The lives that investigators lead are often juxtaposed to the idea of what our lives are like. In reality, we’re pretty normal with the typical smattering of jerks, whiners, dopes, geniuses, altruists, philanthropists, and shady types that you would see in any industry.
I don’t own a trench coat or one of those big magnifying glasses… though I may get the latter. My days are filled with getting my kids to their activities and appointments, housework, and sending funny cat memes to friends over social media. My day planner has things like “grocery shop” and “pay bills.” I bowl on Saturdays, church on Sundays, and even take classes and read books when I remember.
I bowl on Saturdays, church on Sundays, and even take classes and read books when I remember.
The biggest difference between me and most of my friends is that I routinely have to beg out of events at the last minute. This leaves my husband with the kids, often at other peoples’ houses, sitting around the table talking about gluten allergies with the “crunchy moms” while I’m off someplace staring at a door or car, waiting for something to happen.
The ladies think he’s a gem, and he is. We often exchange texts throughout my “work day.” Usually, they consist of me complaining that I have to go to the bathroom again and him complaining that one of the kids is still doing school work or the dog ate something he shouldn’t. More recently, he’s befriended one of the cats, so I get a lot of cat selfies. He’s really the best husband ever and you all should be jealous.
The other big difference is that outside a very small circle of friends, we don’t tell people what I do. When I led the church youth program, a couple parents got wind of my profession and pulled their children without explanation. I only found out after their kids told my kids. That was an eye opener for us.
For people who have secrets or have had a bad experience with another investigator, it instantly puts a bad taste in their mouths. The perception of this job is that we set out to discover other people’s secrets. That does happen, but more than that, our goal and our mission is to bring people peace. We’ve helped recover children in parent abductions. We’ve investigated and revitalized long cold murder/abduction cases. We’ve gathered the evidence necessary to reunite non-custodial parents with their children after rash court decisions endangered them. We’ve gathered the evidence to keep children away from non-custodial parents who were criminals when the guardians’ ad-litem weren’t looking. Really, that’s only the tip of the iceberg, we’re pretty busy folks.
This life isn’t glorious or fancy, but it’s brighter and happier than most people think. Admittedly, the perception of us hurts and the ugliness we encounter in aspects of our job can be horrific, but nothing beats the Christmas card from a child that says “Thanks for helping me live with my daddy. This is the best Christmas.” That’s what makes the life of a PI worthwhile.
… “Thanks for helping me live with my daddy. This is the best Christmas.” That’s what makes the life of a PI worthwhile.
Kim is Lead Investigator at the Hampton Roads office of Morse Investigation Services, and Operations Manager for the Virginia Region.