In this recurring column, Not Your Typical Gig, we interview men with out-of-the-box careers to get a glimpse of what goes on behind-the-scenes of their unusual jobs.
NAME: Olivier Farache
CITY: Los Angeles
COMPANY: Federal Bureau of Investigation (retired)
How long did you have the gig for?
How did you get into this line of work?
It was always a dream of mine since I visited FBI Headquarters when I was eight. There was a running count of violent crimes committed in the US and I told my mom I had to stop it from going up, and that one day I would be an FBI agent. The day after I became a US citizen I submitted my application.
What kind of skill set is needed to break into this line of work?
An analytical mind, flexibility, and being in decent physical condition.
What did your day to day look like? From the time you woke up.
The beauty of being an agent is that there is no typical day. Some days you have to be up at 5 am briefing for an arrest or search warrant. Some days I have to put on a suit and go testify in court. Other days it’s waiting for a bank to be robbed or doing surveillance all night on a suspected terrorist.
How many months out of the year did you work?
What is the most exciting, possibly dangerous part of the job?
Any time you go arrest someone you never know what’s waiting for you on the other side of the door. It’s exciting but you have to be on your toes. Your life and that of your teammates depend on it.
Favorite part of the job?
I worked as part of the behavioral analysis unit—think of Clarice Starling in Silence of the Lambs. Sitting down and understanding a serial killer, tracking him down; that was my favorite part of the job by far.
Least favorite part of the job?
Paperwork. The word bureaucracy can’t be spelled without “bureau.” Every fun hour in the field is followed by three hours typing at a computer.
When you watch movies about the FBI, do you pick them apart? In your opinion, which are the least accurate?
I can’t watch an FBI movie without analyzing it frame by frame. I’ve consulted for TV and movies since leaving the FBI and that has only made my pickiness worse! Most accurate: Patriots Day, The Town, and Black Mass. The Silence of the Lambs is one of my favorites even though it’s very unrealistic (but filmed at the Academy, which is very rare). Least accurate: Sicario and Point Break (but both great movies!)
Please tell us about a moment that made you love your job even more?
Arresting Whitey Bulger after 16 years on the run. We made small talk on the way to the jail and he told me how much he hated the movie The Departed— ”It’s junk I tell you, junk!”
Are there aspects of the job that made you think—this is crazy, why am I doing this?
Having an AK-47 pointed at my partner and me while working gang homicides as part of an LAPD task force. Seeing the worst of humanity while working violent crimes against children. But it was always tempered by knowing I was helping someone in need.
What does the job require you to wear?
Usually a nice suit. I really like the Theory stretch as it moves well with you if you have to run and it keeps you cool. Comfortable shoes—I really like Gordon Rush and Bruno Magli with rubber soles. Sunglasses are a must! Any variation on an aviator—I like Garrett Leight.
What essentials does the job require?
Definitely need sunscreen and bug spray; you never know when you’ll need to be outside for several hours. Hand sanitizer and rubber gloves…I have had to look through dumpsters much more than I ever imagined.