Before we begin the story..
If you have followed me for a while you know that my objectives in the investigative industry have changed temporarily due to my family situation over the past few years. We don’t have daycare for my children and my wife and I work our schedules out to make sure the kids can get to and from school. With that being said over the past two years I have been more focused on SIU work and interviews then I have with surveillance cases. I fit in my SIU work while the kids are at school and I am back before they get out of school. My availability is not wide open as it once was before due to an awkward schedule.
Though it has been hectic to manage schedules it has worked for our family and I am sure it will change as the kids get older.
So that brings me to this story.
In the later part of 2015 my work load got slow. And it wasn’t just my business but the company I work part-time for also got slow. Like any normal human being I started panicking and jumped back on Monster.com and Careerbuilder and updated my resume. I then started applying for Claims Adjusters positions, Field Adjuster positions, and Field Investigator positions with investigation companies. And though I went through the hiring processes with a company or two one interview really stuck out in my mind which I want to share.
I applied for an investigation company on a Friday and received an email from the owner of the company Saturday morning. The company wasn’t quite nationwide but was regionally big.
The email was brief and asked me why I wanted to leave the company I was working for.
I responded by saying, “I don’t want to leave but there is not enough SIU work to keep me busy.”
The owner responded by saying, “Please define SIU work that you are not getting enough of. What is your core investigative strength? Are you a subcontractor or employee. Are you looking for a sub-contracting job or to become an employee? Do you have a non-compete agreement with the company you work for? Do you currently work cases of your own in addition case work for the other company? Why did you leave XXXX company after only a few months? (the company names were taken out)
Pause here for a moment. I have had a few interviews over the course of my investigative career but never like this over email. What is funny is that these are the exact type of questions that I would asked someone. It was interesting to be on the other side of my interview style though I would much rather have spoken with him about this stuff than to email about it trying to articulate my career. I digress.
I responded saying the following:
“Up until the last month or so I was working 25 to 30 hours with the company conducting recorded interviews, comprehensive interviews, contestable death interviews, alive and well checks, scene photos, etc, and occasionally I would work a surveillance. I do have my own business … I continue to be an employee of the company.
For the first 7 or so years of my career in this industry I primarily worked surveillance and recorded interviews were sprinkled in throughout each year. This company needed someone dedicated to SIU work and I needed more flexibility in my schedule so the past couple of years I have almost only worked all SIU related files. I can work surveillance and SIU work equally well.
I don’t have a problem being an employee or doing sub-contracting work. I don’t recall if I have a non-compete with. I work with 2 other investigators in Washington and we all have our own businesses while working for the company. This company is aware that I have my own business and they are aware that I work as a subcontractor as well.
I left the other company, XXXX because they were not giving me any work.”
The company owner responded with, “Thanks. What happened last month. Were you let go? If so why.”
I responded by writing, “I continue to be employed with the company The SIU work has dropped off dramatically in the past month nationwide and I don’t know whether it is a seasonal thing or not and I need to work. If you need references I can provide those to you.
If you don’t mind me asking, what type of employee are you looking for? Is it part-time, full-time, or subcontractor? Are you looking for someone who does surveillance only, SIU only or both?”
At this point I was a bit frustrated because the owner was not paying attention. I understood that he was just doing his due diligence.
Before I could just ask to speak with him he called me.
I told the owner of my experience and the type of work I was looking for. The owner stated he was not looking for an SIU investigator and was looking for surveillance investigator that could be anywhere at a moment’s notice.
I explained to the owner that I use to be the surveillance investigator that could be anywhere at a moment’s notice but I was in a different place now with children and I wasn’t that guy anymore as my wife was not ok with that.
He asked how old my children were and he stated he didn’t blame me as those were great ages and I shouldn’t miss those years.
He said that even though he was the owner of the company he still worked in the field and expected anyone working surveillance to be available at a moment’s notice.
I told him I completely understood where he was coming from as I would have expected the same.
He told me that if I could be that be the surveillance investigator that he needed that I could give him a call.
I thanked him for his time and appreciated the opportunity.
A Week After the Interview….
A week after the interview work for my business and the company I worked for picked up and things went back to normal.
The reason I wanted to share this with you is because I want you to know it is ok to turn down a job that doesn’t fit your family structure. I talked with my wife about it and we agreed that working at that company at this time in our lives would not have been a good thing. This was my situation and a decision I had to make.
The type of investigator the owner of the company was looking for is what most companies are looking for in the insurance investigation industry. If you are new to the investigation industry this is probably an opportunity you should jump on if you can.
I am just in a different phase in my career. And this type of investigation job (surveillance, traveling and leaving at a moments notice) might not be a good fit for you either. There are other types of investigation jobs out there that have more predictable schedules.