You go for a security clearance..
You go for a security clearance. It takes a lot longer than you expected, and you can’t do any kind of interesting work in the meantime, because you aren’t “cleared”. You do keep your chair warm, though.
Finally, you get your clearance. Finally, you get to see [REDACTED—CLASSIFIED] and [REDACTED—CLASSIFIED], and from time to time you even work with [REDACTED—CLASSIFIED]. But overall, it turns out that it is pretty boring, compared to all the trouble you went through to get the clearance. And you can never talk to your friends or family about what you do. And half the time you can’t even talk to your colleagues.
On the other hand, cleared work pays better.
Continue the cleared work.
Pursue work in the private sector.