of inpatient psychiatric wards due to a mental illness that I finally conquered in 2013. I'm happy with my current state, but my company has no idea I have a mental illness. Also, the SF 86 asks if I had ever required counseling for alcohol abuse and I have. In addition, the SF 86 asks for the dates of all of these inpatient visits and I honestly have no idea. It was going to be a large pain in the ass to research this.
Overall, the cons seemed to outweigh the pros and last night I emailed the COO and told her I couldn't do this role. We had a Zoom call this morning and she asked me to stay on the end to explain why I couldn't do the role. It was her idea for me to do this role and she mentioned it in front of theand it was supposed to increase revenue overall for the firm, so it kind of was on her if I made it or not. She asked me if I had doubts about performing in the role and I said no, but I had issues about the clearance process. This clearly implied I had some negative thing in my past, but I tried as hard as I could to avoid stating that I have been diagnosed with a mental illness as there seems to be some stigma surrounding it no matter where I go. Also, if I popped positive for THC in a random drug test, I could be fired and I am not currently subject to drug tests now and Delta 8 is perfectly legal; I'm breaking no laws in my state or to my company.
So I said I couldn't do the clearance for personal reasons and she accepted that response and I said "thank you" right away and we ended the conversation about this additional role. But, now I feel there is this cloud hanging over my head as she will always wonder why I didn't want to get a clearance for the role and will likely mention to the CEO that I backed out.
Overall, I just don't like people knowing I have a mental illness, the stigma is real. I could have gotten rejected in the clearance process and looked like a fool or popped a positive for Delta 8 THC and lose my job. It just wasn't worth it to me and I'm glad I got out of the role without disclosing too much.