My Education: BS-SUNY Brockport, MS-Boston University
My Prior Experience: I worked for the airline industry for 16 years. After 9/11, I wanted to do something to help protect my country. I decided to change careers and worked for the FBI in Counter-terrorism for many years. I then decided to semi-retire with my husband (who retired from being a Border Patrol agent) and work as a background investigator. I work in California in the winter, and in NY in the summer.
My Company: I work for a government contractor
Job/Career Overview: I assist the US Government in performing background investigations for people needing security clearances. There are many different levels of security clearances required for various positions or jobs. For example, for people who serve in the US military, often times they need to obtain security clearances in order to perform their job duties. This allows them to view and work with "classified" or "secret" material.
An example of this for a military position, might involve troop movements or logistics. This information would be "classified" as we would not want our enemy to know where our troops are, or where they are moving to. So, in order to work in this position, you might need a security clearance. In order to obtain this clearance, the US government checks into a person's background to see what kind of person they are. Are they a good worker? Can they keep secrets? Have they been arrested? Are they involved in illegal activities? By checking into a person's background, the US government takes in all of the information and history about an individual, to make a final decision as to whether or not this person should get a security clearance.
On an average day, I interview people to obtain information. Sometimes I interview the person getting the security clearance. Sometimes I interview their friends or co-workers. Sometimes I go to the courthouse and obtain arrest records or arrest details, if the person has ever been arrested or involved in any court or law issue. I also go to colleges or high schools and interview former teachers, classmates or counselors.
More Insights: What surprises me most about my job, is often times people think telling a lie is better than telling the truth. It is definitely not. Most times, telling a lie has worst consequences then owning up to whatever the situation is.
If I had a chance to relive my career path, I would have probably entered into the military right out of college, or tried to attend a military academy like West Point or the Air Force Academy. I would have like to have been an FBI agent - I did not understand that being an FBI agent involved a lot more intelligence gathering and investigation than being a police officer. I never wanted to be a police officer, but to me and FBI agent can make a difference in the world, and not have to be out on the streets everyday. If you like analyzing pieces of a situation, and trying to understand how those pieces fit together, than this is a career to consider. The hardest thing is knowing that some people lie, and it's hard to detect sometimes when people are lying.
I rate this career 10 out of 10.
Best part is meeting different types of people.
Worst part is having to explain everything about someone's life can be very long and tedious.
Remember that everything you do, every decision you make (good and bad) can have consequences. If you hope to enter into the military, or have a career in law enforcement, it is important to maintain a clean record. By clean I don't mean that everyone has to like you, I mean that most people around you see you as someone who tries hard, has a good attitude and stays pretty much out of trouble.