On Background Checks

Today I received my first follow-up for a background check with regards to potential new employment. I was so over the moon at this silly little email I went to right to my text messages, wanting to tell the first person that came to mind. But decided that would not warrant the immediate response I wanted and called my mom instead.

She picks up the phone right away but doesn’t even grace me with a hello. Instead, she’s having a conversation with someone else still. After a moment or two, I can tell it’s not overly important and tease, “Pay attention to me!”

She’s laughs and in the most exaggerated voice she can muster says, “What do you want?”

“I know it’s going to sound dumb and I don’t really care becuase I’m excited anyway. I got my first email follow-up for a job! They want to do a background check but have already forwarded my info along. Aparently so far they like me on paper.”

“Woot! woot!” yes, my mother and I both actually say this. I can hear the smile in her voice, “See you got this. Plus a background check, pshhh! You’ll pass with flying freaking colors lady.”

“I don’t know, I mean… what could be worse then a polygraph with a detecitive?” I say.

She hesitates for a moment and I know exactly where her brain went.

“Right, I suppose there was that psych test I had to take and then the meeting with the theripist afterwords who confirmed I don’t in fact have sex with dead people,” I manage to get this out deadpaned.

“Or with animals. No beastality in your background,” Mom says.

“You’re not a sex crazed freak, welcome to 911!” We both erupt in laughter.

The worst background check I’ve ever had to go through was to be a 911 dispatcher, or “Telecommunicator” as they are officially titled. The hiring processes alone was six months. But the tests and background checks were by far the most in-depth thing I’ve ever experienced.

Anyone else out there in the verse have to take a polygraph at some point? It was one of the worst exprinces. I don’t even have anything to hide. It’s going to sound downright heinous when I put this way but it’s true. A polygraph is like raping your mind. I have a friend who became a 911 dispatcher years after myself and I warned him about the dreaded polygraph. He was hired at my old com-center and didn’t actually have to take one. I was floored, apparently, they finally realized statistically how unreliable the information can be and they forwent the process. Fast forward a few years and he transferred com-centers. This time, they made him take a poly.

“Miranda, I know you said it was bad… but like… damn.”

“I know, right?”

“I wasn’t even trying to hide anything. But it was just so invasive.”

All I could do was nod along and let him process. I’d been there. There was no way you could convince me to do another job were taking a polygraph was part of the hiring process.

“I will never do that again.” He took the words out of my mouth.

The only thing that came close to being as invasive was a six-hundred question test that was supposed to help determine whether or not I’d be a good candidate to deal with the harsh realities of being a first responder. Except I swear more than half of the questions grossed me out and the other half I didn’t know how to answer with True or False being my only options.

Do you have sex with dead animals?  True / False — What the fuck?! False

Do you have sex with dead people?  True / False — What the actual fuck? Is this a real question??? False

Do you often think about being a girl?  True / False — Ummm…. I am a girl? True?

Do you often think about being a boy? True / False — Uhh… no? I mean, I thought it would be nice not to have periods but then I remembered they pay more for insurance. So.. False?

Do you think about touching dead animals? True / False — Vomit! That’s gross – False

Do you think about what it would be like to have breasts? True / False — Umm… I do have them. Uhhh… Maybe? I think about how big they are sometimes or how they get in the way… Does that count? – True.

You have had sex with dead people. True / False — Wait… didn’t I just answer this? FALSE!

You often think about cutting people up with knives True / False — Are we trying to suss out who the serial killer in the room is? What moron would say true? False.

I think you get the point. Six hundred freaking questions about my sanity. Then I met with a therapist to go over my results. “Ms. Levi, I see here you’ve never had sex with a dead person.”

“That would be overtly correct. I’ve never even wanted to touch a dead person. In fact, up until this point in my life, I’ve never even seen one up close. I’d like to keep it that way.”

“Hmmm,” he scratches chin. “Do you ever consider self-harm Ms. Levi.”

“Nope, I like living. It’s weird, I know. I enjoy breathing and I prefer not being hurt as crazy as that might sound.”

“Do you often use humor to deflect Ms. Levi?”

“Ha! Yes. I suppose that’s an accurate statement.”

He didn’t say as much, but I feel like that’s why I got the job. My ability to laugh in the face of morbidness.

When I became a teacher I went through another series of background checks. My prints were put into the system again. Didn’t even faze me. I knew I’d pass, and I did. I’ve already answered the background questions and I have not even an inkling of doubt about passing. I’m excited! Even if this particular job doesn’t pan out into anything, it still means I’m doing okay. It means that someone out there liked my resume and cover letter enough to forward it on to the next steps. Which means I have a good chance of someone giving me a shot. I’m embracing change, my friends. I’m taking it all in with a smile. Because I am the one thing in life I can control.

I got this!


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