By “not chasing money to pursue happiness", Bobby Chacon has been living his perfect DreamJob. A retired FBI Special Agent, he is currently the Technical Advisor on Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, and living in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil when not on set.
Read on to learn all about his journey!
Hi Bobby! Can you give us a little background on your time with the FBI and how that has led to your current career?
I had two or three major parts to my 27 years as an FBI Special Agent.
First was criminal investigations of the Italian Mafia and violent Jamaican drug gangs in New York City. I did this for about 14 years. Then there was the underwater forensics which overlapped a little with my criminal investigations, but I essentially was the first full time diver in FBI history and still the only FBI Agent even to be the Senior Team Leader on two of the FBI's four dive teams. I setup, under the direction of the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, the FBI's national underwater crime scene/forensics program which now consists of four FBI Dive Teams, New York (the original team), Washington, DC, Miami and Los Angeles. These four teams cover the entire globe for the FBI. I was an FBI diver from 1995 until I retired in 2014. Also there were several smaller parts of my career which included counter terrorism, crisis management, security at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics and the 2004 Athens Greece Summer Olympics (I lived in Greece for almost a year). Tours of duty in Iraq in both 2005 and 2006.
So much of my work exposed me to the world of investigations and forensics (I am forensically trained by the FBI Laboratory) and since I did a fair share of work overseas, all these things prepared me for my current career as the Technical Advisor on the television show Criminal Minds Beyond Borders. What is different about our show from the original Criminal Minds is that our team of FBI profilers (led by Gary Sinise) goes to a different country in every episode. My overseas experience plays to that very well.
What do you love most about your career right now?
The thing I like best about my career right now is that I work with a group of highly creative people who really want to portray the FBI as accurately as possible given the constraints of a one hour television drama. The crew are super talented, the writers/producers are extremely creative and the cast/actors are dedicated to showing their characters in the most accurate light as possible.
Has your feeling around your career changed over time? Have you always wanted to do what you are doing now?
I have been writing for several years but only for myself and mainly as a therapeutic exercise. But somewhere in the back of my mind I always wanted to use my experiences to tell stories that people would find interesting and entertaining. I hope to break into the writing field eventually (or very soon actually).
Were there any lessons learned from mistakes you have made over your life? How has that helped you shape your career today?
I am constantly making mistakes and always learning from them. I am never afraid of making mistakes because they usually teach me more about myself then my successes. I always reflect on my mistakes and let them shape my decision making in the future.
What is the best piece of career advice you have heard? Do you have any advice for our readers on finding their ideal career or dream job?
The best career advice I ever got was from my Dad when, after graduating law school I was trying to decide whether to become a practicing lawyer in NYC or join the FBI. My Dad urged me not to chase the money but to pursue the happiness, find the career/work that you will enjoy and the happiness it brings will be worth more than any amount of money.
My advice is go after a career that will make you happy, whatever that happiness is for you. It is different for every person so each one must decide that for themselves. But once they know what that is, pursue it with wreckless abandon. Don't let others (or rejection) discourage you, keep pushing. Persistence is the key. Outlast your competition. Do everything you can to prepare for the work and make it impossible to ignore you, make them have to hire you because you are the best person prepared to do that job.
I am writing my memoir about my FBI career as well as a screenplay for a feature film based on an actual mission I did in Iraq for the FBI and US military. I have some other writing projects as well and my current dream job would be to become a writer on Criminal Minds Beyond Borders (I am following my own advice above on that one !)