It's been a few days since I received the email telling me I didn't get the job.
Frankly, I was relieved.
But I had to apply for it. It was a vacancy that required candidates with a good grasp of English, like what I got. It also offered the promise of an exciting career, something a tad more important than selling plastic bags to bored Polish shop assistants who don't even know what the fuck it is they want.
It was a job with MI5.
When I first read the spec, I felt a wave of eagerness rush through me. It was a sensation I'm unused to, which I know now is called 'Being Alive.'
The role seemed to speak to me. After months, nay, years, of reading "Spineless team member sought with ruthless blind allegiance - must possess degrees you don't have, with a thorough knowledge of programs and processes you've never heard of..." it was refreshing to finally encounter something I could not only do, but might also enjoy.
So I applied.
The initial tests were online, the first gauging your common sense, the second testing your data reading skills. This was fun, so I was surprised to receive an email telling me I'd passed. It didn't say how well I'd done, only that I was eligible to go on to the 'proper' application now that I'd gone through their initial filter.
And this is where I'd panicked.
Question 1: Do you keep a personal online journal?
I stared at the screen. Well, discounting this actual blog, I don't. Maybe, I thought, I could just tick yes and be honest, but underneath, it said 'If yes, please type the address here____________________________'
'I could tell them', I reasoned. After all, they'd get to see 6 years of written English produced in my own time for fun. That's a goldmine for any potential employer, right? - provided of course that they overlook the endless bitter introspection, the junk food addiction, the relentless swearing, the Class A drug abuse, the prostitute sex, the heavy drinking, some cunt with a car, and the ceaseless, relentless bitching about my day job.
So I ignored it and soldiered on.
HAVE YOU EVER TAKEN DRUGS?
IF SO, PLEASE LIST THEM
'Cannabis', I began, 'Esctasy, once' (although it was more like 5 or 6 times but I felt like I was being sorta honest as I never took more than one in any given evening - I think.
And then I typed 'cocaine' and stared at the screen. Nothing made that word seem fluffy and innocent and it looked utterly out of place on a job application. It was the word equivalent of a piss-stained tramp passed out on the floor of a 3-year-old's birthday party. So I deleted it and ticked the box that said I'd quite like to discuss my application with someone later, please.
And then I clicked submit.
To be fair, I was very happy with my application. It was sturdy, and I was confident that I was the man for the job - apart from lying about those last two points, made worse by their assertion about not lying as it was a staggering breach of trust.
Except it wasn't really lying, was it? Besides, I'd decided I would tell them about the blog and let them make their own mind up were they to ask, and I was going to tell them about the coke too. I'd just have to go through my entire blog replacing all the 'motherfuckers' with 'rotters', and generally adjust everything from XXX down to a PG or even U whilst praying they'd overlook past indescretions.
And I'd got through to the next stage, the telephone interview. I was now quite dumbstruck, not to mention full of a considerable amount of guilt. However the date they'd given me was in the middle of the week so I replied to say I couldn't do working hours as I'd literally be walking the streets conducting it on my mobile phone. They replied to say this would be fine as long as I didn't mind, so I agreed to their new date on a Friday.
I woke up to Interview day with a fair amount of nerves. And an hour in, those nerves were replaced with anger, and angst, as my boss told me the car cunt had resurfaced. This was rather troublesome, as I would've liked to have spent the hour or two before my interview hiding in the toilet to read up on the job so it would be fresh in my mind. Instead, I was debating insurance with my boss because of a scratch on a sportscar some arsehole claimed I did nearly a year ago.
Needless to say, I'd become deflated and utterly sick to the pit of my stomach about something unrelated to the call I was about to make. Then, in the middle of that day, having excused myself with the line that I was leaving the office "for a think", I instead hid down a London backstreet to phone MI5 and sound unnaturally perky and eager to please.
So you can imagine my glee when I was asked about my interpretation of the job, and about their work in general, and I had nothing, nothing, barring the generic bullshit in my head. Admittedly when I had to provide examples of specific work-related scenarios I had even less, umming and ahhing as I walked up and down the same fucking street in a state of awkwardness, disbelieving the strange optimism that appeared to be tumbling out of my mouth.
But by then I'd gone off the job. It was destined to fail when I'd agreed to conducting the whole thing outdoors and on a cellphone, with a runny nose, for over half an hour, not to mention doomed from the outset thanks to my frugal admissions in the first place.
On the plus side, I still have absolutely no impact on British security, so I guess you can all sleep easy. However, it does mean I can continue to blog with a moderately clear conscience.
Sorry about that.