Straight from Law School to GCHQ? How did that happen?!
To be honest, I was in debt and needed to find a job. GCHQ was advertising for
language specialists, I spoke Bengali, so I thought "why not?"
So you didn't know much about GCHQ before you joined?
I'm from the Cheltenham area so I've known about GCHQ all my life, but never thought I'd end up working here.
What were your first impressions?
I was surprised by how friendly everyone was! I suppose I was expecting people to be a bit reserved and serious given the job they did. And I know this sounds cheesy, but there was also a real sense of a mission. Everyone's here to keep Britain safe. That's the bottom line.
You genuinely feel that the work you've done has helped save lives?
Absolutely. I've worked with other countries on investigations that have disrupted terrorist plots.
Why move from languages to event management? That's a bit of a weird jump, isn't it?
Yes, but I don't think I've ever had a set idea of what I wanted to do. I was in operations and languages for years and then I thought I want to do something different. That's the beauty of working here. Who knows, my next post could be something completely different and unrelated. Keeps you on your toes I suppose.
Funniest moment on a VIP visit you've help organised?
It was when Prince Charles made a bee-line to talk to me and a few other people and I couldn't figure out in my head whether to shake hands or curtsy or what to do and when he asked me a question I just giggled!
How would you describe working at GCHQ in three words?
Exciting, fulfilling and balanced. Or maybe it should be work-life-balance.
Yeah. It's AWESOME – I love flexi. I get in early, get out the door just after 4pm and I don't take work home with me, which is the best thing. I've also gone to other countries for work and tagged on a week's holiday whilst I was out there.
How much do your family and friends know about what you do?
They know where I work, not what I do at work. But who talks about work when you're socialising anyway?
So it never comes up in conversation?
Of course. If someone asks where I work, I'll tell them I work at GCHQ. 99% of the time no one pries any further. The usual response is: "Oooh! OK, say no more!"
Hardest question last – Strictly or Bake Off?
Ha! I couldn't possibly choose – I love being a sofa judge. I never miss an episode of Strictly! But with Bake off I will catch up with the episode I miss.