I know this has been asked a plethora of times, but my case isn't so good. To put it simply, I am young and was terminated (with cause) from my first "professional" sales job. Prior to being terminated, I had worked at this bank for 2.5 years and performed successfully, with no history of disciplinary actions. I was terminated because my assistant manager said I smelled like alcohol --truthfully, I had had a drinking problem for some time and was drinking the night before--and had me sent for testing, and then sent home by mother. I was terminated two days later for misconduct by "violating appearance protocol." This was an atypical event for me, and my employer was right to terminate me --I do not harbor any ill feelings or ill will towards them.

Since my release I went to a rehab facility, was diagnosed bipolar, and have been on medication since --the psychiatrist I worked with believed my drinking followed my bipolar depression patterns, and by treating my bipolar disorder I would more than likely overcome my alcohol problems. So what can I say to employers? I had an undiagnosed illness for some time, which explains quite a lot. The medications I am on is keeping me well-balanced and I am confident I can be an even better employee.


2 Answers 2


So what can I say to employers?

You can try being open and honest.

You can say that you have an illness and a substance abuse issue but are actively being treated and now believe the issues are under control. Saying "The medications I am on is keeping me well-balanced and I am confident I can be an even better employee." sounds like a terrific approach.

But don't say it unless you mean it, and unless your healthcare professionals will back you up.

Some potential employers won't even ask about your current employment status. Some will, and I suspect most banks will. I also suspect lying or evading such questions for banking positions will come back to bite you.

  • "a substance abuse issue but are actively being treated" That would sound like drugs, maybe stating "alcohol" is better. Commented Jan 1, 2017 at 19:19

You can tell your prospective employer that:

  1. The incident that led to your termination with cause was a one-time occurrence.

  2. You sought professional help after your termination with cause and as a result of seeking that professional help, you were able to identify the bipolar mental health issue that resulted in your termination and that your bipolar mental health issue has been successfully managed with medication for some time, you can say that you are confident that the issue is well behind you.

  3. Prior to that one-time incident, you had worked at that bank for 2.5 years with no history of disciplinary action.

  4. You don't expect such an incident to recur again given how effectively you handled the aftermath.

At this point, you're ready to get on with the rest of the interview and the rest of your life. You were fired over an undiagnosed health issue. Undiagnosed health issues fall under the category of "Shit happens" and shit can happen to any of us - you have nothing to be ashamed of. Be frank, be straightforward and now that you've dealt with it, be confident and don't look back.

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