When the job market gets tough, the tough start looking around for alternative career opportunities. My own search for a new way to get by in these difficult times has led me to consider work as a police informer.
Yes, helping the authorities fill dossiers about friends, neighbors, and relatives might not, at first glance, appear to have the cache of medicine, or the limitless earning potential of law. Indeed, in certain social circles, theres a stigma attached to police informancy. Look more closely with an open mind, however, and the upsides of this work quickly becomes apparent.
The most obvious attraction, of course, is that this is a growth industry. The need for informers always soars in times of actual or perceived crisis. That was true during the Red Scares that followed both World War I and World War II, and its certainly true in our own post-911 world. Not only is the Ashcroft Justice Department seeking outside help garnering information about terrorists, the intelligence units of local police departments in cities such as Chicago, New York, and Seattle are also beefing up operations and taking steps to dispense with annoying civil liberty cavils that obstruct information collection.
You dont need an MBA to recognize the kind of money-making potential such activities could generate. After a short apprenticeship as an unpaid intern informer, chances for matriculating to secure, civil service-like positions with health and retirement benefits are excellent. The possibility of doing the same work for a local as well as a federal employerdouble dipping on salary and bonus payments in the processis also very real. And if youre lucky enough to rise to the top of the profession, and do a stint before a Congressional committee, a book contract and a sinecure with a conservative think tank are virtually assured.
With extraordinary luck, you might even get a TV deal. This season a major network is bringing back a refurbished "Dragnet" series. Why not an updated, slightly reformatted "I Led Three Lives" series featuring a latter day Herb Philbrick among the Osama-ites, with you as a consultant? Men have died for less.
While researching this field, I came upon a number of other things that seemed especially attractive because they dovetail so neatly with my personal predilections. The work can be performed on a part-time basisa boon to parents. Informer report writing can also be done at home, which cuts into wardrobe and commuting costs. Because people tend to speak more freely in social situations, there are numerous opportunities to pad expense accounts while getting in a fair amount of partying. And since all the information I would be gathering is of a hearsay nature, and need not be substantiated with hard evidence, my production could easily be padded as well, enhancing job security.
Another wonderful perk comes with this kind of workimmunity from nasty interactions with other government operatives. If I have a disagreement with the IRS, a quick call from someone at Justice can put it right. A DUI infraction can be cleared up easily with a little help from my local handlers. And when it comes to drugs, well, any time I get caught with a bit of wacky tabaky or a few tabs of ecstasy, just taking a DEA investigator aside and explaining that were both working to protect the country will almost certainly get me off the hook.
When the East German government fell a decade ago, and it was revealed that a large number of seemingly respectable citizens were police informers, many outsiders swore off the profession. Lets be honest, though. It took almost 50 years from the time the East German security service (the Stasi) got into broad-based informer recruitment after World War II, and the time those recruited were exposed and disgraced.
Ill take my chances in 50 years. For now, I look around and see the panicked reactions of government bureaucracies, the shifting notions of patriotism, the new world order resource allocations, and the way people playing by the old rules are dropping in droves from the ranks of the comfortable middle class.
So Ive decided to cut my deal. I now look forward to chatting with you at work, at a party, or perhaps during a casual get-together of parents at a PTA meeting.
Have a nice day.