Some of you may have noticed that my posts sort of dried up for a while. Well, here’s the thing ~
Many of you know that, for many years, I’ve been juggling many hats, career-wise. In addition to being a charming and adorable blogger, a somewhat soft-core artist, and an immortal adrenaline junkie with a death wish, I also spent my nights working as an emergency dispatcher. And as much as I liked the job itself, I was finding myself restless.
AND I also enjoy taking tests, which is how all this story really begins. (BECAUSE I AM APPARENTLY JUST THAT BIG A NERD.)
This restlessness led to some random web surfing, which led to me sort of accidentally taking the RCMP entrance exam. (That’s the Mounties, for those of you who don’t know. And the Mounties are the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, for those of you who don’t know. And the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are kind of like Canada’s FBI and state police combined, for those of you who don’t know.)
I think it may have been from a subconscious desire for a pony. I’m not really sure.
But then I found out that I had passed. Well, not really passed. More like ACED IT – 98th percentile, baby! *self-five*
Turned out they wanted me to come to Truro to work in the RCMP Operational Communications Centre, which led to a year-long recruitment process – that I had to keep secret from the boss who was still paying me, even while being good friends with her and being absolutely horrible at lying and becoming a nervous, yammering squirrel every time I had to be around her. (It was horrible.)
I’m not allowed to talk much about it, but this recruitment process involved panel interviews, simulations, emptying pockets for armed escorts into the RCMP Headquarters (where there was a very disturbing mounted bison head that still gives me nightmares – and hopefully I haven’t broken any confidentiality covenants by telling you that, but seriously, those things are HUGE), being fingerprinted, being poked, prodded and tested for vision, hearing, medical, and psych (and let me just stop you right there, because OBVIOUSLY if they wanted to confirm my sound state of mind, all they had to really do was read my blog, amirite?). All of these things happened in other cities, and due to my having to sneak around, it generally involved me having to work graveyard shifts and then drive the 3-6 hours there and back during the day, plus the time for the testing. (But they were promising me almost triple my current salary, so…. It’s true. I’m a capitalist whore.)
Then it was on to the final step. And here’s where it reeeeally got intense. The final phase was the security clearance. And the position I was being considered for required TOP SECRET security clearance. (It’s true – it’s actually called that. “Top Secret”. I would have expected something more cryptic, like, “Level Alpha-1” or “Platinum Tier”, but we’re simple people, we Canadians. )
This top level security clearance meant members of the federal government’s investigative bureau combing through all of my emails and all of my texts from the past decade, interviewing friends, family, and neighbours (because, of course, grannies are the first to know when you are plotting to overtake the government and whatnot). I was informed it would be a good idea to warn anyone that would be expected to be
interrogated interviewed, because some people get a little freaked out when the men in black (men in maroon?) show up at the door. So I did this – I called up people I hadn’t spoken to in years. I warned my friends, family, and neighbours that someone might be asking about me and told them no, I was not in trouble with the law (which I’m sure would have been the default expectation). Along with a few warnings about sexting, obviously. (Overall, the entire process felt a little like I imagine it must feel for people who have to notify their previous partners about an STD. A little cooler than that, obviously, but still awkward.)
So, shit was getting real. I had started looking at apartments in Truro. And I quit my job, the dispatch one. Yeah, that’s right – I did it!
THEN my dad went in hospital for what was supposed to be a routine day surgery, which turned into a week full of medical complications, and I went, “What the fuck am I thinking? I can’t move away right now!” (My mom passed away a couple of years ago and Dad has no other family nearby.) And my side gigs were becoming more lucrative, making the decision easier.
So, I took a deep breath and told the RCMP I was withdrawing my application. I bought a domain name (www.andreamacmillan.com) and decided to start working for myself, painting for a living and subsidizing naps. (I am an excellent boss.)
Either that, or I’m now a secret agent under cover as a charming and adorable blogger. You’ll never know.
P.S. As it turns out, they don’t actually give you a pony when you join the Mounted Police, anyway. Pfft.