An Interview with an Investigator
After graduating from a West Coast State University with a BA in Communication Theory, I accepted a marketing job that required extensive traveling. I was tested at your facility in Los Angeles after I had accepted this position. I hated the job and after three long years, I answered a blind newspaper advertisement, and was offered a position as a private investigator. While debating whether to accept the position, I reviewed the paperwork from the aptitude testing. I hadn’t looked at the test results in three years, but I pulled out the information, and the career listed after attorney was detective.
I was uncertain about accepting the position, as it meant I would be moving from a salaried white-collar position to an hourly job. I had accumulated over $30,000 in credit card debt (I shopped my way across America) on top of my car and student loans. I was drowning in debt. I decided to follow the suggested career path and within one year, I had doubled my income. I was able to pay off my debts and save enough money to purchase a townhouse within three years.
I loved the work. Private investigative agencies do not guarantee 40-hour workweeks, so I started looking for a more stable position. I landed, along with numerous co-workers, at a national firm. Within one year, I was selected as West Coast investigator of the year. Prior to starting at this company, I had applied for numerous positions within the state government. After interviewing several times, I was offered a dream job: as an Investigator, I investigated cases for referral to the City Attorney or District Attorney’s office for criminal prosecution. I started with the State in 2002 and in 2006, I was promoted to Supervising Special Investigator. I supervise a small staff and I’m able to continue working in the field as an investigator.
Q:Why did you go in for testing?
Teresa: I read an article in a woman’s magazine and I was intrigued. I had taken some career tests in High School and was told I should not go to college because my aptitude was that of a clerk. I had no idea what to do after I graduated from college.
Q: What were your impressions when being tested?
Teresa: I was nervous. I’m not smart in the traditional way. I think of myself more in the “clever” range. I think I was afraid you would agree that I would make a great clerk!
Q: What was your impression of the summary discussion session? Did anything in particular stand out?
Teresa: There were several funny things. The reviewer, when he reached the musical section, said I could play the radio or play the drums. That cracked me up because I’ve always thought I was tone deaf, as is most of my family. I play drums on Rock Band. He also told me that I probably shouldn’t consider becoming a surgeon because I’d cut right through the body. I have a poor sense of space as demonstrated by my test results from the wiggly block test. I wasn’t surprised that I had good finger dexterity.
Q: Did you learn anything new about yourself?
Teresa: Yes, that I was good at problem solving and critical thinking. I can see now how I would have been a good diplomat and probably a good government spy. I use my diplomacy skills in my current position. A co-worker described my job as “getting everyone to hum together.” That’s an accurate description. I was born a natural critic. That’s not a label I would have applied to myself, but I’m sure others have. I appreciate what I do well and give myself a break on those aptitudes that I am challenged by.
Q: Did the testing confirm some direction[s] you had contemplated, or offer other alternatives that you had not considered?
Teresa: Yes. In college, I thought about psychology but I lacked the confidence to follow that path. I wasn’t surprised when that was mentioned as a possible career. After college, I took the LSAT several times and thought about attending law school. I regretted not following that path especially when that was the first career mentioned. I had never considered a career as a detective, diplomat, or art critic.
Q: How often have you used this information to make decisions?
Teresa: The information helped me make the most important decision of my life. I’ve referred to the information over the years especially when I’ve thought about returning to college.
Q: Do you find that your hobbies and/or other activities outside of work mirror or use your aptitudes?
Teresa: Yes, to some degree. I’ve done needlework most of my life, although not so much over the last 5 years. I’m an avid gardener and I volunteer at a Botanical Garden. I play Rock Band drums, which is my new passion!
Q: Have you ever recommended our testing to anyone?
Teresa: I talk about the significance of the testing to anyone who will listen. I’ve happily been an investigator for over 20 years. I owe my happiness to your wonderful work, which directed me to a career that I would never have considered had it not been recommended. Thank you seems inadequate, especially when you are talking about something as important as a career.
People ask me how I became an investigator and I tell them about your organization as well as how happy I’ve been following my aptitudes. I think everyone who wants to follow their bliss, at any age, would benefit from your assessment. I still review the test results and with age, I can even say I would have made a good diplomat and probably a great spy. I think your testing should be part of every high school senior’s life. Knowing my aptitudes has helped me go boldly, with confidence, into a world I never could have imagined.