Contemporary career path to become James Bond
October 5, 2012 5:44 AM   Subscribe

How to find the express route to a job like Commander James Bond - without getting hidebound by desks, petty blackmail, IT support, the heavy drinking embassy cocktail party circuit or an HR policy that frowns on you killing people. But you are going to have to drive an un-obtrusive car and teach yourself about cards, suits and seduction in your own time; sorry.
posted by rongorongo (9 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
That article is not quite right on some of the details.

E.g.: Most of the time when they operate overseas they do so as accredited diplomats assigned to a British embassy or consulate under false identities.

Not quite true. They do it under false job titles, but they rarely, if ever, use fake names on a longer posting. They also work either declared or undeclared. If declared, the intelligence agency in the host country knows they work in intelligence. If undeclared - and one can only be undeclared for so long in one's career before it is assumed that hostile intelligence agencies know who you work for - then you work under an assumed job title. Indeed you do that job, and do your sneaky beaky stuff on the side. Apart from the ambassador/high commissioner and other intelligence people in the embassy, no-one from your own embassy will be told of your dual role.

Even in a more serious station located in a hostile country possessing a dangerous counter-intelligence service, if something goes wrong nothing very terrible will happen to the British spy. He will simply display his diplomatic passport and walk away.

Not true. If you are part of the embassy you will have a diplomatic passport. If you don't, you won't. At any rate, diplomatic immunity isn't just a wave it and walk away thing. See: Raymond Davis.
posted by MuffinMan at 6:32 AM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've mentioned this before, but if you're even remotely interested in real-life James Bond stuff, you could do worse than to check out The Sandbaggers. Almost all of the drama in that series came from the machinations going on in the bureaucracy in London, and somehow they managed to make it fascinating.
posted by nushustu at 6:37 AM on October 5, 2012 [3 favorites]

Seconding Sandbaggers. They had a budget of two frayed shoestrings, so expect to see a lot of Yorkshire countryside standing in for, uh, countries in Eastern Europe, but the writing! The acting! The legitimately awesome theme music and intro!
posted by joyceanmachine at 7:29 AM on October 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

I love these threads, anyone who could comment knowledgeably, can't comment.
They seem to me to always be straining with unspoken knowledge.

I wonder if the server has an awesome cache of previewed but not posted comments as some intelligence service functionary starts to write a juicy anecdote but then thinks "shit, I can't post that"
posted by fullerine at 9:24 AM on October 5, 2012 [4 favorites]

This may also be the influence of spy fiction rather than reality, but I was kind of disappointed the job description for Artworker never once mentions producing forged documents.
posted by RobotHero at 9:44 AM on October 5, 2012

Real Life James Bond to me has meant Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy for me, since seeing the movie and the miniseries a bit ago. Nothing exciting. Just drab little men doing paperwork, but with much more lethal office politics.
posted by sparkletone at 6:08 PM on October 5, 2012

The Secret Origins Of James Bond(PDF) - Spy novelist Jeremy Duns presents an in-depth analysis of how one of Britain’s most successful thriller-writers influenced the creation and development of Ian Fleming’s character.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:06 PM on October 8, 2012

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