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A salutary tale

From The Idler Book of Crap Jobs:
After a glorious Oxbridge education, my uncle started working for MI5 in 1952. His first assignment was to infiltrate the Communist Party. He was given a new name, a job working for the railways and the task of immersing himself in his new identity. After 10 years he had worked his way up through the railworkers’ union to a position of influence within the Communist Party, but his success was to be his downfall. He was such a good asset to MI5 that it became less and less likely that they would ever allow such a successful operative to “come out” and be reassigned to another mission.

He had to live on the railworkers’ salary so as not to draw attention to himself, he wasn’t allowed to pursue any interests that might conflict with his identity, he couldn’t have any time off from his “new life” and he had constantly to lie to his family. So throughout the next 30 years the only link he had with the intelligence service was a monthly meeting with his contact at MI5.

In the end he went mad, his wife and children left him and he started to compulsively collect newspaper clippings that related to his original mission. The piles of paper began to take over his house. It got so bad that in the end he had to cut pathways through the piles of newspaper that filled every room. Eventually, because newspaper is made from poor quality paper, the paper dust he habitually inhaled began to shred his lungs with tiny paper cuts until one day he effectively “drowned” in his own blood. The truth about his life only emerged 10 years after he was buried.

Most crap jobs steal some of your time. His stole his life.



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 25th, 2011 03:04 pm (UTC)
Straight out of "Brazil". *shakes head* Gilliam nailed this country, with that film.

Edited at 2011-01-25 03:04 pm (UTC)
Jan. 25th, 2011 06:13 pm (UTC)
At least if you worked for the KGB as an illegal overseas they'd give you an officer-grade rank, pay your salary into a bank account, give you medals for your achievements, and finally let you retire to a desk job in Moscow Central where you could wear those medals every day in the canteen.

(Everybody sings a chorus of "First we take Manhattan" ...)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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