The life of a private eye is fascinating. Even just watching true crime shows and movies actively engage one's curiosity and critical thinking.
Hollywood has also glamorized this job that more and more people are becoming interested in this job. According to the U.S. government's Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there will be 21% more people in this field by 2020.
If you're looking to be part of these statistics, here are some ways to pique your interest in the private investigation field.
Mystery books and novels
As children, we're introduced to Nancy Drew, and in our young brains are intrigued by what leads she finds next and what she's about to uncover. The effects of reading transcend more than just piquing one's interest.
Studies show that reading books triggers the imagination and increases empathy–two traits needed by a private eye. PIs need to be imaginative and creative to track down or picture out what the suspects were doing during the crime. They should also be able to put themselves in the shoes of the suspects to get into their psychology and eventually figure them out.
True crime documentaries and shows
Crime shows engage one's curiosity and critical thinking in trying to figure out how the story unravels. According to a professor, true crime shows are especially intriguing to humans because it "offers us a glimpse into the deviant parts of the human psyche." The audience wants to understand why serial killers do what they do, but this curiosity is fear-driven.
Documentaries also show interviews with witnesses and other people involved in the investigation. This is an effective avenue to practice paying attention to body language, shifts in tone, and other signifiers that the person is not telling the truth.
A good PI should have top-tier research skills. They spend their days looking at the evidence, government, and personal documents and delving into leads. Research fills in the gaps of the investigation as this is where vital information is derived to push the case forward.
Michael Miller, a private eye, shares in his interview that the internet has made research easier for his job. Back then, they had to go through physical files from A-Z. Now, they use a database and algorithms to locate important files. Social media and Google has also helped them know more about the people they investigate as more personal information can be accessed via internet profiles.
This is how important research is in this particular field, especially because an assessment of the person's profile is crucial to the investigation.
What it takes to be a PI
It's a 9-to-5 job that requires 40 hours at work as well. However, it's a more flexible type of work because not all cases are the same. Some cases require them to be on their feet all day while some need them to be in front of the computer screen overnight.
While a college degree is not necessary to become a private eye, those who have degrees are more likely to get hired by firms. The training that comes with real-life work is the best way to gain experience and also earn a license. On the other hand, there are private investigator training programs that can be taken.
Before going into this scene, it's best to weigh your decision because this job tends to become a matter of life-and-death.