This is the season of advice on how to get a job and how to get ahead in the job you already have.
Here are three tips from the files of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Foster an enigmatic image. Cultivate an aura of mystery. Always project great confidence.
According to The Washington Post, that facade worked for then-senior EPA official John C. Beale, 64, for 12 years, right until the moment it didn’t. Now he is facing up to three years in prison for allegedly taking nearly $900,000 in pay and bonuses from the agency that he didn’t earn and didn’t deserve.
Starting about 12 years ago, he began taking long absences, telling his bosses that he was engaged in important work for top-secret agencies, including the CIA.
Apparently what he was engaged in was extended vacations – in China, South Africa and England – something his trusting, not to say gullible, bosses never checked.
Apparently at one time he was pretty good at his job – when he bothered to do it. He has a master’s from Princeton, and, according to The Post, was “intimately involved” in the 1990 reauthorization of the Clean Air Act, and coordinated climate-change activities at a senior level during the George W. Bush administration.
Toward the end of his career, he was a senior policy adviser in the Office of Air and Radiation, making you wonder what effect the work he didn’t do will have on the rest of us.
Further career-shortening advice is expected to be forthcoming Monday when he goes before a Washington, D.C., district court to learn his fate. Maybe a confident air of enigmatic mystery will help.