So it's finally come to this.
This June, I, along with a few thousand of your friends and peers, will graduate from the autumn corridors of Western Washington University. Creative Writing degree in hand, I'll be turned out in a cold, dark, uncaring world and expected to make something of myself. My dear Uncle Sam will cut off those fat checks, give me a stern look, sigh deeply and start talking about payment plans and interest rates.
In a matter of weeks, I'll be a college graduate, paying my own bills and making whatever payments I can to keep the government's slavering legions of debt collectors at bay. It will no longer be enough just to have a job. This time, I'll need a career.
Which leaves me wondering, like so many of my colleagues, what is the right career for me? Astronaut? Paleontologist? Dangerous food additive test subject?
While I'm qualified for all of these opportunities, I need a job that will sweep me up instantly, into a fast-paced world of intrigue where all of my skills will be tested, and my maximum potential can be released. I need a job that will recruit me right out of school to file paperwork one day, tap diplomat's phone lines the next, and occasionally eliminate the ruler of a corrupt foreign regime.
In short, I need the CIA. And in a lucky turn of events, it just so happens that the CIA needs me, too.
According to a recent article in The Federal Times, intelligence analysts are aging out of the profession, and the CIA is turning to college campuses and social networking sites like Facebook to recruit the next generation of cloak and dagger wielding desk jockeys. And while that might bode ill for state-sponsored espionage, it's great news for directionless post-baccalaureates like yours truly!
Part of me has always wanted to be a CIA spook; ever since the day my father ground off my fingerprints with a power sander, I've gotten a little giddy at the idea of building files on the personal lives of civil rights leaders and poisoning drinks at all the swankiest cocktail parties. I mean, who among us hasn't at some point craved the thrill of wrapping a length of piano wire around the neck of a Central American finance minister in the name of truth, justice and free trade?
In starting a career, you'll want to be aware of opportunities for advancement, and the CIA has these in spades. Due to the nature of your work at the CIA, it'll only take a few indictments, kidnappings in the field and shameful resignations before you're on your way to the top of the department. And no organization values the loyalty of their employees like the CIA, an agency with a proven track record of doing what it takes to keep their employees happy, or at least quiet.
But I realize that many of you aren't as excited as I am about the prospect of a career path where you can pick up valuable skills, such as killing a man with a spoon in ten different ways and being able to lie convincingly in a dozen different languages. But don't worry, friends! Your inability to construct a makeshift silencer out of a soda bottle by no means disqualifies you from a career in the exciting field of international espionage!
Like any other team, the CIA needs people from all walks of life and with all sorts of skills to operate at peak efficiency. Disappearing junta leaders isn't your thing? The Company needs a people person like you in their Human Resources Department! Experiencing a crisis of conscience over falsifying intelligence data? You're just the sort of straight shooter we need verifying expense reports!
But don't take my word for it. By visiting https://www.cia.gov/careers/cia-personality-quiz.html, you can take the CIA Personality Quiz, a short test that dispels some common myths about CIA work while also identifying what sort of intelligence work you would be most suited for. Take just a few minutes to answer the CIA's five multiple choice questions, and learn which of the CIA's five personality types (from Curious Adventurer to Thoughtful Observer) you are. And whether your dream job is being an agent, an accountant or an analyst, don't worry. The CIA needs all three!
You'll also learn fun facts about the realities of CIA work. For example: There are less car chases than in the movies. Conversely, there's also more travel via jetpack, more surfing and more shopping in Europe than Hollywood has led us to believe, which makes up for the disappointing lack of car chases. So go take the quiz, learn something about yourself, and get ready to serve your country for a living. Whether you're a Daring Thrill Seeker or an Innovative Pioneer, your future is waiting for you at the CIA. And that future is holding a jetpack.