I’ve (luckily) never had one – and after this week, never plan to either. I was asked to complete the SF86 form to get a secret clearance for a company that liked my resume, but didn’t have any active work – and anything they had would require at least a secret clearance. So, without being employed by them, they started the process of getting me a clearance.
I have now met the SF86 form, and I will not have a federal clearance for at least 7 years. Why? There’s one annoying question on it that makes my life practically impossible: “Have you provided support to a foreign group or organization in the last 7 years that was not listed as a previous employer?” (Or something along those lines). Of course, I have – I am a consultant. I have provided a *lot* of support and time to foreign companies – it’s kinda what I do for a living. But trying to remember each contract and each contact at the company that I helped? Not so much.
Almost all of our direct clients are US-based companies, but they do business with foreign companies that I’ve assessed, and some of them have offices in other countries (or have acquired a foreign company). According to the security officer I was working with, I’d have to list all of those – over the last 7 years. My best guess is that over the last 7 years, I have visited and advised at least 200 foreign contacts at foreign (and US-based) companies. I could probably name the companies, but not the individuals at each companies.
While it severely limits me in the job search (especially in the DC area), I will not be taking any position that requires a clearance. There are some things that are just not worth it.