The holidays can hit hard, and create unique hang-ups for your clearance eligibility. The change in schedules, routine, family matters, and other factors can create potential security clearance issues. The most critical thing to remember is that self reporting issues is the best step you can take to maintain your clearance eligibility. Holiday issues are the exact types of things that could be mitigated – a one time lapse in judgment is generally not a career killer. Here are a few hot topic issues that can come up.

1. Alcohol Issues

DUIs increase in frequency over the holidays. Too many parties, schedules outside of the ordinary, loneliness, and stress can create a cornucopia of issues causing folks to imbibe more than they should – or think they did. When in doubt, don’t get behind the wheel after drinking. A single DUI generally isn’t enough to cause clearance issues, but it can be a contributing factor. In addition, even a single DUI can create clearance issues if the charges are complex. The best thing to do is to immediately report the DUI to your security officer, and take all steps to get your case straight in court.

2. Sexual Issues

Talk about a hot topic. Affairs increase over the holidays, and the extra time at home may lead to extra time spent looking up questionable material online (make sure your work devices aren’t involved). The government truly doesn’t care about your sex life – but they do care about your secrets. If there is anything you’re trying to keep away from a spouse, significant other, or other people in your life – consider if it could be a blackmail issue.

3. Money Issues

Money comes in two forms – a good problem, or a bad one. A massive influx in cash will be reported to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. That doesn’t mean you need to be nervous if you find yourself coming into a windfall – but you should report it to your security officer. Major financial fluctuations can be a red flag – the government will want to know where that cash came from.

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Lindy Kyzer is the director of content at Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email Interested in writing for Learn more here.. @LindyKyzer