Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Join the CIA!!!!!

I joked last week (OK, 7 years ago for those scoring at home) about wanting to do a story based on a radio commercial I heard about the fact that the CIA is hiring, but I was too afraid of Big Brother. They're like HR only with weapons and wiretapping, though unlike my HR, they probably let you surf the web. Although I'm sure it's in the name of National Security, which really isn't a good name. I prefer something more traditional like Dale or possibly Ella, if it's a girl. 

Well, after reading this AP story about the CIA on Yahoo, I’m ready to. The story is about how the CIA is looking for new employees, which I guess they call recruits or perhaps newhires or maybe if you're really lucky, agents. The story says that they have shown ads during baseball games, taken out ad space in various magazines and airport billboards as well as during movie trailers. If they're smart, they would take out ads next to the Dos Equis Most Interesting Man in the World ads, which I wrote about just a few posts below - but don't go there yet. I'd like you to finish this one first. It even says the CIA has hired an ad agency. I bet the ad company’s creative folks are having a blast pitching ideas to CIA employees. I can hear it now, “ok guys, if you don’t think this tagline is good, you’re not going to shoot or torture me, right? Guys, smile, that was just a joke, really.” No, it's not a slick pitch like they make on "Mad Men" but it's how I used to pitch clients and I even landed one of them once, so there.

Now I’m glad to know that I wasn’t the only one noticing how weird it is that our government’s intelligence agency is publicly seeking employees. Apparently one of the things the CIA wants to do is wipe away the notion that all CIA work is like the very fictional world of James Bond. I’m sure my stereotypical driveling in the next few paragraphs is the exact type of thinking they want to discourage, but I just can’t help it. And with that, cue the moving gun barrel and the image of a well dressed man walking across it preparing to shoot you. Why yes, you can pretend it's me if you'd like...

What a relief though to know that if the CIA were to hire me I wouldn’t have to go out and buy enough tuxedos for every day of the week. It would be a little sad in a way to be hired by the CIA and have all of those myths associated with covert work demystified so quickly. I could see myself sitting in my new cubicle saying to no one in particular, “so this is it, really? Can my ballpoint pen kill anybody? When do I get to meet Q? Did I miss the lady with the caviar cart or does she come by after lunch?” At that point I’m sure I’d be executed fired.

Although I know nothing about the workings of our country’s intelligence agency (in fact just using the word intelligence usually trips me up), I would imagine that working in a cubicle there beats working in a cubicle for anyone else. My guess is that the two most interesting departments would be HR and the requisitioning department. My mind can only imagine what items would be requisitioned at the CIA. Of course, in reality it’s probably the same type of stuff at any company like pencils, pens, computers, paper, copier toner and explosive tie clips. Wouldn’t it be great to hear a line like, “did you get that order of magnetic, homing device, self destructing wrist watches filled yet,” just once while at work.

HR might be the easiest department since every personnel file would be marked ‘classified.’ Imagine having to review someone’s file to determine whether administrative leave is necessary after he or she destroyed an entire riverfront Bistro in pursuit of a wanted dangerous international smuggler. More than likely, the day-to-day monotony of a CIA HR person would be filled with healthcare enrollment options, retirement packages and sexual harassment claims filed by older cold war relic spies who keep hitting on their new, young secretaries by calling them Ms. Moneypenny and asking if they’d like to see his Aston Martin (if you catch my drift). I should tell you that the notion to go with Pussy Galore instead of Ms. Moneypenny in that last sentence crossed my mind, but there's a certain word there that makes me blush. I shudder to think of using the word Moneypenny in a public setting.  The word should actually be two separate words, but that's how they created it. It's so embarassing when you catch other people making spelling or grammatic errors.

Man, I bet the training films are great to watch. Do you think they save money and just show Bond films or episodes of Get Smart or do you think they actually make the training films themselves complete with monotone narration and lots of great black and white 1950's stock footage? Do the training films talk about how important it is to forget what you overheard during lunch or to only look down at the floor or up to the ceiling when walking down the hall? Are there plenty of suggestions on how to make the perfect double entendre or witty remark after you have killed someone? Does it cover the importance of leaving your disguises in the office and not forwarding government email to your best friend from high school just because it says ‘for your eyes only’ or ‘this message must be destroyed after receipt?’ My mind tingles at the possibilities.

Do you think the CIA plays other government entities in a governmental softball or bowling league? I bet that all the CIA players show up in Ray-Ban sunglasses and fake beards. I wonder if the other teams just throw the games because they are afraid of what would happen if they beat the CIA. No matter what the answers to all of these questions are, I think me asking them out loud has just guaranteed that I will never be invited to work for their agency. Oh well, it was worth a shot, right? After all, you only live twice. And diamonds are forever. And nobody does it better. And tomorrow never dies. And we have all the time in the world (bonus points if you can name which movie that one was in). There, I think I milked that dead horse for all it's worth. Wait, that can't be right...

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