Thursday, March 04, 2010

Rogers, Maureen Rogers. I spy - or at least I could have...

One of the downsides of aging is drawing the chalk line through careers you will never have. Admittedly, it's still not too late for a second, and maybe even a third act. (Oh, wait. Waitressing was Act One; tech product marketing was Act Two. So, if I get my acts together, I'll be on to Act Three any time now.) Still, there are some jobs that I would have been good at that I have just plain aged out of.

First off: journalist. Coulda, shoulda, woulda been Maureen Dowd, sans the red hair. Twenty years ago, it might have been possible to do a bit of journalist-ing in one's dotage. But that was when newspapers were a growing concern, instead of a growing concern... (Come to think of it, I am a daily columnist. I just don't get paid for it. Hmmmmm.)

Second off: police detective. Certain things I would have hated about being a cop. Namely, the gun, the authoritarianism, and the poly uniform (at least the color would have been okay). But, once I made detective, I would have liked the poke around and solve crime aspects, that's for sure. Alas, I'm way too old to take the police exam.

Third off: intelligence analyst. I was going to say "spy", but I don't know how brave, courageous, and bold I would have been nosing around incognito behind enemy lines. (One of my favorite movie as a kid was an old WWII black & white chestnut about American OSS spies in France who were nabbed by the Germans because they forgot to eat Euro-style, i.e., fork full-time in the left hand.) But intelligence analyst...

Thus I sighed when I saw an ad for MI6/SIS in last week's Economist.

Where else could you analyze a tribal leader's story, pick through an envoy's statement, and present the facts to government?

Dunno, but I'll take MI6's word for it that they're one place where it's possible.

And the word of  Saad, Operational Officer, who has always been fascinated by global current affairs -me, too - and who, as a Reports Officer, gets to sift through all kinds of source info "collected on the ground," and "piece together an intelligence picture."

In Saad's case, he's looking at weapon's proliferation, but I'm guessing you piece together different things for different countries, at different times.

Talk about an ideal job.

Not that I know all that much about any country, other than - sort of - The Republic of Ireland. (And, if I were working for MI6, I might not have been 100% thrilled to be informing on the IRA - to many corny, romantic rebel songs in my past, thank you  - as nasty a piece of work as those boyos have been in modern times.)

There's also the sad fact that, although I can one tense, two-hundred word vocab, scrimp along in any number of languages, I have fluency in English only.  But I would have ripped through Rosetta Stone for the chance to pore over info and summarize it into reports explaining something or other to somebody.

Think about what the work entails: reading, analyzing, pattern recognition, thinking, writing.

I'm the reader who notices that 142 pages into the book, the hero's best friend's eyes go from hazel to blue. 

I'm the one who goes nuts when I read a novel set in WWII in which the nylon-stocking-less character draws seams on the back of her legs with Magic Markers. Oh no she didn't! Magic Markers weren't invented until the 1950's. She would have used an eyebrow pencil. Sheeeshhh.

I'm the what-iffer, the logic flaw hound, the add-it-all-upper.

Of course, if you're a regular Pink Slip reader, you will naturally have noticed that I'm not the copy editor...

Copy (schmopy) aside: I would have made one hell of a Reports Officer - and MI6 is clearly hiring.

Too bad I'm not a British Citizen. (Note to long dead grandmother: stop rolling around in your grave. I don't really believe that it's too bad I'm not a British Citizen.)

Good thing the CIA's hiring. And I couldn't find an upward age limit for applying.

I'm pretty sure that I meet the analytical requirements, and I have a clean record on copyright violations, illegal downloads, etc. Pretty much. (I may have accepted a not-quite-legal copy of an Eva Cassidy CD about 8 years ago.)

Not that I have one, but tattoos don't disqualify you...

MI6 warns"please do not discuss your application with anyone."

Ditto Langley: Friends and family will be interested to hear that you're interested in a spookish job. But their interest "may not be benign or in your best interest."

So, attention everybody: I am not applying for a job with the CIA.

But I would have made a pretty darned good information analyst.

Just sayin'.

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