Being out of work means you’ll now have lots of time on your hands to develop new skills with a view to starting a new career. Whatever you were dismissed from your previous job for doing – be it constant lateness, insubordination, sexual harassment or just plain old laziness – remember that you don’t have to spend the rest of your life on the dole.
Why not consider joining the secret service? You’ll get to drive Aston Martin’s everywhere, drink vodka martini’s all night and sleep with impossibly attractive strangers that are secretly trying to kill you – bet it beats what you were doing in your last job, right?
If preventing psychopathic megalomaniacs with odd facial scars from creating doomsday weapons is your thing, becoming a secret agent could be just the career move you’ve been looking for.
Here’s what you’ll need to do to progress:
1. Stay out of trouble with the police
Yes, we know James Bond was licensed to kill but the reality is that the secret services tend to want people they can trust in their ranks. Whilst getting a parking fine won’t necessarily exclude you from the recruitment procedure to join MI5 – not paying it just might.
2. Stay Off the Drugs
You won’t be able to stay one step ahead of suspicious looking strangers sent to kill you with a poison tipped umbrella if you’re high as a kite all the time. Drugs are an absolute no-no in the intelligence services for obvious reasons.
3. Get a half decent education
The key to getting accepted into the intelligence services lies in the use of the term, ‘intelligence,’ or rather – if you haven’t got any of the aforementioned you won’t get in. Most intelligence services require a decent education before they let you strap on a jetpack and for MI6 they’ll want a higher second class degree.
4. Have a desire to travel the globe
Much as we’d love all the nation’s mortal enemies to be restricted to a sleepy seaside town near Bognor Regis, unfortunately this is not the case. Most spies will be required to travel to foreign countries, so you’ll limit your chances of getting recruited if you ask to be stationed in that hotbed of international espionage – Grimsby.
5. Be a citizen of the country
As you can imagine, there are certain countries in the world that we are not going to feel too comfortable giving our innermost state secrets to, so as a result you need to be a citizen of the country whose secret service you are applying to join. Your immediate family will also have to be citizens for obvious reasons. You’ll therefore have to tell your long lost Uncle Vladimir from Moscow that he needs to keep a low profile until you get accepted.
6. Learn some foreign languages
The more languages you can speak, the better. It’s beneficial to know the languages of people we may have (a) had a recent punch-up with, (b) are about to have a punch up with, or (c) anybody that has been visited by Boris Johnson recently as a punch up will be imminent. If you know any obscure languages like Esperanto, it may help your chances if we ever need to send anybody over there to do close surveillance of their nuclear weapons programme **
7. Get fit
In case you get captured by the enemy. You won’t be able to undergo a dramatic escape if you get tired before you’ve even stolen a car in downtown Paris – let alone jumped out of a plane wearing a pair of skis. People tend to get recruited into the secret service who haven’t got beer bellies and don’t get out of breath too easily (unless of course you’re going undercover in a betting shop).
8. Keep Schtum
A secret agent isn’t very secret if everybody knows what their next operation will be. Spying is all about keeping critical information on the lowdown, so you’ll need to avoid telling anyone about the time you fired an RPG from a speedboat during a covert mission in the Strait of Gibraltar.
9. Be prepared to work long hours
Some of the cases you’ll be asked to work upon will be so critical that you won’t be allowed to dart out of the door at 5:30pm like you did in your last job. In fact, a lot of your work won’t be 9-5 as you’ll need to keep an eye on the bad guys when they’re doing their dastardly deeds at all hours.
9. Demonstrate leadership qualities
Experience in the military would always help, but failing that you’ll need to show that you can make critical decisions at critical moments – like deciding whether you want your dry martini shaken or stirred.
10. Be honest
That time you were arrested for weeing against a lamp post on a stag weekend in Bournemouth – you’ll have to come clean unfortunately. Or maybe there was the time you ordered a pizza to be delivered to your next door neighbour as a prank – that as well. The point is, if you hide your seedy past from the agency recruiters they will think you’re untrustworthy and won’t want you on board.
11. Stay out of debt
A few quid on your credit card balance is okay, but if your bosses at MI5 get any inkling whatsoever that you’ve ever considered applying for a loan with Wonga.com, they will start to doubt your financial responsibility. If you’re skint and are about to assassinate an Arab Sheikh, he may simply offer you a cash sum to let it go on this occasion – which is bad for covert business.
** = Esperanto isn’t an actual country in case you were wondering..