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View Full Version : Fired for drinking on the job. How to explain when looking for new job?


ringside
10-18-07, 03:18 PM
Back in June I was fired from my job for being intoxicated at work. I have spent the last few months taking time off and getting my life back in order. Now I am about to start looking for a new job and I am unsure of how to present this past job on my resume or talk about it in interviews.

I was with the employer for about 6 years and I did a great job and was well-liked. The only problem was the whole drinking deal.

My first instinct is not to even list the job and say I was self-employed or something. I imagine if I am completely honest about the whole situation that most people would not want to hire me.

Any suggestions? Anyone else ever in the same boat?

Bronkster
10-18-07, 03:22 PM
I don't think not listing the job is a good idea, but you can probably indicate "do not contact" on the application. If asked about why you you're no longer there, I'd try to be vague-but-honest. Trying to straighten out your life with lying isn't a great idea, IMO.

Rough position, and I hope you're serious about getting your life back in order. :up: Good luck to you!

twikoff
10-18-07, 03:22 PM
thats 6 years..
yea, i would definitly list that on a resume

in most cases.. HR will only verify that you worked there and for how long.. not how much you made, or why you were fired

if they happen to ask why you left your last company.. just say you were reorged out of a job, caught up in layoffs, damn economy, etc...

Minor Threat
10-18-07, 03:23 PM
thats 6 years..
yea, i would definitly list that on a resume

in most cases.. HR will only verify that you worked there and for how long.. not how much you made, or why you were fired

if they happen to ask why you left your last company.. just say you were reorged out of a job, caught up in layoffs, damn economy, etc...


:up:

DVD Josh
10-18-07, 03:24 PM
thats 6 years..
yea, i would definitly list that on a resume

in most cases.. HR will only verify that you worked there and for how long.. not how much you made, or why you were fired

if they happen to ask why you left your last company.. just say you were reorged out of a job, caught up in layoffs, damn economy, etc...

This is good advice. However, some HR departments will answer the question "is he eligible for rehire?". That answer will be no, and you'll have to explain it.

kvrdave
10-18-07, 03:36 PM
Definately list it. Definately lie about it.

dick_grayson
10-18-07, 03:36 PM
did you work at a sperm bank? :rimshot:

Kittydreamer
10-18-07, 03:44 PM
Did you complete a treatment program? If so, a copy of that would probably be helpful, just in case. Good luck.

Septemberbaby
10-18-07, 03:53 PM
Is there a way to contact your old employer (HR dept) and ask them what they would say if contacted? If this rattles too many cages, then I wouldn't do it.. but it may help.

twikoff
10-18-07, 03:53 PM
did you work at a sperm bank? :rimshot:

:whofart:

twikoff
10-18-07, 03:55 PM
Is there a way to contact your old employer (HR dept) and ask them what they would say if contacted? If this rattles too many cages, then I wouldn't do it.. but it may help.

better yet
sneak into old company.. forward all the lines from the HR employees phones to your home phone
give out fake answers to anyone that calls with other questions
give yourself a glowing review if new company calls for reference info

ringside
10-18-07, 03:56 PM
Did you complete a treatment program? If so, a copy of that would probably be helpful, just in case. Good luck.

No treatment program. I enrolled in a treatment program when it seemed like I wasn't going to lose the job. Once I was terminated and lost my insurance I canceled the program.

Is there a way to contact your old employer (HR dept) and ask them what they would say if contacted? If this rattles too many cages, then I wouldn't do it.. but it may help.

From what I understand they would inform anyone that contacts them that I am not eligible for rehire within the company. They would not say that it was for alcohol.

Spicollidriver1
10-18-07, 03:59 PM
As far as I know is they can't tell your future employer why you were fired just time of service and eligible for rehire. Now of course you would have to explain that. I do know as a recovering alcoholic that people are a little more understanding these days although I have never lost a job because of it.

j123vt_99
10-18-07, 03:59 PM
Is there a way to contact your old employer (HR dept) and ask them what they would say if contacted? If this rattles too many cages, then I wouldn't do it.. but it may help.


Agree with what the other guy said about not lying if you are trying to clean up your life, but could you or a friend call the old place, act as an employer and ask about you?

twikoff
10-18-07, 04:00 PM
alcoholism is a disease
if it made it as far as having to explain why you were not eligible for rehire (I think the chances are very very low that it would make it to that point), point out that if you dont get the job, you plan to sue for discrimination..
then you can start in on your salary demands

Numanoid
10-18-07, 04:09 PM
Just say, "Why don't we discuss it over a couple of drinks?"

wishbone
10-18-07, 04:10 PM
Did your termination state "Inxotication on the job" or something like "Failure to comply with company policy?" If they did not give a specific reason for termination do you need to give a specific reason during your interview for a new job?

twikoff
10-18-07, 04:13 PM
Just say, "Why don't we discuss it over a couple of drinks?"

and of course bring a flask to the interview.. to loosen up before (and during) the interview

Brent L
10-18-07, 04:18 PM
Don't tell them you were fired for drinking on the job. Tell them you were fired for being thirsty, and your old boss was just a jerk. :p

NORML54601
10-18-07, 04:28 PM
Tell them that you left your old job due to an illness. Alcoholism is a disease. If they ask about not being eligible for rehire explain it that you missed too much work because you were sick.

ringside
10-18-07, 04:45 PM
Just say, "Why don't we discuss it over a couple of drinks?"

rotfl

Did your termination state "Inxotication on the job" or something like "Failure to comply with company policy?" If they did not give a specific reason for termination do you need to give a specific reason during your interview for a new job?

"Failure to comply with company policy" is what I was fired for.

It's been a while since I did an interview but aren't they going to want to know why I left my most recent job? Especially since I have been unemployed for quite some time.

Minor Threat
10-18-07, 04:57 PM
I don't typiacally ask my candidates why the left their last job so much as why they want the one I'm interviewing them for. I leave that for HR and their interpretations.....

Numanoid
10-18-07, 04:59 PM
Tell them that you left your old job due to an illness. Alcoholism is a disease. If they ask about not being eligible for rehire explain it that you missed too much work because you were sick.Or say that you were fired because you kept coming to work while you were sick.

nodeerforamonth
10-18-07, 05:14 PM
It's been a while since I did an interview but aren't they going to want to know why I left my most recent job? Especially since I have been unemployed for quite some time.

Not necessarily. I interviewed with 5 people at this one company just a couple months ago and not one person asked me about leaving any of my previoius jobs.

j123vt_99
10-18-07, 05:16 PM
Tell them that you left your old job due to an illness. Alcoholism is a disease.

Highly debatable, but we can save it for another thread

superdeluxe
10-18-07, 05:19 PM
Back in June I was fired from my job for being intoxicated at work. I have spent the last few months taking time off and getting my life back in order. Now I am about to start looking for a new job and I am unsure of how to present this past job on my resume or talk about it in interviews.

I was with the employer for about 6 years and I did a great job and was well-liked. The only problem was the whole drinking deal.

My first instinct is not to even list the job and say I was self-employed or something. I imagine if I am completely honest about the whole situation that most people would not want to hire me.

Any suggestions? Anyone else ever in the same boat?


I wouldnt put it on the resume, when your new employer calls your old job, they will say 'he was fired for being drunk on the job'. Not going to get many jobs that way.

What kind of work are you in?

superdeluxe
10-18-07, 05:24 PM
Another question is, You said you left the treatment program because you got fired, so you still have the disease correct?

wishbone
10-18-07, 05:26 PM
"Failure to comply with company policy" is what I was fired for.

It's been a while since I did an interview but aren't they going to want to know why I left my most recent job? Especially since I have been unemployed for quite some time.A friend was fired for that reason but it based on the grounds that he sexually harrassed a female coworker. Basically he wrote a love letter in essay form, which was requested by the female coworker (essay could be on any subject) and my friend had it vetted with a couple of other female coworkers and they saw no issue with it.

He has been looking for a new job but I think he is wary of mentioning his termination as "failure to comply with company policy" and being asked to explain the specifics.

Maxwell Smart
10-18-07, 05:37 PM
tell them you dont remember why u were fired since you were drunk.

if they fired people at my job for being drunk our whole department would be gone. Hell one of the higher ups bought everyone in my dept for doing a good job just last week.

CPA-ESQ.
10-18-07, 05:50 PM
Just say that you were going through personal issues and you and your employer didn't see eye to eye on schedule changes needed to deal with those issues.

You were drunk and wanted more time in your day to drink... your employer said take all the time you need - don't come back to work.

sounds good to me :shrug:

Numanoid
10-18-07, 05:58 PM
Hell one of the higher ups bought everyone in my dept for doing a good job just last week.How much did you go for?

TheNightFlier
10-18-07, 06:00 PM
How much did you go for?

:lol:

C-Mart
10-18-07, 06:00 PM
I don't know how the corporate machine works all that much... but I would be honest. Tell them you were at a low point, that you lost your job because of it, and the reason you have been out of work is that you were trying to sort everything out. Now you are much more secure in your life, the problems of the past are not an issue (are they?) and you are looking forward to re-establishing your career. What do you do by the way?

adamblast
10-18-07, 06:15 PM
As far as job prospects go, this sounds alot like trying to get a job after a stint in prison. You screwed up bigtime, and if you want to be considered by others for a job, you'll have to convince them you're a new person who deserves a second chance. Very tough to do. I wouldn't hire someone in this position unless the person could show me they were currently in treatment.

Maxwell Smart
10-18-07, 06:42 PM
How much did you go for?:lol: i meant they bought us a bottle of liqour not our bodies :eek:

Duran
10-18-07, 06:53 PM
As far as I know is they can't tell your future employer why you were fired just time of service and eligible for rehire.

Yes, they can. They can say whatever they want. Most companies do limit what they say on reference calls to limit their liability, not because there's a legal prohibition on providing additional information.

Spicollidriver1
10-18-07, 07:13 PM
Yes, they can. They can say whatever they want. Most companies do limit what they say on reference calls to limit their liability, not because there's a legal prohibition on providing additional information.

You are right I was curious about this after I read the thread the first time and tried to find it. Although the law does say that the employer can't say anything untrue or that is intentionally harmful which does leave some room for ambiguity which is why I am assuming everyplace I have every hired or fired anyone has said not say anything besides the eligible for rehire question. One of many laws that are vaguely written.

The Bus
10-18-07, 07:34 PM
Something like this happened to me about a decade ago. I was basically set up. I think I talked about it in detail in another thread. My only hope is that karma worked and the people that did this are living in bus shelters, whoring out their mouths for cigarette money.

Glad to see you are sober. It might be a good idea to switch industries. Have you thought about being an airline pilot?

twikoff
10-18-07, 08:08 PM
I wouldnt put it on the resume, when your new employer calls your old job, they will say 'he was fired for being drunk on the job'. Not going to get many jobs that way.

What kind of work are you in?

if that happened.. he wouldnt need the job, because he could make plenty of dough by sueing the HR dept of his previous company

sniper308
10-18-07, 08:48 PM
I think you would be surprised how many places don't call previous employers. They can verify employment through various other reports they can request on a person.

And most of the time, as everyone else has said, if called the HR department of the previous employer will only verify length of employment and if eligible for rehire.

I'd go with the re-org/layoff, etc. If asked about an ineligible for rehire, tell them that your previous company had a policy of not rehiring employees within so much time of accepting a severance package.

Again, I think that you won't really have issues with this. Go out on some interviews and see what happens.

NotThatGuy
10-18-07, 08:56 PM
I know a guy who got fired for signing off on something because his boss said so, and then got RE-HIRED when he admitted he was too drunk to realize that it was wrong.

:lol:

-p

drmoze
10-18-07, 09:56 PM
Definately list it. Definately lie about it.

Definitely learn how to spell "definitely" before you go on any interviews or submit your resume! ;)

spainlinx0
10-18-07, 10:27 PM
Give a fake number for your previous employer, preferably a number you have assigned to go to you or a friend who will pretend to be your old employer whenever they answer. Give yourself glowing review. Problem solved.

Heat
10-18-07, 10:46 PM
What type of job is it?

And if you are really that worried about it, just have a friend call the HR department of your old job pretending to be a new potential employer, see what they tell him. You can be on the other line listening in of course. Have your friend ask if you would be eligible to be rehired, see what they say. Heck, have your friend say that the new job would involve driving and whether you ever had a problem with alcohol just to gauge their response.

Dave99
10-18-07, 11:04 PM
Yeah, but his job directly involved handing out and drinking beer, not really a fair comparison..:lol:
I know a guy who got fired for signing off on something because his boss said so, and then got RE-HIRED when he admitted he was too drunk to realize that it was wrong.

:lol:

-p

NotThatGuy
10-18-07, 11:16 PM
Yeah, but his job directly involved handing out and drinking beer, not really a fair comparison..:lol:
Yeah, but how often in your life can you say, "I didn't know what I did, I was too drunk"....AND not only not get fired, but get RE-HIRED!

-p

Sean O'Hara
10-18-07, 11:33 PM
I wouldnt put it on the resume, when your new employer calls your old job, they will say 'he was fired for being drunk on the job'. Not going to get many jobs that way.

Yeah, it'll look a lot better if he says he was self-employed for six years, and then a background check turns up the previous job.

Nick Danger
10-18-07, 11:41 PM
If they pursue it, you can show them your AA 3-month medallion.

NotThatGuy
10-18-07, 11:43 PM
If they pursue it, you can show them your AA 3-month medallion.

Yeah, and if you can't get one, you can probably trade someone a bottle for one.

-p

ringside
10-19-07, 04:30 PM
Do most jobs not contact your most recent employer? Could I just say that I am still with my current employer?

I hate to start a new job by lying but it seems like honesty will just screw me over.

al_bundy
10-19-07, 04:48 PM
Give a fake number for your previous employer, preferably a number you have assigned to go to you or a friend who will pretend to be your old employer whenever they answer. Give yourself glowing review. Problem solved.

for any decent sized company, that's easily checked

DVD Josh
10-19-07, 05:08 PM
Do most jobs not contact your most recent employer? Could I just say that I am still with my current employer?

I hate to start a new job by lying but it seems like honesty will just screw me over.

With all the new corporate reporting crap fallout from S-O, even if they don't find out now, they will eventually.

At my old firm, I had to fill out a form EVERY YEAR with my previous work history, contacts, supervisors, etc. and the HR dept. called around to confirm. EVERY YEAR.

dieinafire
10-19-07, 05:58 PM
At my old firm, I had to fill out a form EVERY YEAR with my previous work history, contacts, supervisors, etc. and the HR dept. called around to confirm. EVERY YEAR.

That sounds like a bunch of shit, I have never heard of that.

twikoff
10-19-07, 06:01 PM
That sounds like a bunch of shit, I have never heard of that.

agreed
i asked a couple friends of mine in HR, and they havent ever heard of it either
and we are as overboard SO compliant as they come

The Bus
10-19-07, 06:19 PM
I thought ther "cool" way to talk about Sarbanes-Oxley was to say Sox. Makes ya feel all warm and sporty.

Poink
10-20-07, 02:03 AM
I guess you could always have the option of getting a less "serious" job just to have something dividing your last job and the one you really want to get.

Although honestly, if you were to get an interview with someone and could explain yourself, it doesn't seem like as big of a problem. One of the main issues is that these days, most 'large' companies have a computer-based application system that will decide beforehand whether you're good enough to even GET an interview.

Bronkster
10-20-07, 02:21 AM
Do most jobs not contact your most recent employer? Could I just say that I am still with my current employer?

I hate to start a new job by lying but it seems like honesty will just screw me over.
“The measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out.”
— Baron Thomas Babington Macauley, English historian and statesman (1800-1859)

ringside
10-21-07, 02:11 AM
Thanks for all the feedback.

I think I am going to be somewhat honest if asked what occurred at this job. I just can't see getting hired at a new company with this lie and then having to lie to all my co-workers and it just would never end.

Hopefully some people/companies will be somewhat open to looking beyond this.

mndtrp
10-21-07, 04:45 AM
Definitely learn how to spell "definitely" before you go on any interviews or submit your resume! ;)
This is the only word that I spell incorrectly each and every time I type/write it. I know it's wrong by the time I get done with the word, but I screw it up every time.

astrochimp
10-21-07, 10:38 AM
As someone who drank on the job for many years(never fired for it though) i just wanted to wish you the best ringside.Oh and people like a good comeback story.

matta
10-21-07, 11:19 AM
agreed
i asked a couple friends of mine in HR, and they havent ever heard of it either
and we are as overboard SO compliant as they come

I also have never heard of that.


1) Don't leave a 6-year gap as "self-employed" . As others have mentioned, most companies will do a background check and catch the old employer (a few month job is one thing, but a few years or more will turn up). Because employers have to pay for the background check, it's usually done as the last step (you'll receive an offer contingent on the background check) and any minor discrepancy may result in an automatic rescind of offer. Too risk.

2) Don't lie in a job interview. Lying an in an interview or on a resume is grounds for firing at any point in your career. If you stay with this company 10 years,then your old boss transfers in and you're caught in the lie, you could be let go on the spot (I've seen it happen).

3) Don't outright admit to the reason for fire. Some people think that being completely honest and spilling your guts is a good idea, and that people will respect you for it. The truth is that they may respect you, but they won't hire you. Like criminals, drug addicts, and pedophiles, most people assume "once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic." Many people are able to turn their life around, but there are many others who do not. Unless you're an exceptional candidate, most people won't take the risk that you' won't relapse.

4) If you check "do not contact this employer" on an application, you will almost certainly be asked why not. If you give them permission to contact that company, there's about a 60% chance they'll call if it's your most recent contact and about a 25% chance they'll call if it's your 2nd through later most recent job. Very few people ask in an interview why you left your last position (the people who do probably haven't been through any sort of HR training on the laws regarding interviewing -- they're the same people who will ask if you're married, have kids, and if you served in the military)

5) Do spin your response to any questions (but don't lie). Do you believe alcoholism is an illness? If so, you may want to take the advice referencing that you had an illness and had to take time off because of the illness. However you spin it, just make sure it passes the "red faced test" (if stood up in front of a bunch of people who knew the truth, would your response be at least passable, or would it be foolish and make you red faced?). I don't know how to respond to the "re-hire" issue. I'm sure you can think of something that's not lying. I'd stay away from "violated company policy." When you make something too vague, people generally assume the worst.

ringside
10-24-07, 02:04 PM
Thanks for all the responses I just have one more question. If I do indeed state why I was let go do you think it better to state that I am an alcoholic and am now in recovery or to kind of bend the truth a bit and just say that I had a couple of beers at lunch and was fired for that?

Thanks again for all the well wishes and the humor.

DVD Josh
10-24-07, 02:06 PM
Thanks for all the responses I just have one more question. If I do indeed state why I was let go do you think it better to state that I am an alcoholic and am now in recovery or to kind of bend the truth a bit and just say that I had a couple of beers at lunch and was fired for that?

Thanks again for all the well wishes and the humor.

The truth has a funny way of making itself known. There's nothing untruthful about the statement "I have a problem with alcohol and am actively receiving treatment. I have been sober for x months and have every intention of staying that way".

C-Mart
10-24-07, 02:09 PM
The truth has a funny way of making itself known. There's nothing untruthful about the statement "I have a problem with alcohol and am actively receiving treatment. I have been sober for x months and have every intention of staying that way".
I completely agree! :thumbsup:

DVD Josh
10-24-07, 02:12 PM
That sounds like a bunch of shit, I have never heard of that.

I couldn't care less about whether it "sounds like a bunch of shit" to you. That was what was requested of me, and that's what I did.

I assume they did it not only to confirm relevant info, but to see if your answers changed from year to year. The first year the firm did this, we had several attorneys resign before the date the forms were due.

twikoff
10-24-07, 03:29 PM
If I do indeed state why I was let go do you think....


cutting you off there.. because i think listing the reason would be a terrible idea

the chance of them asking is minimal
the chance of them checking is minimal
the chance of it ever coming up in a conversation is minimal

unless you are just walking around looking for a reason to talk about it.. if you dont bring it up, it wont come up in most cases..
i would not ever volunteer anything negative while trying to sell myself unless specifically asked.. and then i wouldnt lie, but would give as little information as possible to answer the question.

twikoff
10-24-07, 03:30 PM
I couldn't care less about whether it "sounds like a bunch of shit" to you. That was what was requested of me, and that's what I did.

I assume they did it not only to confirm relevant info, but to see if your answers changed from year to year. The first year the firm did this, we had several attorneys resign before the date the forms were due.

Im assuming he isnt applying for a job as a attorney, school bus drive, oil tanker captain, train engineer, etc..
in most jobs, that wouldnt get brought up or checked

Blade
10-24-07, 08:53 PM
Very few people ask in an interview why you left your last position (the people who do probably haven't been through any sort of HR training on the laws regarding interviewing -- they're the same people who will ask if you're married, have kids, and if you served in the military)
Admittedly, I have never had any HR training about interviewing job applicants, but while I was aware that you can't ask people about being married or how how old they are during an interview, I was not aware that asking why they left their last job fell under the same category. Where do you get this from?

matta
10-24-07, 09:21 PM
Admittedly, I have never had any HR training about interviewing job applicants, but while I was aware that you can't ask people about being married or how how old they are during an interview, I was not aware that asking why they left their last job fell under the same category. Where do you get this from?

This can be a very touchy subject, and many companies avoid it all together. For instance, a disproportionate number of minorities are fired. Therefore, if you ask someone why they left their last job, and they indicate they were fired, you could infer that person's race (a protected class).

It follows that you also cannot ask a person if they were discharged honorably from the military (a disproportionate number of minorities are discharged dishonorably).

It sounds hokey, but it's how I was trained (by a Fortune 100 company and by 2 different consulting firms).

Blade
10-24-07, 09:51 PM
This can be a very touchy subject, and many companies avoid it all together. For instance, a disproportionate number of minorities are fired. Therefore, if you ask someone why they left their last job, and they indicate they were fired, you could infer that person's race (a protected class).

It follows that you also cannot ask a person if they were discharged honorably from the military (a disproportionate number of minorities are discharged dishonorably).

It sounds hokey, but it's how I was trained (by a Fortune 100 company and by 2 different consulting firms). Wow. That's a little nuts. I can understand it, but still...kinda nuts.

Thanks for the reply though. :up: