There was an article written last year that asked the question, “What do you tell people you do for a living?” It was private investigator focused and I thought it was an interesting topic. I thought it would be beneficial to answer the question in my own blog.
A mother of a friend of mine showed me a certificate of how she had passed a private investigation course and was going to be a private investigator. To be honest back then I didn’t think private investigation was a real job let alone a career. I actually felt bad for the woman at the time because I thought she had wasted her money on a course for knowledge she would never be able to use.
What I Used to Think and Say About Being a Private Investigator
I used to be the coolest guy (in my head). People would ask what I do for a living and I would say, “ I am a private investigator.” By saying I was a private investigator the door would be opened for discussion on some of the things I did daily. I was able to talk about some of the cool surveillance stories (and I remembered every one of them for about a year or two). I couldn’t wait for people to ask me what I did for a living. I had the coolest job ever. Not many people can say they work as a private investigator for a living.
I had coworkers that didn’t respond in the same way. Some coworkers played it down or tried to call what they did something else. They would just say they were an investigator, insurance investigator, or they worked in the insurance industry. I think to some degree they were embarrassed to use the word “Private Investigator”.
How I Explain my Job to my Kids
I think one of the most difficult things has been to explain to my young children what I do for a living. To make it easier to understand I told my son and daughter that I watched and videotaped people without them knowing all day. At night my daughter would pray that I would be invisible to the people I was watching.
That explanation was fine and dandy until my daughter’s teacher asked her what her dad did for a living. She explained that I spied on people and videotaped them. My daughter came home that day and told me what she told her teacher and I was mortified.
A month or so later we attended a parent teacher’s conference. We brought up the discussion of my job and I explained my job in detail. We all had a big laugh at how my daughter described my job. The teacher admitted she was a bit worried as to what my daughter had told her originally. It was quite funny.
My son’s teacher asked me what I did for a living this year. I explained I was a private investigator and I mostly just conducted surveillance. I played down the job and explained that I didn’t want her to get the wrong impression if my son decided to tell her I spied on people all day.
How I Tell People I am a Private Investigator Now
The thrill is gone for me in this job. That is to say I don’t get the adrenaline rush every time I followed someone from one destination to another. I can barely remember a surveillance case for a couple of months ago which is drastically different from when I first started this job.
I don’t think I am the coolest guy because of what I do for a living anymore. Most of my life is spent sitting in a car and getting video of people. I am good at what I do but it doesn’t have the excitement it once did. I think the excitement of many jobs fade eventually.
So when people ask me what I do for a living I tell them I am a private investigator. Their response is typically something to the effect of how it sounds like an interesting and exciting job. I typically respond by saying, “Not after doing it for 10 years.” If they ask about it anymore I just explain that I investigate claims in the insurance industry. I don’t play the job up anymore than what it really is.
I think from the outside looking in the job sounds exiting and mysterious. Movies and fiction have made the job of a private investigator sound much cooler then I think it is. We are information gatherers. Some are better and gathering and locating information then others are.
If you’re a private investigator, how do you explain what you do? Has how you feel about the job changed since you first began? Comment below.