Updated: Dec 17, 2019
I’ve never been a good liar, my actions always work against me. This resounding truth makes me question the delusion I must have been under when I applied to be an Intelligence Officer for ASIO (Australian Security Intelligence Organisation). If you're into James Bond film's this is Australia's equivalent to the United Kingdom's Secret Intelligence Service, most commonly known as M16. In applying for a position at ASIO you accept to keep your application confidential which I have clearly regarded as advisory, similar to a closed beach sign on a hot day. If I run hard enough I can get a quick dip in before the lifeguards catch me.
I imagine the sincere words in my cover letter about the importance of confidentiality now appear redundant in the writing of this experience. Shout out to all the Intelligence Officers across the country who come home to their family’s mundane stories of office politics and school yard tactics at the dinner table. Under the guise of being employed as a florist, they simply sigh and ask their partner for the salt. All the while experiencing PTSD flashbacks from sky diving out of a helicopter into an enemies lair to thwart evil.
I won’t lie to you, I applied for the role after watching Angelina Jolie in the movie, ‘Wanted.’ At the time I was fresh out of University and was in full unemployment mode, stationed on the couch in the middle of the day with a bag of chips and no pants on. After the film finished I moseyed onto the ASIO website and ignored their statement that the role was nothing like the James Bond movies, “they’re just saying that so people don’t apply” I said to myself.
A few weeks later I received a call from a blocked number and was asked to meet in Sydney for an Interview. I’ll leave out specific detail for obvious reasons but what I will say is that similar to spy movies I was asked to dispose of the address. I’m not sure if they tapped into my phone during the recruitment process but if they did they would have found a string of phone calls to at least four different people saying, “I’m going to be a fucking spy!” as soon as we hung up.
When I arrived at the ‘secret location’ in Sydney I walked into a room full of men all dressed as if they were the next James Bond. All dressed in suits, I felt like asking many of them if they had also recently watched an action film. In that moment I also realised I was super under dressed in jeans and t-shirt but figured the whole point was to go incognito. Fortunately it didn’t matter what we wore as the first stage of the recruitment was an aptitude test. I guess my aptitude is quite poor because I was stumped by the first question. I remember staring blankly at the computer screen thinking, “fuck.” I had barely got half way through the test as the suits one by one adjusted their ties and walked out in their shiny shoes. Needless to say, my career as a spy died in that room which I now realise is essential in maintaining Australia’s national security. If I was caught for espionage the enemy wouldn’t even have to torture me for information, all they would have to do is bring over wine and a cheese board.