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People Who’ve Done Top Secret Work Finally Divulge What They Were Working On

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Most of us will work a fairly wide variety of jobs over the course of our lives, and some of us walk away with some pretty interesting stories while trying to pay the bills.

The most fascinating jobs, though, have to be the ones that we’re not supposed to talk about.

Redditor Charcoals7 asked: 

“People who did super-secret work, what is something you can share now that you couldn’t before?”

Some had worked with dermatologists and plastic surgeons.

“Interned for a plastic surgeon who is very well known and does work on celebs. They sold their skincare line for hundreds of dollars and touted it as having highly advanced ingredients of the highest quality.”

“They bought most of it from a wholesale retailer who stuck their name on the bottle. The website looked sketchy tbh (to be honest).”

“They also had ’24k gold face masks’ that were purchased in bundles off of Amazon for cheap.”

“These fancy skincare lines are such a scam, don’t waste your money.”monkeylioness

“Dermatologists do this too.”

‘A lot, if not all, don’t really formulate their own products. They buy it in bulk at a discounted price from pharma sales reps, repackage, and mark up by a ridiculous percentage.”streakfolmlore

Others had experience with security.

“Friend had to get heaps of security clearance at one of his first jobs. Inventory reporting that fed into customs databases.”

“I had to speak to an FBI agent as part of his background check and the job really just amounts to tallying information almost like tick sheets.”tdasnowman

“Worked at an engineering department at a university that had an aviation engine testing shop. We got military surplus stuff all the time through industry agreements.”

“Some stuff that got dropped off were cruise missile engines with pretty advanced thrust vectoring and some stealthy design features.”

“All the aviation geeks were like, ‘We didn’t know that those missiles had that on them.'”

“Then some serious-looking men came to the department and took them back, and kindly reminded us not to talk about whatever it was we thought we saw but actually didn’t see because it had never happened.”

“I saw some of it published a few years ago in the open so I figure I’m good.”gunmedic15

“My grandpa worked for the NSA. Had to say he answered phones his entire life.”

“Went to the DC Spy Museum and they had his career on display. Wild. He cried a lot.”EepEekim

A few challenged the history books. 

“Dad (died 2016) was in the Navy and on one of the ships in the blockade that was part of the Cuban Missile Crisis. The official story is that no American ship fired any shots.”

“A few months before he died, Dad said his ship was one of several that fired shots.”xkulp8

“During the 1982 Falklands conflict, it was spread on the news that several British submarines were in the area, and this is likely what deterred the Argentine carrier Vientecinco de mayo from engaging the British fleet.”

“My father was a submariner at the time (didn’t go down there). When he was in the bar on base back home, it was announced on the radio that a certain British submarine was in the area. 

“The guy next to him said, ‘I hope not, I just walked off it an hour ago.'”

“Basically pulled the same trick the Royal Navy used against the Graf Spee in 1939.”EmperorOfNipples

There were gamers in the mix. 

“I was a QA tester on Half Life 2. At the time it operated under multiple code names outside of the main testing room: the two I remember was Red Rooster and Dirty Butler.”

“Security was INSANE. They had us in a small corner office with PCs and draped-out windows. Our lead kept the office locked at all times, and when we got into work each day we had to hand over all bags, cell phones, and any storage media we had.”

“If I recall, screenshots were only allowed with permission, and had to be sent in an email to the lead, then scrubbed from the computer.”

‘This was also during the time Vivendi Universal Games (where I worked) was having tensions with Valve over the whole Steam thing, so for a while, it didn’t seem like we’d get credited either: we eventually did, but only on Gamasutra.”

“The entire team got printed shirts that read, ‘I survived Red Rooster,’ and I’ve still got mine kicking around. It’s itchy, thick, and uncomfortable to wear, but I refuse to get rid of it, since it’s a memento I’m fairly proud of.”PatienceHero

“I worked at a printing company that made Magic The Gathering cards. It was insane.”

“There’s nothing quite like seeing uncut sheets of foil mythic rares stacked in a block 4 feet high 8 months before release.”

“I wasn’t allowed to play in tournaments during my tenure there and I had to sign an NDA.”feverishdodo

“I worked similarly at Hasbro, the parent company for Wizards of the Coast which owns Magic and I was given a free uncut press sheet of Japanese Rise of Eldrazi foil mythic rares. They also gave me a full set of the employee-only holiday cards and a bunch of other stuff.”

“Basically one of the higher-ups found out that I loved Magic and made a call to get a huge package of free stuff sent to me. I barely knew the guy but it was such an incredible thing to do that my whole department came out to watch me open the stuff.”

‘It’s one of my most cherished memories honestly.”

‘It makes sense though that a company made up largely of adults who love toys and games would retain that childlike spark of just wanting to give your friend a gift to make them happy, no strings attached.”

“If anyone here reads this and gets the chance to work for Hasbro, I can’t recommend it enough, TAKE THAT JOB!”

“I wish I still had the press sheet, but life gets in the way sometimes and I had to sell it along with all the other rare cards I had to make sure my wife and I could survive. I miss them, but making sure my wife felt a little more secure that month about money was easily worth all of my cards.”Itsfitzgames

There were wholesome secrets, too.

“Still secret: Sometimes I warn my dad about certain things and tell him how to react/ what to do (dad has autism so he can’t keep the truth from his expression) for my mom’s sake.”

“For example, my mom is older and got a shorter haircut and talked about how worried she was to show my dad because she knows he doesn’t like shorter hair on women.”

“I texted him to warn him and tell him to just smile and say it’s nice, DONT tell her you like it longer.”

“The next day, my mom couldn’t stop looking in the mirror because my dad said he really liked her haircut.”

“She doesn’t know it’s because I warn him about things and she will never know.”

“I love my dad but he is horrible at lying with his facial expressions. Same as instructing him to order flowers and a gift for my mom to send to grandma’s house for Valentine’s Day because she was visiting her mom and would be away.”CorruptManatee

Some secrets are less interesting than the fact they were made to be kept secret at one point, but every once in a while, a person finds a gem.

The ones that make us question something basic about our lives, or that remind us to be thankful?

Those are the best kinds of secrets.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.