The stress can be overwhelming, especially when performing undercover work. Agents must act like criminals in order to build cases against actual criminals. Psychologist Gary Farkus studies the psychological problems agents face, which includes anxiety, loneliness and isolation. Stress mounts when agents feel like the sacrifices they made going undercover did not result in enough convictions. It doesn’t help your mindset to set the bar too high. Not everyone can be Chuck Norris.
Not every ATF agent goes undercover, though roughly half of them do so at some point in their careers. Agents perform other activities such as making arrests, conducting surveillance, interviewing suspects, obtaining search warrants, looking for physical evidence, participating in raids, preparing case reports and brushing their teeth. Well, the “brushing your teeth” thing is just about everybody, but still… they do like to practice good hygiene.
Some ATF agents may find themselves working a regular 9-to-5 shift for most of their careers. It depends on their skills, what part of the job they personally want to pursue, and how the ATF needs to use them. If they decide you could be of best use as a hall monitor, ensuring that no one puts their mouth directly on the drinking fountain nozzle, they could relegate you to that duty. You would have the option to quit, of course, but it actually sounds like a fun gig. “Back AWAY from the FOUNTAIN!”