Can a veteran who enlisted in the early 80's prove that he's a high school graduate?
February 19, 2012 4:45 PM   Subscribe

Can a veteran who enlisted in the early 80's prove that he's a high school graduate?

Someone I know has a job interview in the morning and was told if he can't produce his high school diploma, he shouldn't bother showing up. He recently returned from Afghanistan and retired from the Army. I can understand why he might not be able to find the diploma...I don't even know where mine is and I've lived in the same state for the last 30 years! Unfortunately, tomorrow is President's Day, so schools are closed and there's no way he's getting a copy before the interview.

Is there anything in his military papers that would indicate clearly that he's a high school grad? He graduated in 1982, which is, I think, before the tiered enlistments began.
posted by caroljean63 to Law & Government (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Requiring an original HS diploma at the first interview just seems crazy - I've never heard of such a thing in my life. If they're doing goofy stuff like that at an interview, it has got to be a spectacularly crappy place to work. I know this is a pretty tough thing to say in this economy, but if his discharge and/or enlistment papers aren't enough, I would personally have to think long and hard whether I would really want to work somewhere like that.

That having been said, if he really wants to work in a place like that he should show up with all the papers and documentation he has, explain that getting an original HS diploma on short notice simply wasn't possible, and promise to produce one prior to beginning work.
posted by deadmessenger at 4:54 PM on February 19, 2012 [5 favorites]

Some quick googling suggests his high school should have a copy of his diploma and/or a record of his graduation.

(Seconding deadmessenger - this sounds like a very odd place to work).
posted by bunderful at 4:56 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Does he have his DD-214 Form?

On mine it shows the years in high school as well as "High School Diploma" Academic.

Maybe he will have that notation down at the bottom of the form
posted by JayRwv at 4:56 PM on February 19, 2012

Response by poster: It's a large, nationally known company, if you can believe it. I've never been asked to provide my high school diploma for a job and my husband hasn't been asked since right after high school. This does seem really excessive for an interview. It's the kind of thing you require after an offer has been made.
posted by caroljean63 at 5:24 PM on February 19, 2012

Just to follow up. That form DD-214 is issued to every military person at the end of their term of service. All branches use it.
posted by JayRwv at 5:42 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I will have him check that. My husband got out in 1990 and his doesn't have that info. I'm assuming yours is a more recent version?
posted by caroljean63 at 5:44 PM on February 19, 2012

Not more current. I got out of the service in 1952... Maybe they did things different back then.
posted by JayRwv at 5:59 PM on February 19, 2012

The DD214 doesn't have that info on it anymore. But if he spent 30 years in, he's at least an E7(P), which means he could have been the senior NCO of a company of 100 people. I suggest he go to that interview with his DD214 and his discharge certificate and make some snot-nose hiring manager tell him to his face that this nationally known company doesn't want to hire a senior noncommissioned officer who just got back from Afghanistan (which I suspect was not his sole deployment, either).

Hell, most of the E7(P)s I know would love to have that conversation with someone.
posted by Etrigan at 6:40 PM on February 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

Any chance his parents still have it since he doesn't?
posted by tamitang at 6:45 PM on February 19, 2012

Did he do any college courses or get CLEP credit for anything while he was in the service? College credit is an indication that you got at least the equivalent of a high school education - in fact, the military treats you like a high school graduate with 15 credit hours of college.
posted by SMPA at 6:48 PM on February 19, 2012

Retired, as in put in 20+ years in the Army? I think he should respectfully tell the potential employer to kiss his...retirement papers. He's got a military pension, right? I'd suggest waiting for the next job opportunity. If they are treating a potential employee this disrespectfully, particularly a honorably retired Vet, it's not going to be better if he gets hired.

Sometimes, the only winning move is not to play.
posted by COD at 7:01 PM on February 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

Nthing the folks who recommend just bringing in his DD-214... nobody would get to your friend's probable grade (and Etrigan is right, he's got to be at least an E7) without it. This is REALLY weird to me too; I'd say just go in without the diploma, and see what happens.

Being the suspicious cuss I am, this almost makes me think that interviewer has some sort of prejudice against the military, and this is their (possibly-illegal) way of weeding out veterans: "it's not MY fault the company never hires veterans, they're just flaking out and not showing up for their interviews!"

(Which reminds me: the vast majority of places have veterans' PREFERENCE, make sure your friend takes that into account!)
posted by easily confused at 4:16 AM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

I recently had to produce a high school diploma from 1976 for a job application. I called my high school, talked to the guidance counselor, and they mailed me an "unofficial" transcript showing date of graduation, etc. It cost me seven dollars, (money order only!) Make the HR department copy it for their files, and keep the paperwork the high school sent you.

This was in addition to having to obtain a new birth certificate from South Dakota, (the original is not good enough anymore) a new copy of the "long form" DD-214* for my Air Force service (veteran's preference), and a printed paper copy of my SSN from the Social Security office here in town. Since I had all of this collected, I went out to DMV and got a new "gold star" license ($65!) while I was at it, just for good measure. My new passport is on the way.

By the way, technical training school plus all those NCO courses we took will qualify you for an Associates Degree at the very least.

This will be standard procedure for every HR department in the country by the end of 2012, so get used to it. Americans (even Veterans) are not accustomed to proving they are Americans, but it's here. Illegal workers need not even put their noses in the door.

*I can't see any difference between the "long form" they sent me and the document I received when I separated in 1985, so you may not have to go through this.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 4:21 AM on February 20, 2012

I had to produce a high school transcript for a job that turned out to be just fine. That is, my particular position in my particular department was fine, but the company as a whole was sort of odd and the HR department was ... let's say "overzealous".

One difference between my situation and this one was that it was part of the offer process, not the interview process. That seems to indicate this place might have an HR department that's even more fun to deal with.
posted by cardioid at 9:30 AM on February 20, 2012

Response by poster: The stupid thing about all this is that diplomas are only worth the paper they're printed on. My son's homeschool diploma, which I ordered online, is nicer than most "real" high school diplomas. Any company that accepts a piece of paper without doing the requisite background check is just foolish.
posted by caroljean63 at 10:41 AM on February 20, 2012

I ran into an HR friend of mine tonight, and asked her about it.

She sort of sheepishly admitted that the company used to do all the leg work on verifying education, military service, etc, until they figured out how much they were spending on it. They decided to foist that off on the applicant. If there is any suspicion that a document has been doctored, they will take the initiative to check it out. This technique has been rolled out to them at their seminars for the past two years.

She also confirmed that these are all new Federal requirements, aimed solely at keeping illegal workers off the payroll. The high school diploma? Unless you have a police record or a passport, that diploma and your Social Security number are the only permanent records there are of your existence/activity in the United States. What about your original birth certificate? Too many fakes, and a lot of people born before 1970 might still only be recorded in family Bibles, etc. Us "late boomers" are the last of the unrecorded generations.

A DD-214 does not include education, or guarantee citizenship. Judges can still make kids who are having trouble with school and getting into trouble choose the Army or jail. People from the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, or Trinidad can still get a green light for American military service without being citizens of the U.S. What we think certifies us as Americans, doesn't.

HR is forced to work at the State level to comply with Federal requirements, without access to Federal information systems. A Federal I.D. would solve all of this, but people still think that's too "1984." People like the illusion that they can move to another state and start over again.

If you are within 200 miles of the coast or borders of the United States, you may be asked by law enforcement at any time to show your identification without cause or suspicion. Since all of Florida falls under that description, we're usually first to comply, and we've been living with it longer than most other states. We jumped right on that "gold star" license requirement. I probably got mad about it initially, but it has worn off after sixteen years or so.

Welcome to the 21st Century.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 8:56 PM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

« Older how to pick up a barista?   |   Creativity Zapped Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.