My salad dressing days


No gun? Not interested
September 24, 2005, 1:35 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Many, many moons ago, I was visiting my old university professor. A few years down the line from graduation, I was itching for a change on the job front.

My professor mentioned that ‘someone from the Foreign Office’’ was going to be visiting him soon and might I be interested in any current vacancies?

Sudden flash-forward to cocktail parties in warmer climes, white linen suits and Panama hats, plates piled high with Ferrero Rocher, superficial chit-chat, wife-swapping…

‘Oh yes!’

And so it was that a few weeks letter, I received the most bizarrely-written letter from some guy at the Foreign Office. It went something along the lines of: ‘I understand from Professor XX that you might be interested in opportunities at the Foreign Office which are not conventional Foreign Office posts. And so I would like to invite you to discuss further these unconventional posts within the Foreign Office here at the Foreign Office. Can you attend a Foreign Office-style meeting here at the Foreign Office at XX etc.’

The words ‘doth protest too much’ came immediately to mind. But, being a nosy so-and-so, I was too curious to refuse.

A fellow alumnus of mine called to say she had received a similar letter but that her ‘meeting’ was scheduled for a few days before mine. Sensing an opportunity to gen up on my interview technique in advance, I called this friend as soon as she finished her interview.

‘So??’, I asked. ‘How did it go?’

‘Er, fine. I can’t really tell you much about it…’

‘It’s the spies, isn’t it?’

[muffled sniggering from my friend]

‘I knew it! I knew it! Oooh, oooh, what did they SAY?’

‘Just wait until your interview.’

And so, off I trooped to the ‘Foreign Office’ building, dutifully bearing my bizarre letter, which was promptly taken from me by the receptionist. (If only I had been as smart as Jon Snow and taken a photocopy beforehand.)

I entered a room with a 60ft high ceiling, which looked like the Queen’s boudoir, and looked around for bugging devices, concealed cameras etc.

A man came in and talked me through why I was really there, told me he was going to give me a paper to read which would tell me more about the ‘job’ but that I had to sign the Official Secrets Act first and he duly passed me the scrappiest piece of yellow paper ever with a blank space for my signature. Flipping heck! I suddenly wondered whether it was appropriate to come over all the-accused-in-a-police-drama and say I wanted to speak to my lawyer first, but being 24 and not actually having a lawyer, nor knowing how I might acquire a lawyer in the space of three minutes, I signed. He left the room, saying he would be back in 15 minutes.

Of course, I cannot tell you what the paper said (or else I’d have to kill you, obviously) but – and I am paraphrasing here – it was something along the lines of: ‘Contrary to popular belief, our agents are not “licensed to kill”.’

What? No gun? Tuh! Not interested.

(And my friend? Well, she went ‘all the way’ but then ‘didn’t get the job’. Hmmmm…)

P.S. If this post disappears suddenly, then you’ll know that they eventually got to me.

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8 Comments so far
Leave a comment

“White linen suits and Panama hats”…were you fantasising about James Bond, or the man from Del Monte??

Comment by the plate invigilator

you mean they are not one and the same person?

i always thought his gadgets were hidden in his pineapple…

Comment by Urban Chick

He said yes…

Comment by the plate invigilator

Ha! Goodness, you have some good stories:)

Comment by actonbell

Non-disclosure agreements can ruin the BEST parts of stories. Sigh.

Comment by Whinger

Apparently, Nigella Lawson was approached by the FO/MI6 while she was at university. I’d love to be a spook, but unfortunately I’m as common as muck with a strong northern accent and I don’t think they go for my sort. Bastards. Don’t they know how good we Mancunians are with guns? Not me, obviously, but I could learn.

Hello, btw.

Comment by Sniffy

I had a similar approach from MOD – so does that make it MI5 rather than 6? At the bottom of the letter it said ‘Do not tell anyone about this letter.’ By that point of course I had told about 5 people already so I realised that I wasn’t best suited to that line of work.

gonrjjd – an exclamation often heard from first time visitors to the clap clinic

Comment by GreatSheElephant

A Mancunian… not good with guns…? You’re having a laugh Tina…. But I’m sure they’d be willing to work on the accent….

Comment by CyberKitten




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