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 my COO today that I was no longer interested in this additional role.Β 

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.Β 

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 the CEO and 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.Β 

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.Β 

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.

Comments (17)

1mo 
Isaiah_53_5 πŸ’ŽπŸ™ŒπŸ’ŽπŸ™ŒπŸ’Ž, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Linkin Park - Easier to Run

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=U5zdmjVeQzE

Sometimes I remember the darkness of my past
Bringing back these memories I wish I didn't have

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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1mo 
DisgruntledAppraiser, what's your opinion? Comment below:

They asked you to change the scope of your role and you are now delving into areas that management cannot legally venture. There are any number of reasons to not go through the security clearance process that are not sinister. For example, it could be a family issue or friends/associates or a medical issue.Β 

The only thing you could have done differently is ask to take some time to think about the scope of the role before accepting, but either way, the COO approached you - not the other way around. You absolutely do not have a legal responsibility to tell them why, but all they need to know is that you are not comfortable with the TS clearing process and leave it at that.

If the COO's idea is that great, they can find another candidate for the role, who gets hired with TS clearance or knowing that they will be going through that process.Β 

Another thing is that I don't know if this came up, but you shouldn't feel obligated to take on new responsibilities that you aren't getting compensated for. Even if you were going to get additional compensation for it, I have a feeling the offer to you would cost the company less than having to find an outside candidate.Β 

Your life and your business is your business and you absolutely should not feel pressured to change that because the COO had a special idea.

1mo 
Isaiah_53_5 πŸ’ŽπŸ™ŒπŸ’ŽπŸ™ŒπŸ’Ž, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Good points. I appreciate the feedback.Β 

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

1mo 
Isaiah_53_5 πŸ’ŽπŸ™ŒπŸ’ŽπŸ™ŒπŸ’Ž, what's your opinion? Comment below:
DisgruntledAppraiser

Another thing is that I don't know if this came up, but you shouldn't feel obligated to take on new responsibilities that you aren't getting compensated for. Even if you were going to get additional compensation for it, I have a feeling the offer to you would cost the company less than having to find an outside candidate.Β 

Unfortunately, they said they were going to increase pay upon receiving a TS clearance. It kind of burns knowing I am missing out on an opportunity/salary bump. And yeah it would have been a good deal for them having me perform the role over an additional hire.Β 

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Most Helpful
1mo 
Stonks1990, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Sorry to hear that you are going through this. Men's mental health often feels the negative effects of the stigma in general life. In finance, it's even more amplified due to the personalities of the people here. I've had ups and downs for a big period in my life - I took antidepressants stemming way back in 2007, middle of high school. Did way more harm than good overall, I felt emotionless and numb for a large majority of that period.Β 

While I weened off those slowly once I was in college, a lot of my mind was still in the shitter. I've touched on this before - had a particularly nasty drug problem, began having panic attacks and depressive episodes, and stopped taking care of myself. My mind slowly 'devolved' to the point where I didn't think I deserved nice things, which led me to slowly simmer down in efforts and demeanor. I lost friends, became withdrawn from my family, and isolated myself to the extent that I was kind of just a shell.Β 

Took me a long time to get out of that gap. I'm grateful to be where I am now - with extremely rare exceptions, I suffer from no mental health struggles. I'm happy with my career, with my social life, with my fitness, and of course with my wife. Learned the hard way - you could write a book on the number of times I fucked up, and my life would have been a hell of a lot smoother if I hadn't made some decisions that I did. I hurt people in the past, and that damage took years to undo. But I did it, and I am proud of myself. I try to remember that every day. I hope you're proud of yourself too, Isaiah.Β 

Like you, I don't talk to people about my mental health past, and former struggles. As well-intentioned as people may be, providing that context provides no net benefit for me in any capacity. Whether they realize it or not, they will subconsciously judge me for things I have done, things I've said, choices I've made. The person I was in 2014 is not an accurate representation of who I am today, nor is it an accurate representation of the person I want to be. Sometimes, I really wish I could talk to people about it. Friends or coworkers will say something, and I'll think about trying to help them by bringing a personal anecdote of something I've related to in the past. But, I keep my mouth shut since I don't know how it'll come back to me. It shouldn't be that way - we've come a long way from the 1970s, but still face issues of men needing to be 'strong' and 'resilient' which leads to a feeling of isolation.Β 

I guess I can't really flat-out remember a time when I turned down more responsibility, but I certainly would if I were in your shoes. And you know what? That sucks because you'd probably be fucking awesome at that role. It'd be a great thing to add to your insane life story, but you can't since your past presents hypothetical issues that may be a problem, or may not be. But I do completely understand your sentiment, and it's just a shame that sometimes these things happen. At the end of the day, mental health is so overlooked in this country (and others), and it's a problem that we've seen compound effects brewing over the years. At the risk of sounding like a boomer, I talk to my analysts and interns a lot and see it being echoed in Gen Z especially. The screen addictions, snowballing effects of social media, and having every teenager on the block popping a Prozac or two seem so much more prevalent these days. I think it's a mix of an uptick in mental health issues, but also recognize that my generation probably did that too - we just didn't talk about it because of the stigma.Β 

Figured you'd like to hear someone who's been through some similar things. Hope I could help in whatever capacity is available. Best of luck to you, my man.

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1mo 
Isaiah_53_5 πŸ’ŽπŸ™ŒπŸ’ŽπŸ™ŒπŸ’Ž, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks bro. I am proud. I have accomplished a lot and getting through the tough times has only made me stronger.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

1mo 
WestCoastChimp4521, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I honestly wouldn't give it any thought

I would tell the COO how excited you were and pleased they wanted to share more responsibility; but you have concerns with TS process and that's that

If the COO is mature they both won't care and won't probe. I suspect if they ended the conversation abruptly that is a sign of maturity - they assume there's something more they simply don't want to know.Β 

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1mo 
Isaiah_53_5 πŸ’ŽπŸ™ŒπŸ’ŽπŸ™ŒπŸ’Ž, what's your opinion? Comment below:
WestCoastChimp4521

If the COO is mature they both won't care and won't probe. I suspect if they ended the conversation abruptly that is a sign of maturityΒ 

Yeah definitely.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

1mo 
Isaiah_53_5 πŸ’ŽπŸ™ŒπŸ’ŽπŸ™ŒπŸ’Ž, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Smoke Frog

I feel like you need a real therapist dude, these forums are not sufficient.

I've been seeing my current psychiatrist for 11 years now. He is the man. Currently I go to 1hr of therapy every six months. I have everything well under control now and the dosages on my medications are perfect and I have no side effects or anything.Β 

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

1mo 
Isaiah_53_5 πŸ’ŽπŸ™ŒπŸ’ŽπŸ™ŒπŸ’Ž, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Smoke Frog

I feel like you need a real therapist dude, these forums are not sufficient.

Also, I feel obligated to note that I didn't mention a struggle with my mental health. I mentioned having qualms with DISCLOSING past mental health issues. There is a difference.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

1mo 
eloquence, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I wouldn't worry too much about it. Lots of good answers above, but don't forget the clearance has tons of other stipulations and is honestly a huge hassle and invasion of privacy, there are many reasons why someone wouldn't do it. I doubt her first thought, or even 70th thought, would be that you had previous mental health issues. Maybe you just don't want to deal with the process. Maybe you smoke weed and she/company/state don't care about it, but the clearance would. I think you handled this very diplomatically

Array

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1mo 
Isaiah_53_5 πŸ’ŽπŸ™ŒπŸ’ŽπŸ™ŒπŸ’Ž, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks bro yeah I feel I handled it as diplomatically as possible.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

1mo 
theAudiophile, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'd think you're good man. I've had to come direct and correct about my own background before, and I got the nod because I was just up front and honest about it. And for the TS piece, if one of my bff's for the last twenty years became a highly decorated AF captain/PIC despite me having to divulge all of of our college antics to the investigator? Went on to be the best man at his wedding a week or so before his first deploymen and was the male counter-signer to his marriage licenset. So it obviously seemed to work out alright. Or our other friend who's dad was one of the five admirals in the Peruvisan navy, and that meant he grew up learning to John Wick level handle G3's and FN FALs doing anti-kidnapping drills,. But despite me having to divulge all the BS of what we got into as roommates such as the strip beerpong tournaments against the sorostitutes, still got a TS clearance as a high value foreign national. Then there's my family friend who went into the NSA and acted as Powell's personal attache`. That was fun explaining to them why I've been reading 2600 for fourteen years and knew exactly what Lophtcrack was, who Mitnick was and why, etc. He still got the gig, but obviously I wouldn't place strong odds on my own chances alll things considered.

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1mo 
MrPermaBear, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I don't have much to add that hasn't already been said. However, I do want to say that I've been through it too. It took a good portion of my life from me. So I'm proud of you for doing what you did. Don't let the cloud hang over you. Just take it as a compliment that you were the first thought and go on with your day. Cheers

1mo 
Isaiah_53_5 πŸ’ŽπŸ™ŒπŸ’ŽπŸ™ŒπŸ’Ž, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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