Undisclosed Careers

Nancy Drew. Sherlock Holmes. Magnum P.I. These are the television characters that I was fascinated with growing up. I was intrigued by the way they solved mysteries and contemplated becoming a private investigator at one point because I felt it would be an exciting job to have. If you have a love for mysteries and consider yourself to be somewhat of a sleuth, then there are several undisclosed careers to choose from.

Criminal justice is the study of the causes, consequences and control of crime. Like other new and developing fields, criminal justice draws from a number of different disciplines, including psychology, public administration, philosophy, political science, sociology and law.

Private Investigator

A criminal justice degree is well-suited to someone who might like to work as a private investigator.

They may work for individuals or businesses to find and uncover information. Typically it relates to information about financials, personal matters or legal matters. There are many specialties that a private investigator can pursue including that of a computer forensic investigator, legal investigator, corporate investigator and financial investigator.

Some private investigators have years of police experience and take that experience to retail stores and hotels where they help with loss prevention from shoplifters, employee theft, and vendor theft.

Depending on the specialty one is interested in, while there is no formal education requirement for a general private detective, those aspiring to work in a more specialized field have pursued postsecondary degrees in the related field.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment is projected to increase by 22 percent for the 2008-2018 decade. This is attributed to increased demand for identity theft, security concerns, increased lawsuits and litigation, and employee background checks plus the proliferation of financial fraud activities and corporate espionage.

The median wage of a salaried private detective and investigator was $41,760 in May 2008 with the highest ten percent earning more than $76,640.

Secret Service

The United States Secret Service is one of the nation’s oldest federal investigative law enforcement agencies. Those who are part of the Secret Service primarily provide protection for the president and vice president of the Untied States, their families, former presidents and visiting heads of states and governments.

We have all seen the dark suit and sun glassed agents whenever the President or other high level government official makes a public appearance. But did you know that they are also responsible for investigating crimes against our financial infrastructure. In fact, the original purpose of this agency was to combat counterfeiting of U.S. currency which was an enormous problem after the Civil War.

To apply, you will need to have a four year college degree or a combination of education and criminal investigative experience, be in good physical condition and have no criminal record. All new agents attend an 11 week training course followed by an additional 16 weeks of training in Washington, D.C. for all agents and officers.

The median salary for a secret service agent depends on the grade level they are hired at. Most start at the GL-7 or GL-9 level which has an average starting salary of $43,964- $74,891.

Undercover Officer

For police officers who thrive on the risk of the job, one of the more dangerous roles is that of an undercover officer. In this position, the primary responsibility is to obtain enough information that will lead to prosecution. This may involve drugs, contraband or a crime ring and other illicit activities.

Some operations may last three months; others years depending on the scope of the criminal activity and the safety of the undercover officer. Many undercover officers have worked in the police field and movie into this role with on-the-job training and perhaps courses in criminal law and procedure.

Many undercover officers are selected because they have a certain look or fit the mold of the specific assignment which may require an ethnic looking agent, female agent or someone with foreign language skills. The more civilian looking may be the better as undercover agents who act and look too much like a police officer may not be able to infiltrate a drug or crime ring in a convincing manner.

While the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not separate out employment projections for this specific job as undercover officers are typically selected from current police officers or new recruits, the overall employment of police and detectives is expected to grow 10 percent over the 2008–18 decade.

According to Simplyhired.com, the average salary of an undercover police officer is $41,000. Average undercover police officer salaries can vary greatly due to company, location, industry, experience and benefits.

These are some of the specializations that individuals interested in an undercover role may pursue.…

For the Times, They are a Changing

“For the times, they are a changing.” This Bob Dylan song title is only meant to reflect how quickly our times have changed with the advent of technology and a global economy. Jobs that existed for decades have become obsolete. But in its place, new jobs have been created as have new opportunities.

It is important to note that there are successful companies that started in uncertain times. In fact, some of the best ideas for a company often arise out of a bad economy. Some of the most successful companies have been started during economic downturns. Examples include Hewlett-Packard, which was started in a garage during the economic downturn of 1939, Microsoft, founded during the recession in mid-1970, Apple Computer in 1976 and Cisco, which was started in 1983 in the living room of Len Bosack and Sandra Lerner.

Uncertain times can refer to today’s business climate or it can be more personal and refer to your own specific uncertainty. Take the company I work for. When the owner started it, he had just left one of the largest internet companies after they decided to shutter their regional offices. Definitely a period of uncertain times. But, with a generous exit package, he decided to take that money and invest it in starting his own company. He recognized a need within the internet advertising industry and felt with his experience, he could potentially tap into the early stages of this potentially growing field. Fast forward eight years later and the company employs over 300 individuals.

That is the true American dream. It is often stated that small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy. Expected to play an even more important role in our nation’s economic future, small businesses, those employing fewer than 500 employees, create jobs which in turn stimulates our economic growth. They bring innovation to our marketplace by bringing new products to the market and providing valuable services.

So much so that on September 27, 2010, President Obama signed the Small Business Jobs Act. Some of the provisions are extensions or increases in small business benefits that had been previously signed. But there are other newer aspects to this act as well including a $30 Billion Small Business Lending Fund: The bill would establish a new $30 billion Small Business Lending Fund which – by providing capital to small banks with incentives to increase small business lending – could support several multiples of that amount in new credit.

Another aspect to this Act is an initiative to strengthen innovative state small business programs. The bill will support at least $15 billion in small business lending through a new State Small Business Credit Initiative, strengthening state small business programs that leverage private-sector lenders to extend additional credit – many of which have been forced to cut back due to budget cuts.

For individuals who were employed through large companies and may have experienced a layoff, perhaps the time is right to take your experience and knowledge and start your own company. The key is to be able to identify what the market is looking for and find a way to meet those needs. There is nothing wrong with starting a business in your own home to keep expenses at a minimal. But do your research. Talk with others in the field. Attend trade shows and find a mentor.

Additionally, make certain you educate yourself on how to run a business. When the owner of our company started, his background was purely sales and marketing. An intelligent man in his own right, he had no idea that he would need to learn and understand payroll, tax laws, human resources, legal matters and insurance. He knew sales forecasting and certainly was familiar with contracts but as the company grew, he was faced with having to spend a lot of time learning these other areas relating to business.

An understanding of a broad range of disciplines is often necessary if one is to succeed in running a business. It is for this very reason that getting a bachelor’s in business or even a bachelor’s in entrepreneurship, followed by an MBA program, may be just what you need. An MBA teaches many different business skills including:

The bottom line is that anyone can turn a tough situation into something positive. We live in a time where change is happening at lightening speed. And while it is daunting to see jobs becoming obsolete, it is equally as exciting to see some of the new jobs being created. Our country is often referred to as the Land of Opportunity for good reason. “For the times they are a changing, “so why not look at change as something good?…