English: The Seal of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation. For more information, see here. Español: El escudo del Buró Federal de Investigaciones (FBI). Para obtener más información, véase aquí (Inglés). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Here’s another fine entry in the Facebook Follies: I seem to have scared someone straight off my Friends List over there the other day when I mentioned that I had once applied to work in a research capacity – for the FBI. A job that would put me on the front lines of making a difference.
Whether some of the minor rogues over on Facebook like it or not, it’s true, and I’m proud of it. (Take that, rogues!) I did apply to the FBI. In fact, there were about 56 positions open at the time in cities all over America, and candidates had to apply for each one of them individually, so I didn’t apply just once. I applied all 56 times. That, right there, should illustrate just how much I wanted the chance to work for the FBI.
It was in 2004. I had been between jobs and met an FBI recruiter at an employment fair. The recruiter said that there was a position that could be filled by any college graduate of any major. Candidates had to apply online. She gave me the link, and when I went home from the fair I logged on and found out about the process.
Well, it was a doozie! They wanted a ton of information. They wanted to know every job I’d ever had – complete with contact information about supervisors. I had to track several of them down in order to provide their current phone numbers. There was an application for each venue, and quite a lot of forms that had to be uploaded too, and it wasn’t possible to just upload them once and keep re-submitting them. Is anything every that easy? All of those documents, which I kept on my computer desktop, had to be uploaded all 56 times.
I felt it was well worth it. It’s a fallacy that those who graduate for college can always get wonderful jobs. It never happened for me. I was marginalized in administrative positions again and again and again. On job interviews, the story would always be that it was possible to move up within the organization; once on the job, most times, the only way to move was sideways, not up. Only one lady at one job really got a chance to move up. She reportedly did a Monica Lewinsky with her boss every day at lunchtime, under the desk. She got promoted to a Vice President. They should have made her President of Vice.
The FBI job was to come with training at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. It was a magic word to me, Quantico! I had read so many books about criminal profilers and FBI agents. My own grandfather had been a Federal Postal Investigator and had told me so many stories about the cases he’d solved and the arrests he’d made when I was growing up. Trouble is, I’m not the most athletic person on the planet – in fact, I always felt that sports were ridiculous and illogical – so the idea of becoming a beat cop, or an agent in the field, and undergoing physical training to fight bad’uns, never appealed to me. I’m pretty small. One of my nicknames is “Little Pip.” The idea of me, the Little Pip, packing a gun and chasing crooks never fails to make my friends laugh out loud.
A research job, though…that sounded perfect for me! I’d been welcoming opportunities of doing research from about the age of eight. I was one of those kids who never tired of looking things up in the encyclopedia, and I never lost that curiosity. However, it didn’t have a chance to go anywhere at the jobs that were available to a Media/Theater/English Major.
I obtained another job between the time of the employment fair and the deadline for all 56 FBI applications. It turned out to be one of the worst jobs I’ve ever had, an administrative position assisting a yeller and screamer whose favorite word was an expletive meaning excrement, which, by the way, he couldn’t pronounce. ”Sheet” is the way it came out; “What eez thees sheet?” was his favorite all-purpose phrase to bellow and roar under any circumstances and regarding anything, his lunch, his mail, his day, any statement by his accountant or his wife. ”Sheet! Sheet!” It was earsplitting. It would reverberate through the halls and shake the walls. Oh, how I did not belong there! Were it not for the 56 venues of opportunities that were still available with the FBI, I would not have lasted there for a week. The position was, at least, in a great location, the co-workers there were wonderful, even if the head honcho was a head case, so I figured I could bide my time there, wait it out, and hope I’d be one of the new FBI hires, bound for Quantico. Whenever the sheet hit the fan, I’d run an image search on the FBI Academy campus, look at the pictures and hope for the chance to work for the Feebies – and, in the bargain, get some deliverance from the sheet-head.
I figured that there’d be hundreds of applicants for the best of the FBI postings – cities like New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Phoenix, anything in the sun belt – and less competition for the colder climes. I don’t like cold weather, since I feel like I’m freezing even in air-conditioned room, but for a chance like this, I’d cheerfully apply everywhere that had an opening. That included Anchorage, Alaska. It’s said to be a beautiful city, Anchorage. I’d freeze my butt off, but if they chose me, I’d go. With my luck, that would almost certainly be the city where I’d be accepted. To that end I bookmarked the Anchorage Daily News on my computer and read it regularly to get a feel for the town.
All of my forms were about to be uploaded and submitted when I noticed something very strange on the FBI jobs site. Some of the deadlines for some of the venues, which had remained steady for about six months, were moved up a week. That was strange. Those dates had held steady for six months! I uploaded everything left to upload hastily. I filled out the online questionnaire 56 times. I was so ready to get one of those jobs!
I emailed one of the job contacts to find out why the deadlines were being altered, though, since I found that ultra-strange. I’ve always appreciated the fact that she got back to me. She said that there had been budget cuts under George W. Bush – cuts that had taken place after those jobs were initially posted as open. As a result, she told me, all of the research positions in all of the 56 venues were probably never going to be filled!
I left that martinet Mr. Sheet and landed awhile later at another administrative position, but an interesting and a decent one, working with great people. I put my research skills to work in my spare time, writing MAMA ROSE’S TURN: The True Story of America’s Most Notorious Stage Mother about Gypsy Rose Lee and Baby June Havoc’s legendary mom, Rose Thompson Hovick. I’m in the process of researching a Hollywood murder mystery for a possible new book. It’s that of director William Desmond Taylor n 1922. Let’s see where my investigative efforts might lead me with that. It happened in the 1920′s and hasn’t been solved yet. Talk about a cold case…
If there are those on Facebook who think I’m “a pig” for having once applied to the FBI, they can think it. They can get off my Friends List, too, if they’re that ridiculous, or that afraid of being arrested for whatever they’re into in their spare time; I now shudder to wonder. Well, so long, good riddance and sayonara!
I wonder though. What would have happened if George W. Bush’s administration hadn’t un-funded the FBI positions? What if I’d had the chance to do some good there, as my grandfather once did before me? Wouldn’t it have been wonderful to nail that dream job? Quantico, to me, is still, and will always be, a magic word.
Quantico Train Station (Photo credit: 3.26)