“A private investigator’s days are often filled with uneventful surveillance and dead ends, but that’s only part of the job. On occasion, PIs may land in hot water and must rely on their communication and negotiation skills to get them out of it.
It takes talent, poise, and honed interpersonal skills to talk an enraged spouse out of swinging at you. Physical weapons are not always available, so we use what we do have in our arsenal—words, empathy, and emotional intelligence—to de-escalate a volatile situation.
Operating effectively under stress is a must-have skill in this line of work. No amount of training can prevent us from feeling fear in extreme situations. But we can learn to mitigate the stress symptoms, and even harness them—to laser-focus our energies on solving the problem at hand.
The Adrenaline Rush
In stressful conditions, our adrenal glands secrete a hormone to prepare the body for “fight or flight.” That shot of adrenaline can feel like a head rush: Your heart races. You breathe faster and deeper. You feel a surge of energy, heightened awareness, or even a suppressed pain response. And under extreme stress, you may experience tunnel vision, auditory exclusion (temporary hearing impairment), or a sense that time has slowed.
Some people seek out that rush (in its milder forms) as a welcome distraction from the more tedious aspects of investigative work. But when the job brings us into contact with unpredictable people and dangerous places, that physiological fight or flight response isn’t just a bungee-jump in the park anymore; it’s a survival mechanism.
The flip side is that those same symptoms that prepare us to deal with danger can also cloud judgement and make clear thinking a challenge.”