Intelligence can be boring…
Let’s be real. Intelligence is not all lock-picking and high speed car chases through the streets of Madrid. This week I’ve been pondering some common misconceptions with the publicised world of intelligence. And so, I decided to publish some straight truths for budding new Intelligence analysts.
1. If you just want to get into intelligence to impress a girl, or because you’re a masochistic idiot who desires to develop a thousound yard stare, GTFO. You need a burning desire to make things better.
2. You need a network. In the last James Bond movie our hero spends the majority of the movie as a rouge agent jet-setting alone from place to place. In actual fact, you need to know you can count on people, you cannot be a loner. How do you do this? Give value to others, don’t take – give!
3. Intelligence professionals are not ‘born geniuses’. Good intelligence professionals take time each day to sit, read and learn about their craft. They ask good questions and find out what they don’t know.
4. You don’t always need to be right. Intelligence is about making the best guess based on the information you have at hand. If information changes, or you get it wrong, don’t worry – brush it off, update your hypothesis and get on with your job. Being scared to make a call because you’re worried you’ll get it wrong will make you an ineffective analyst. Plain and simple.
5. No credit but all the blame. We’ve all heard of Intelligence failures before – but when was the last time you heard of intelligence wins? Intelligence analysts are sometimes second fiddle to operational staff who often get the credit for a job well done. I know plenty of analysts who’ve done the heavy lifting in criminal investigations but fail to get the praise. Guess what? It comes with the territory. Be proud of your own achievements and share your wins with the team.
6. There’s so many opportunities in intelligence! When I was in the Army full time Intelligence staff were always the first to deploy, and often in so many different roles. If you’re interested in travel, seeing interesting parts of the world, or deploying overseas, intelligence is likely to be your golden ticket.