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In September of last year, I left my old job (no call/no show). I wasn't happy there at all. I now realize how extremely unprofessional that was and am starting to realize the repercussions of it.

I had an interview for a new job and got accepted. I start my first shift today. One of the questions the interviewer asked though was about my previous work employment, to which I (stupidly) said I had never had a job before, this would be my first. No more questions were asked about that.

I feel terrible that I have lied to my employer about my work history, and I am scared that if I don't speak up to correct what I have said, I will lose my new job. What do I do guys? Tell my employer that I have not told the truth and explain what happened with the old job, or do I stay quiet?

I'm in England. I have no idea if my employer ran a background check or not. I didn't indicate in any way that I had a previous job, and I'm 18 years old. Alright, so speaking up would be the better option?

  • Well, this is a bit of an interesting situation that will require some further clarification to fully answer. Where are you located? Did your new employer run a background check? Did you indicate on the application or any other way to your current employer that you had previously held a job? How old are you (This one only matters subjectively, I would be taken aback if someone 27+ told me they'd never held a job, but I might believe it from someone who is 19)? The answer is probably "Fess up and face any recriminations", but that final decision is up to you. – Sidney Sep 17 '15 at 14:01
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    How long were you at the old job? Was it your first job? – Dan Pichelman Sep 17 '15 at 14:29
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    @JoeStrazzere that's usually what it means - The person simply does not go to work in the next day, does not give any calls, messages, or anything. He just disappears. – Hugo Rocha Sep 17 '15 at 20:17
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Given that you were offered, and have started the job, I think it is unlikely that this omission will cause you any problems in your current job. At the interview stage someone might conceivably care, but once you have started, particularly as a junior (and young) employee I very much doubt that anyone is concerned with either background checking you or indeed in thinking about your past history at all. If I were in your shoes I would not confess at this point as the negative impact is guaranteed in that course of action, but only possible if you say nothing.

However, there may well be tax implications - If you were employed and PAYE in your prior job then you will have a tax position- you will be on their radar. When you left your prior employment they should have provided a P45 that is then given to your new employer and used to restart your tax affairs for the new position. If you didn't provide your new employer a P45 then they will not take your prior earnings into account and will report a position to the tax office that will differ from what they have on their records. This may or may not surface at some point.

If you were only at your prior employer for a short period they might have just written you off and perhaps you didn't accrue any taxable income, and hence they didn't issue a P45 - In other words, perhaps according to the tax office it is as if you had never worked, in which case all will be well.

But if it isn't like that then you may have an issue. If you ever received a payslip that showed you had paid tax, or you received a P45 and/or a P60, then the tax office will have a record of your tax position.

Whether you choose to do anything about this, or take the view that you will plead ignorance of the complications of tax if it comes to light, or some other coping strategy, is up to you and this is probably not something the internet can or should advise you on.

  • you do not need a p45. There is another form you can fill in instead and the tax office will give the company the tax code – Ed Heal Sep 17 '15 at 14:30
  • Some of this advice seems location-specific, it might be good if you include the location that advice applies to (I can't see any hint of location in the question) – Ben Voigt Sep 17 '15 at 14:33
  • @BenVoigt The location is UK as defined in the information provided by AvidStudent123's posting. – Marv Mills Sep 17 '15 at 14:35
  • @EdHeal I know you don't, the point is that if the prior company provided one then that is "evidence" that a tax position has been advised to the HMRC. As far as I know, in the case of a new starter with no prior job a P46 is not used because, by definition, there is no prior position. – Marv Mills Sep 17 '15 at 14:36
  • @Mills - People may pay income tax for a multitude of reasons - one of them being employment. Best not to use the P45 - then no one at the new jobs be none the wiser – Ed Heal Sep 17 '15 at 14:40
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It's far better to be honest and deal with the results, than it is to be dishonest, caught in your lie, and have to deal with the result of being dishonest on top of whatever you were trying to avoid.

The best course of action now is to volunteer the information, and accept the consequences.

You're likely to find out that trust is easily granted until you prove you're not worthy of it. Earning back trust after it's been lost is nearly impossible. You can be forgiven, but if there is any hint of a relapse, all the old doubts will come back and you'll find that you have to re-earn the trust over and over again.

Fix this now and never let it be an issue for you again.

  • This answer is good in theory, but it's hard to see how to pull it off practically. First, OP agrees it was unwise to abandon the first job without giving any notice. Second, he already made a mistake by saying he didn't have a previous job. Now, imagine you come forward on your first few days at the new job and want to set the record straight. What would you say? – Brandin Sep 18 '15 at 8:35
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    @Brandin "Got a minute? ... I need to let you know I was dishonest in my job interview. I actually had a job before coming here. I didn't leave it in a professional way and am ashamed of it. I realize lying to you was wrong. I wanted to let you know, and I want you to know I am sorry and it will never happen again." Just a suggested way -- use your own style. OP will have to accept that he could lose this job. That's why it's better to be honest and own your choices rather than hide from them. – Kent A. Sep 18 '15 at 11:42
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In general, it is important to consider future impact of decisions made on the spur of the moment. One's work history has to be represented accurately on employment forms and in interviews.

There are legal provisions for immediate termination in case of false statements at any point in the interview/application process. In this case, you may decide to gamble if you think the employer does not do background/job history check.

Otherwise, the discrepancy between what the check will reveal and your interview statement, if it was recorded in your employment file, come back to haunt you.

If you are young (<20) and want to get things straight from now and into the future, then now might be a good time to come clean. At this point you don't have much to loose. So, you need to decide how important it is for you to have the record straight in your new job, or if you want to gamble and wait until your next job to honestly disclose all your past jobs.

If the new job is not too special and you have other options, then you might just bite the bullet and tell the truth, and see what happens. They can either keep you or reject you, but at least you will be able to sleep well.

If on the other hand you worked hard to get this position and it is extremely critical for you to grab onto this job at all costs, it might be prudent to stick to your story and only disclose the truth if it becomes revealed during background check and you are directly questioned about it. (If this happens, just tell the truth: "I stupidly said I didn't have a job, but I don't really know why I said it, it was a mistake and I should have said the truth. I have learned my lesson and it won't happen again.")

Clarification: There is a difference between a resume and an employment application. It is OK to omit jobs on the resume, since that document can (and should) be revised to tailor your experience to each particular job you are applying for, 'put your best foot forward' and show only the most relevant experience (as opposed to all experience/jobs you have). The resume is your document, and you control what goes on it. In contrast, the employment application that you might get from the employer is the employer's document, and all questions on that application must be answered in the most factually accurate way possible.

Hope this helps. Good luck!

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