" I can't help saying it, I love the job I do. Even when spending weeks sitting in North London every day on surveillance it is brightened by the adrenalin that surges when someone suddenly emerges and jumps into a taxi, tempered by a few seconds of panic when you try to find one yourself! (actually training and technique helps - with a bit of practice and forcefulness it's quite straightforward to be in one before the event). Writing a report afterwards is an essential part of any assignment too, and while, yes, that part is a bit of drudgery you do often catch yourself smiling when you remember some of the things that happen"
"For a lot of people, think of a Private Eye and the image that comes to mind is some old guy in a trenchcoat. OK, I am young, and I am female - perhaps not what you would expect a PI to look like, but isn't that the point? I get trusted by people who don't see me as a threat, leaving me clear to get a good result for our clients, who trust me, and that trust is very rewarding, especially when it is a discreet and confidential matter that needs sensitive handling. Not only do Answers have a non-discriminatory policy, they practice it, which, in the real world is quite rare."
Looking my age has it's drawbacks, though. One of them is my photograph being used to illustrate some of the Challenge 25 and Challenge 21 posters that the company supply to pubs, shops and stores free of charge. Of course, I get ID'd myself in the natural course of socialising but it is amusing to show my driving licence while pointing at the Challenge 21 poster with my pic on it on the pub wall. Some stores are ridiculous - while checking whether stores will ask for ID on behalf of their employer I have dressed in school uniform costume and had a bottle of wine shoved at me at 4.00 p.m. on a Wednesday afternoon without the cashier thinking to check. It's for just that reason that our Challenge 25 programme is kept so busy
"In another case we needed to get information from someone about how long they had lived somewhere, what cars they owned etc. It was thought that he had lied when declaring this information 'officially'. Marnie and I called at the guy's house, looking like college kids, and asked him to do a survey. We told no lies, but in amongst our 25 or so survey questions were 6 or 7 that were the real ones. It is straightforward - he wanted to boast, a human weakness, and he did, telling us the truth as opposed to the apparent untruths on what he had declared. As a result he was ordered to return more than £70,000 that he had misappropriated, all because he saw us as above suspicion"
People are fascinated by the job I do. Once a week or so we will be invited to some business social club and asked to stand up and talk to the members about being a private investigator. It raises quite a few eyebrows when they are presented to by me in the company of one of my colleagues. While the presentations we do take perhaps 20 minutes to deliver it is not uncommon for the Question and Answer session to go on for an hour. I have also spoken on the radio, been interviewed by magazines and the BBC News and there is the threat of a documentary TV series on BBC3 on the subject of teenage detectives
At the time of writing I am now studying for my degree but still mixing study and working as a Private Detective. While I have worked full-time in the past I have tempered this with travelling to Australia, the Far East and Europe. Many of the undergraduates I study with have part-time jobs while they study - but I don't know anyone with a job that matches mine!