When a letter arrived, addressed to Mr B.J. Macintosh from L.J.Lemmings Ltd, digital security experts, who boast that even their luncheon menu is encrypted, inviting me to be interviewed for a position in their Cyber Security department I was baffled. I had not applied for a job with that enterprise, but obviously someone in that company’s HR department, with the inside track on undiscovered abilities, had discovered a seam of talent in the Macingtosh persona unknown to its owner, or anyone else for that matter.
Those of you cursed with an unnecessary familiarity with my life might know that appearance means everything to me so I set off wearing my only suit, and with a copy of the “Undercover News” folded discreetly under my arm.
Once settled in the dimly lit interview room a chap whose face was modestly hidden by a screen asked me a series of questions: here is our conversation!
“Do you hold a GCIH certificate?” he asked me. “No” I said!
“Do you hold a CISSP certificate then?” he continued. “No” I replied.
Appearing to be somewhere between unsettled and irritated he continued, “Are you familiar with the requirements for a CISSP-ISSAP qualification?”
“Always happy to rise to the challenge,” I replied, “Does it have anything to do with catering?” patting my generous waistline and adding that it was an area of expertise where no qualifications were required at the domestic level!
“No” he replied, and asked me why I was there, to which I replied that I was invited. “There has clearly been an administrative error: before you leave please be aware that all conversations in this place are subject to the Official Secrets Act.”
“Is there an Unofficial Secrets Act?” I enquired because it is the Macintosh way to search for knowledge at every turn.
“Kindly leave!” he responded and, as if to add urgency to his words, a gentleman appeared at my side whose possible love of catering was clearly combined with an unsettling interest in the local gym.
“Are there any other positions you would like me to apply for” I asked. “No” he said.
Not wishing to be rude to the department’s catering facilities, I asked if I should finish my coffee first, but a firm hand on my shoulder suggested such courtesies were not required.
Despite my wish to reach out to the passing world I could see there was little likelihood I would be invited back for lunch so with a cheery wave I said. “Onwards and downwards,” which is the Macintosh way.
“Very likely” said my host as he lowered his eyes to his paperwork!