Monday, June 2, 2014

Being a Security Guard is NOT a Career!

Me at the US OPEN
This blog was made to keep it real with people who want to become security guards or officers. I have been a fully certified security guard for 10 plus years and have an associates degree. I have worked at universities, homeless shelters, events,  and office buildings. after school programs, and construction sites. I want to make sure that you know that being a security guard is a shit job.I am going to explain that Security is not a career. If you are thinking of becoming a security guard it is probably because you do not have any real skills and this industry is the only place to get a job in this economy. If that is the case then please read this blog. Security guard jobs are plentiful but are very bad due to low pay, no respect, no job security and, no advancement.

First, the low Pay. The Average yearly salary for a security guard in NYC is $25,000. Your take home pay will be $19,265. For New York City that is basically nothing. You are not paid what you are worth. In my case I have 10 years in the industry, have a fireguard license and all my certifications were up to date. I was offered a "lucrative" salary of $9 an hour at a standing post with no break, no benefits. The selling point was that I had weekends off. I was told that this was one of there highest paid sites. I would have been better if they paid me in a weekly Metro Card and one sandwich a week. I walk off telling the interviewer that I am not an illegal. Contract security is just that: by contract. When the client hires a security company, they pay "X" amount per contract hour. The security company divides that money between office personnel (branch manager, secretary, etc.), overhead (office bills, insurance, taxes, uniforms, etc.) and the security officer, who is LAST in line. By that time, there's little left. To rephrase a Paul Mooney joke; Everyone wants security but No one wants security. They want someone to keep pesky cold-calls away, or someone to blame for whatever goes wrong on nights and weekends. But the biggest incentive for having security guards on-site is the break the clients get in their insurance policies.

Second, There is no respect for security guards. Having a thick skin is a valuable skill to have. You will have to tolerate and almost enjoy having to eat shit all the time. Dealing with the constant disrespect. Rent-a-cop, flashlight cop,wanna-be-cop are all insults thrown at us. The funny thing is we have no type of arrest powers. In fact we can't put our hands on anyone. In theory someone can trespass and we can't physically stop them. They can tell us to go fuck ourselves and continue doing whatever they want to do. Our job is to observe and report. If  we see someone we can only call the police and direct them to where the crime is taking place. If we were to fight a trespasser even if we are attacked we can face jail time, lawsuit , and termination of employment. However if we do nothing we risk termination anyways. It is the damned if you do damned if you don't moral conundrum. There have been times were I was working and there was that one white woman who can not be bothered to show an ID because she is running late. I always expect the "I get paid more than you, You're not a cop". You just have to swallow those insults and smile and try to do the job you are paid for.

Third, there is no job security. Security is the only job where you can be fired for doing your job right. I was removed from a site because I carded the wife of a client. She refused to identify herself acting like I should know her. She made a huge stink and even though I was doing my job the client didn't want me there. You are viewed as disposable and replaceable at the whim of the client or your bosses. You have too many bosses anyone can get you fired from the top boss to the mexican cleaner. Another site I was removed from wasn't even because of anything I did. The maintenance supervisor and the Security Supervisor (client) were having a pissing contest to try to get the most people fired from their team. I ended up on radar because I would catch the maintenance guys goofing off. So they complained to the boss and they told me that I was spying on them. I am fucking security it was my job to patrol and make sure nothing wrong happened. They complained so much I was removed.

Fourth, there generally no room to advance. Security is generally a dead end job. In very rare cases the only way to get ahead is to know someone and kissing a lot of ass. I have personally seen a guard who was reliable, hard working, and seniority to his job passed over for a supervisor position because the other guy was friends with the boss. The saying is true  “It’s not what you know but who you know". On the other side of the coin if you do get a promotion it is only title and more responsibilities but no raise in pay. More often than not companies would rather hire from the outside. Getting people who already have managerial experience rather than train. This is usually to prevent lose of personnel to other companies that will pay more.

In closing, a security guard job is not a career. It should be seen the same way stripping is; a means to an end. If you get into security have a plan to get out sooner rather than later. Security should be for students paying there way and retirees looking for a second job to pass the time. Not for people with families. As a security guard you have no life and are expected to be a spartan. Work Long hours, and stand for long periods of time. You may barely be allowed to drink water, use the bathroom, have a break. You are not human as a security guard you are basically a scarecrow with a heart beat.I highly recommend going to school getting skilled and getting a real job that will pay you a better living.