Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Why You Should Aspire to be a Security Guard

If I had stayed out of banking when I originally intended to, I would have had more years experience as a security guard than I would in banking.  The reason why is that my first job in college was as a campus cop which then predispositioned me for future security work.  Sure enough if I needed any extra cash I would work a night shift or go part time.  Also, security work gave me options, thus any time a boss got lippy, I was misled about a job's duties, or there was just a good ole fashioned market melt down I could tell the boss to pound sand and take off.

However, while most people look at security guards as one of the lowliest of "professions" truth is it's the best damn job you can have.

The reason is simple - the job allows you to work on you.

Understand that the vast majority (if not all) corporate wage slave jobs require your time to be completely consumed and preoccupied.  And more often than not that time is consumed with a mentally boring and mundane task.  And even if it isn't, the culture is such that you still have to "act busy," which is even more mind-numbing than actual work.  In the end, yes you do have a job, but your brain is completely and 100% occupied doing boring work that advances some other person or company.

However, with security work it is different.

First, your job is to merely be present.  Not to track down the bad guys.  Not to do detective work.  Not to be a wanna be cop.  You merely sit at your station or desk, make an hourly patrol, and then return to your desk.  The reason why is the big secret in the security industry.  You really aren't paid to protect, you're paid because having a uniformed person on the premises gets that company or client a decrease in their insurance costs.  A decrease that MORE than compensates them for the $9/hour they're paying you.

Second, since you aren't supposed to be doing anything other than merely existing most security companies allow you to do some other work.  In other words, there is no expectation you need to be constantly occupied all the time.  Matter of fact, it's expected you'll bring a book, study, bring a laptop or whatever.  Some security companies and some security gigs won't allow for this (for example body guarding some socialite at a night club) and these are not the gigs I'm talking about.  But the majority of security work is sitting at some corporate campus, twiddling your thumbs, killing time.

Third, the caliber of the average security guard is crap.  Absenteeism is a huge problem, drugs another, and nutjobs thinking they're cops and pulling people over (known this to happen twice) is rank throughout the industry.  If you are just a clean cut guy, looking to make a couple bucks on the side, and can show up on time and not be high, you are in.

Finally, the night shift.  If you are going to work security make it the night shift.  You don't want to be the armed and overpaid receptionist for an office building downtown unlocking people's cars, towing cars, and in general dealing with everybody's mistakes. 

In the end and combining all these traits together, you have the PERFECT job, especially for independent-minded people like us.  You are paid, albeit it a minimum amount, to sit and work on your own stuff, occasionally getting up so you don't fall asleep, and are completely alone (assuming you took the dog shift).  It is the perfect recipe for an inventor, an author, a entreprenuer, or just a minimalist who likes to read books because it gives you 8 hours a day to work on what you want.  Better still, it FORCES you to work on your own projects because if you don't have anything to occupy your time you will get bored.

For example I wrote "Enjoy the Decline" in 45 days while pulling 16 hour shifts sitting at a warehouse as a security guard.  I wrote "Behind the Housing Crash" in just three months doing the same.  Another guard I know wrote the code for an entire program as a security guard.  And another one I knew doubled as a network administrator who would telnet into work and get paid double.  Though the work was not glorious and the title guaranteed not to impress chicks at bars, working security gave industrious individuals like ourselves the time, the discipline and the opportunity to focus on ourselves and our endeavors.

But the true benefit of working security is ultimately financial.  Specifically, your chances of becoming genuinely rich are higher working as a security guard than a corporate cog.

Understand nobody becomes rich busting their ass off in the rat race, climbing the corporate ladder.  Most people will deem the mental and pscyhological costs too high to make it into senior, let alone executive management, settling instead for a very median wage.  But as a security guard, busting his or her ass off, aggressively pursuing whatever your idea or dream is, you stand a MUCH BETTER CHANCE at becoming rich than your average corporate, ass-kissing slave because it is your entire idea.  If it works, you get to benefit from it 100%.  Also realize that while, yes, a corporate cog could come home and start working on his or her new business idea or invention, corporate employment is so mind-numbing most people just want to sit and veg out.  Security work not only allows you to work on your own stuff, but does the opposite of what corporate employment does to your mind.  Instead of numbing it, it invigorates it.  It gets the creative juices flowing and consequently gives you more passion and energy to pursue and accomplish your dreams.  I've come home from 16 hour security shifts more invigorated and pumped up about life than a 4 hour day cut short by a computer network failure or power outage at a corporate gig, just because the damn job gives you hope.

Of course, all of this is contingent on one thing - that you have a plan or a goal AND you have the discipline to pursue it while working the night shift.  For if you don't have those two things, then, well, yeah, you're just a rent-a-cop wanna be Paul Blart.  Otherwise, there is absolutely no shame in working a security gig.

47 comments:

Anonymous said...

Take it from one guy with a colllege degree that's been working as a rent-a-cop for the last ten years; I don't regret my "career" change the least bit. I don't make a lot of money, but how much needs a single guy whose main hobby is reading and has no expensive vices?. I have plenty of free time, no worries, no pressure to meet any deadline. You can't buy peace of mind with money.

Joe Bar said...

Actually, that is what I am lining up for retirement. I then can earn motorcycle riding money while writing The Great Red Pill Novel!

Aurini said...

Just make sure you get the security gig you want; for a while there I got stuck at a College run by an ex-military-prison guard, and the dickhead wanted us patrolling constantly.

Night Shift FTW.

MGTOW said...


Busy work at work to me is more stressful than actual real work. I quit my last two jobs for that very reason. Too much busy work and not enough real work. I don't understand why any place would hire me to begin with knowing mostly what they have to offer is mindless busy work. It makes no sense.

I even went on to get a guard card for the very reasons you laid out. Haven't used it yet but you just validated everything I suspected about that type of work.

Jane the Grad Student said...

In the DC area, that is also one of the quickest ways to gain the much-coveted (and highly marketable) security clearance.

Thirtydays toX said...

I remember reading an interview with Don Delillo, where he talked about using all of his free time as a security guard to hone his writing skills and launch his career as a novelist.

Anonymous said...

I was a master control operator for TV stations and networks. Essentially, my job was "security guard of the airwaves." It was my job to make sure the on-air programming was accurate and to take care of any technical issues that occurred. It was a cake job. I did overnights solo. I could be on the phone, listen to music, be on the computer, do my bills, pad over to the kitchen, whatever. It was my home away from home. However, when I transferred to a large facility with tons of channels, a hundred MCOs and a handful of supervisors working the overnights, I was micro-managed and lost my autonomy, and, eventually, my job. Now I'm in a call center and micro-managed to death. I want to go back to being "security guard of the airwaves," but for one station, not for a multi-channel facility where you come under the same scrutiny as any other faceless corporate entity.

Bruce Banner said...

An instant classic! Great post,Cap!
I know the industry and what you say is true. Though I´ve met quite a lot smart security guards, there are very few smart AND motivated security guards.
Most guys go crazy working the night shift.

KING ALPHA said...

So true i miss my job working the security. Working near the BOA stadium and next to a nice hotel. Did lots of walking and driving a go cart. so true about using your time wisely. I even had a nice 2 month sexual relationship with a nice, sexy 40sh colombian woman who was the bartender, who looks like salma hayek. She was so cool, nice, and very feminine. often criticize American women for hating men. One day after her husband took a long trip she asked me to take her home one day and se told me " in my country we marry older men for money but we fuck younger men to get them to become "men".

Anonymous said...

Security Guard is a job that requires certain physical attributes such as height, size and strength.

What if you are short and lightweight ? You wouldn't make a good security agent now there wouldn't you.

Captain Capitalism said...

Anon 204,

That is actually VERY FAR from true.

MOST security gigs they don't care about physical fitness. Just look at your average mall cop. Usually overweight, sometimes skinny, they are not RIPPED Navy SEALS.

However, yes, some you do need to be in shape.

Personal protection, armored protection, sting operations, etc.

Admittedly, I do work out and could best most of my equally heighted and weighted peers, but I'm still only 5'9" and 150 and I pass the physical fitness tests.

Just run, hit weights, learn some jiujitsu and you're off to the racers.

Alan said...

I totally agree with this post. I worked a 6:00 pm to 6:00 am security shift on weekends as a college student in the early 80's. I made $5 an hour, a lot at the time, and I could do my homework sitting at a desk in a nice air conditioned office. Occasionally, I would have to check to make sure all the outside doors were still locked or beep someone into the building. All in all, it was a great job for a college student.

Anonymous said...

"....there is absolutely no shame in working a security gig."

There is no shame in any honest work.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post, I see totally reflected on it, although my situation is a bit different.

I have a job that is also mind-numbing, dead-end and soul-killing when I am in the office. In the other hand, I get to travel a lot, to visit customers, exhibitions, so I get a lot of time in planes, hotels, that actually counts as a "working time" and I even get compensation days. And the salary is quite good.

I have a 50/50 effect. When I am in the office it is terrible, when I am out (usually 25% of the time),'my life is amazing and I can work on my projects. I am now in Brazil, last week I was in Poland and in 2 weeks I will be in Moscow.

During 5 years I was alone in an office and I could do pretty much anything I wanted, but now I am next to my boss and I have to act busy all the time and this is like living hell. I am thinking about quitting, but i can't live on my project for now...

I feel like in a golden cage.

Andrew said...

The only irritation about being a security guard is you have to get a license... for a job that pays $10 an hour.

Stretch said...

Double Sunday shifts. Term papers written; Letters composed; Texts read. Um, that's "texts" as in Text Books. It was the 70s after all.
Also pulled 2 1/2 years as a Federal Protective Officer (the GSA version. Not today's Homeland Security version.) that allowed much free time to study electronics.
Second King Alpha's observation. Romance (or at least sex) was readily available. And handcuffs are easily replaced.

Anonymous said...

Occasional reader of your blog Captain, and all that time I'm reading your blog it's from my security guard gig working at a satellite campus of a major university. Your descriptions are spot on, and I find myself getting attached to this position despite the low pay. Fun fact though: In my area (Near DC), if you get more security licenses and training, you could end up making 60k working at a government site. But that would require being armed and you'd probably lose the privileges you describe.

Nonetheless, spot on. I use the downtime time to browse the web endlessly and study.

Anonymous said...

Boyd Rice is a big advocate for night shift security jobs. If Twilight Man is still in print it's all stories of working security in Chinatown in the 70s. Good stuff.

archerfisher21 said...

I'm in the hiring process of joining one of those firms while finishing my bachelor's degree... oh, and it's not "security guard" it's "security officer" haha.

nathanwalker55 said...

Thanks for the post. My dad works security. security guards have a good job. Just like any other job, they have there ups and downs but overall its a good job.

Avery Schlacter said...

I have always felt like being a security guard would be an important job. But I feel that way now more than ever after reading this. I'll have to look into it more.

Mason Hamilton said...

So often I either hear or get asked from others about how they can find a job that will "pay the bills," but really allow them the time and focus to develop their other passions.

This is about as thorough as you can get in terms of outlining a job that provides just the right balance to do just that!

I would have to agree with Aurini though, I know of a former Marine who's run commercial security details and he very much operates it like he's still in the military!

It puts emphasis on searching out the right opportunity and making sure you meet your supervisor prior to accepting the job!

SIA Licence Hub said...

In the UK security guard jobs can vary greatly. Some will get with a good company and will enjoy what they do. Those that found security work with the big event companies got to guard the Olympics last year.

Others can find themselves working where they are underpaid, and under appreciated. Many complain of falling standards through out the entire industry.

Anonymous said...

I am going to keep this in mind! I am going to go into training for a security guard.

Jak Manson said...

Where is it that you can go to become a security guard? I have been wanting to be one ever since I was young. If you have any and all information please let me know.

Anonymous said...

Your spot on dude. I been working as a security guard the last 5 years, and it has been good for me especially those night shift when I am by myself and I can do what ever I want even smoke a good joint.

security guy said...

Great post! I've been doing security since '98. Have worked all shifts. Initially I slept, snuck off to eat, or goof off somewhere, sleep, etc. Later on I became more disciplined and through online courses got my associates degree. I've spent hours photographing the amazing scenery surrounding the complexes where
I've worked. Doing digital art, playing games, watching movies. One site had a kitchen, and I learned to cook, much cheaper than macfood. I never get bored. Time flies. It can get lonely however.

Anonymous said...

Being a security guard is a tough JOB not every man have guts to do this job like a mobile security in Kelowna.

ted armstrong said...

Guard services in Kelowna is one of the toughest job, but not the highest paid job.

torontosecuritycompany said...

The term most often used for this that I hear is Special Police Officer.

torontosecuritycompany said...

Great post! I've been doing security since '98. Have worked all shifts. Initially I slept, snuck off to eat, or goof off somewhere, sleep, etc. Later on I became more disciplined and through online courses got my associates degree.

Anonymous said...

best job ever but now very paid!I am 28 and working in uk as a security guard.Even I have a masters degree in theology couldn't find any good job in my country.romania.so I emigrated.I speak german .french,italian.spanish,and english.I found some jobs as a translator but for 9£ per h I had to do lots of papers.sooo.my night shifts are from 19 til 7 4 to 5 days a week...i am in a office 5 patrols each night and in rest reading,waching movies and lots of exercise....push ups dips al the calisthenics :) even if i live with a guy that work as a programmer///i am not gay:) just a room mate///and he earns like 7000£ per month compared with my 1400 per month...i am happy....I am fit and have lots of time ...daytime to do whatever I want...like martial arts and some bodybuilding...worst I sleep just 4-6 h each day

Marin Security Guard said...

What do you think are some good traits for a security guard to have?

Napa Security Guard said...

What is your favorite part about being a security guard?

Anonymous said...

You know, some of us who work security jobs actually have to do stuff. There's a big difference between a "warm body" (what you've described) and a security professional.

But hey, that's why the warm bodies make $9/hr, and folks that actually work make $17/hr.

Anonymous said...

Could a nearly senior citizen female get night shift jobs? Could she work part time? I got curious remembering a guy whom an old boyfriend rented a room from who pretty much got his college degree while working night shifts back in the '80's. He somehow also got time off pretty easily, as he was also a tour guide. BTW, he got married and took an IT job.

Amelia Gillian said...

My brother is looking into a becoming a security guard. He recently applied to a few different training schools, and will be pleased to know that he made a good career choice. Do you have any advice for him? http://www.sandssecurityservices.com/

Anonymous said...

Good read and all true! I recently left a well paying job with a school district. Yeah I miss the benefits, weekends and holidays off but screw all the fake attitudes, back stabbing, sensitivity training, micro managing politically correct bullshit environment that went along with it! Now I'm working the late shift as a rent a cop and I love it. Pay isn't nothing to brag about but I can get by quite happily and comfortably. Plus all the free time I have on the job has allowed me to work on projects I want to focus on and then after work I'm not to tired and burned out to hit the gym. Already my squat and deadlift have gotten better and trimmed some fat off my waist. My only regret is that I wish I would of done this 10 years ago!

Anonymous said...

I worked mall security for a couple of years starting back in August of 2009 and it was the best job I ever had. I complained a lot back then because I had just turned 36 years old, was earning a low wage, attended night school for computer programming for sixteen months ending back in November of 2000 and still stuck trying to graduate community college after seven or eight years but the job was fun. If I worked at night and wanted to study I would just read in the car or go inside and take a break.

After the mall was knocked down and the entire security staff was laid off I went to work for the countries top law firm in Manhattan doing corporate security and I absolutely hated it. I spent fours years there and ended up walking out in disgust. Now being out of work since November of 2013 I was thinking about going back to college to get my B.S. in Information Technology but I think I am just going to say forget about it and stay doing security at a local hospital if I end up getting the job I have to interview for at the end of the week.

Anonymous said...

I'm 5"7" 140 pounds of awesomeness. I work security and no one gives a shit What i look like. :) win.

Charles @ Your Worth Security said...

It's a good job with good salary.

Anonymous said...

I have been working in Security in the UK for 10 years. I have only started to get a bit grumpy about security in general, however after reading this piece it has helped changed my attitude a bit. Time for a project methinks :)

Jim Nesta said...

BS and MS degrees in physics here. After getting laid off from my job as an adjunct physics instructor in community college, I went back into security in a job on the graveyard shift at an affluent gated community. The work is easy, my time is mostly my own and the stress is minimal. I'm making good progress in learning music theory and in playing the electric bass, something that has appealed to me since I was a kid. Some people think that I'm nuts for staying in such a menial and low-paying job, but I wouldn't go back to becoming a wage slave in the "edubusiness" that I used to work in.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this article, I have been working the graveyard shift for two months, and you are right on with `working on your own things' I am also interested in becoming a tour guide, and studying while on shift at a construction site in town. The radio documentaries that I used to listen to(or similar) over 20 years ago have a new appeal to me. I am by education an electromechanical engineer, manufacturing, largely has tanked in Canada. So, I am security guard, working the `dog shift' lol--for me that is the time between 4 a.m (the end of `fire-watch' which starts at midnight) and 6:30, the end of shifts. I work three of these 13 hr shifts, back-to-back, mental strength is a must! I like my job.
-Drew

Ziki Web said...

A really great post, thanks for sharing.
Regards
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typhoongalaxy said...

Watch out for those hard ass,low pay over zealous burn out big security guard companies with random drug testing and cameras in the patrol vehicles

Isendar said...

I work in corporate security in a Security Operations Center. As the Grave Shift Supervisor, I have to say while much of what you said is true for your average site, here in Silicon Valley, there are higher expectations of the officers. There is no time to work on any such projects and if caught you would probably be written up if not warned first. The client expects you to be vigilant and focused on the patrol. My officers conduct 1 interior patrol and 2 exterior patrols of either 2, 5 story buildings or 2, 4 story buildings, 1 2 story quad wing HQ bldg, and 1 small 1 story building. The only time you have is your 2, 15 min breaks and 1 30 min unpaid, off the clock lunch.

As an operator, I am expect to monitor camera footage, investigate and dispatch for intrusion alarms, answer emails from the client, monitor fire and alarm systems. We get at least 1 world wide alarm once every second which we are required to log notes and acknowledge each and every time. There's no time for anything else!