Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Microstory 1308: Clearance Investigator Job

Clearance Investigator: I appreciate your patience during this process. As you can imagine, as clearance investigators, it’s very important that we make sure the people we allow to be hired—or remain employed by the government, as you recently experienced—are investigated to the best of our ability, with the resources we have at our disposal. It’s doubly important that the people we hire to be those investigators be vetted even more thoroughly, to avoid any conflicts of interest, or other issues. We are the gatekeepers for so many agencies, and if you want to be part of that, we have to make sure you’re both up to the task, and worthy of holding the keys.
Postal Worker: I understand. I consider everything I went through during this most recent background check to be part of my preliminary training. The other checks were part of my training too, I suppose, since they are still relevant.
Clearance Investigator: Very good. Now, you have worked for the postal service for the last four years, correct?
Postal Worker: This is a fact, sir.
Clearance Investigator: Were you surprised when you got called up for a reinterview process?
Postal Worker: I wasn’t surprised so much as I didn’t know it was going to happen. I guess that is the very definition of surprise. Perhaps I mean only that I wasn’t bothered by it, nor concerned.
Clearance Investigator: What made you decide to apply for this position?
Postal Worker: It was the whole process. I was a bit scared the first time it happened, because I didn’t truly understand what was going on. I made a writing error on my application, and you threw it back to me, so that was upsetting. But I was a little more mentally prepared when the renewal came up, and I started really thinking about what was happening in the background; what you guys were doing, and why you were doing it. I became fascinated by it, and I realized how incredibly important, as you said, it was to make sure you know who it is you’ve hired. A lot of my co-workers were put off by it. They didn’t think it mattered, since we’re just mail sorters, but I never saw it that way. We have access to a lot of sensitive information that the citizens of this country are counting on us to protect. Maybe it’s not always national security, but every letter matters to someone.
Clearance Investigator: You seem eager to work for us.
Postal Worker: Oh no, I wouldn’t say I’m eager; I definitely wouldn’t use that word. I’m ready. I mean, I just... I...I—
Clearance Investigator: Don’t worry, I don’t think you’re a terrorist who’s trying to become a mole in our department. You have the position. This interview is just one final formality to give you one more chance to back out, if you are so inclined. If you think an initial background check is hard, just wait until you see our exit process. Quitting this job, or—God forbid—getting fired from it, can be even more stressful, because now you have all this confidential knowledge we can’t let you walk away with unless we’re sure you won’t misuse it. If you really want to do this, we’ll get the paperwork started.
Postal Worker: I really want to do this.
Clearance Investigator: All right. Wait here a moment.

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