1500 mile club

Way back in 2013, when the economy was really being stupid, I took the leap of faith that taking a job in Salt Lake City would be a good move. Prior to finding that job, I’d been through a bad run in a sluggish economy, and having had a few years  trying to be a PM instead of a tech nerd, which ended up causing me to have a year or so job hopping and doing short contracts.

The job was for a company called TheraDoc working on an interesting piece of software in the healthcare space. It was a rules engine that notifies healthcare professionals when a patient might be in trouble. By reading in HL7 message into the rules engine it creates alerts about potential risks. These are sent to medical practitioners and potentially save lives.

TheraDoc was owned by a large pharmaceutical company (Hospira) at that time. To start that job, I had to go through the normal medical type of pre-screening: drug test, background check, etc.

So I filled out the forms, did the drug test, and sat back to wait. I didn’t really think of the background check as anything to worry about. I had gone through the mid-level clearance process at the VA previously. That included an FBI check replete with them visiting your friends and family, so I figured nothing to worry about.

But, “Surprise!”, my boss came to me one day to let me know there was a problem with my background check. When I filled it out the paperwork, I had included my high school graduation on the form. When the company doing the check contacted them, they couldn’t find records of my graduation. 

I have been mistaken about a lot of different things over the years. But, I was certain that I sat through my graduation with my classmates. I also knew that I was handed my diploma (and had it buried somewhere in my mementos). Clearly some records got lost somewhere.

I called all sorts of people trying to get proof of my having attended and graduated. I learned that there were records that were lost in the process of being digitized, and some from physically being destroyed in fire, so records from that time period didn’t exist for a lot of people. So much for that “permanent record” they always warned us about.

There were definitely some panicked moments as I tried all sorts of things to find something that the investigator would take to accept that I actually graduated (copies of my diploma, yearbook pictures, and I even called both my HS and junior college looking for something that would show as proof).

Not sure whatever happened with it, but I ended up working there for two years, so I guess they accepted me without passing the background check. I won’t make the mistake of putting that on a background check application again, now that there is no record of my youth.

Hi, I’m Rob Weaver