Sunday, January 31, 2010

Career Longings

Perhaps I watch too much TV, something some of my friends would agree with, and some would not. However, it does broaden my horizons, because, in the normal course of events, accountants sit around and listen to stories from others and don’t do much exciting on their own. This is because we’ve evaluated the cost benefit ratios and have found that we’re safer not jumping off cliffs or going on safaris.

For the most part.

However, by watching entirely too much TV (which despite its opponents is still a fabulous way to zone out when I want to, well, zone out and stop thinking in terms of numbers) I have decided that my next career will be as a spy. Most people have several careers during their lifetime, at least these days, since multiple layoffs tend to drive people not only to distraction, but also to another line of work, and so I’m not counting myself out on this phenomenon.

And what better career than spy? I meet all the requirements (based on my extensive TV watching), and can, under the right circumstances, look presentable in evening clothes. Of course, I won’t look fabulous in evening clothes or anything else, but if you ask me, that’s even better. Who will the enemy spies suspect first? The enticing blonde in the tight dress with a with the high heels and clear skin who makes every other woman consider plastic surgery, if they hadn’t already, or the middle-aged slightly overweight woman in the flat shoes (all the better to run with) standing off in a corner while everyone looks at the blonde?


No one’s going to notice me in a crowd, which is a positive attribute for a spy, and since spies frequent embassy and high level political events, this is a good thing.

Then there’s my martial arts skills, which are pretty much nonexistent, though I did have enough Aikido lessons to learn how to fall without hurting myself which is, I think, very useful. And if hard pressed, I could even fall on the enemy spy. I plan to avoid this scenario altogether though by being armed. I did learn how to disassemble, shoot, and reassemble an M-16 in the service, though I’m fairly certain that spies don’t carry M-16’s, so I may have to fine tune my shooting abilities.

I’m fairly good with computers, though my ability to discern passwords from a lucky guess also needs a bit of work. However, I do have a cute little red USB flash drive I carry around with me. I did leave it at a client’s the other day, but since there currently aren’t any secrets vital to the US government I don’t think that’s a problem.

I don’t know any foreign languages, despite my years of studies. They just didn’t take. Who’s going to suspect a middle-aged American woman with no communication abilities of being a spy?
Exactly. I’m so perfect for this I’m surprised no one’s come to recruit me yet.

There are one or two problems. I’m used to being self-employed, and I really like to make my own rules. This means I’ll need to be a freelance spy. While I have no problem with that, I am wondering about the marketing aspect. My experience with marketing my business has been that it takes talking to a lot of people and telling everyone I meet what I do and how I can help them. I have a few doubts about building my spy career by telling everyone I meet that I’m a spy. Isn’t that counterproductive? “Hi, I’m Monique, and I’m a spy. Tell your friends and family!” Who’s going to trust a spy like that? Do I put anonymous ads on Craigslist? Looking for work ads in the local paper, which isn’t conducive to being an international spy, is it? Maybe an ad in the International Herald Tribune?

Then there’s the matter of continuing education, or perhaps basic education in the spy business. I’m not sure I want to go back to school, unless it’s online and I can do it on my laptop while sitting on my couch. However, my online searches for spy schools haven’t turned up anything.

Do spies have a professional organization? What are the dues? Do they have annual conventions?

Minor issues these. I’m sure it’ll all work out. Maybe I need a mentor spy.

Since I’d be a somewhat unconventional spy (older and nondescript, blending into the background, sleeping in), I think I’d be marketable. The spy no one would suspect. I can even fake a pretty good blank facial expression, the kind you see on the faces of those who are perennially lost and have no idea what they’re doing, or why. I use this expression a lot, usually without even trying. At the same time, I’m noticing everything around me, every speck of dust, every twitch of the eyes, every sneer. And how would you know I’m not noticing? My blank expression gives nothing away.

And who would I tell? I mean, other than my blog, which no one reads anyway. Oh yes, I’m going to blog about being a spy. This is a much underutilized forum for spies to talk about their experiences. I’ll blog from Istanbul, Krakow, the Kremlin, and Freedom, Maine, so that you too can find out about the life of a real life spy. I’m sure it’s just as glamorous as it is on TV and in the movies, and I’ll be right there, on the front lines, telling you all about it.

As soon as tax season is over. I’m sort of busy until then.

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