I hate Security…
Yes, yes i do, not the type that keeps you safe at home while you sleep or the type that alerts the Police is someone is trying to steal from you or your place of work. But the type where i stand on a door to an office building for an hour, before i go to a car park or reception, simply to be a visual deterrent to possible break ins or “Walk ins” (Where someone tries to gain unlawful entry with the intent to disrupt or steal) these jobs are long and super boring, you’d usually work a 12 hour shift maybe starting at 7am and finishing at 7pm or starting at 7pm and finishing at 7am, the dreaded night shift. SO let me tell you about my experience working in the Security Industry.
It all starts with my stent with the Prison Service, yes i was a “Prison Guard” for a year, i was unemployed and a post it note came my way with a phone number on it. I was told to call it, i did, and was told that i didn’t need any qualification i just needed to complete a 6 week training course. Coolio sign me up, hey a jobs job right?
I completed the 6 weeks with a 91% on my finish test, thats the highest grade i’ve ever had. We learned Legal frame work, Health and Safety, First Aid, Control and Restraint and other crap you’d need to baby sit a bunch of adults who think they are smarter then you. It was a fine job, good satisfaction levels, but once a week someone fucking idiot would try to attack one of the guards, i mean there were lots of us, and all your mates or in cells (Locked up) what exactly was your plan here, to beat a guard senseless then what? hope that the rest of us fear you and let you go, just like that? some people were born stupid. They always thought they were so smart yet there they were, locked up. Oh well could be worst, it could be raining (This is England) I was ten before i realised i could close an umbrella, of course i jest, the last few days have been WOW sun sun sun sun lots of awesome SUN (If you don’t believe me watch my latest Vlogs from 6th April to 8th)
So where was i?
Oh yeah, so it was a dangerous job for sure but with 18 other guards backing you up i knew i’d get help in seconds.
One Weekend me and a friend went to see ‘War of the Worlds’ yes with Tom Cruise, after we did what we usually did back then, we got us some Burger King and sat there talking about stuff that mattered to us, usually Star Trek, but we did talk about work, and i asked him how much he earned, Ok i earned £15,271, yes per year, he wouldn’t tell me, most likely thinking that people shouldn’t talk about how much they earn because its not the done thing, Now i tend to agree, but other when it comes to the people you work with not a mate i’d known for 10 years (By that time) why do people get so pissy about telling people how much they earn. Anyway i finally convinced him to give me a ball park figure, he said £17,000 per year, which i knew was bullshit but i went with it, i thought he was picking a number that was under his pay but ever so slightly above mine. He gave me a phone number to the HR department of the company he worked for, i took it and later called it and sorted out an interview.
During this interview i brought up the fact that i’m currently a Prison Guard, i even showed her my Warrant Card, which has a nice ‘Home Office’ foil embossed logo on it, nice i was a sure win for this interview, she left me to fill out some forms and when she returned she asked me to pick a placement, she showed a list of sites, BBC, Channel 4 Tate Modern, all nice placements and each had like 4 or 5 jobs going, but she said that Linklaters would be the best one to go for, it only had 1 opening, she made a phone call to the Security Manager there and then asked me what i was doing later that day, was i going back to work, i said no i had the whole day off, then she asked if i could interview at Linklaters today, i said that i could. I had a 3 hour wait, so i decided to find the building first then look for something to do to waste the rest of the time.
I sat in the new but as yet unused Security Control Room, it looked like Ground Control, with 4 massive plasma screens, 3 displaying the CCTV (Closed Circuit TeleVision) security cameras and the 4th Sky News, the two main desks, one for the DSM (Duty Shift Manager) The person in charge of that shift, and one for the Controller, the dude who takes phone calls, operates the CCTV and other stuff i’m sure, each desk had 4 PC monitors 2 on each side, with a switchable keyboard to control either side, The interview went as well as could be, they even said i might be “over” qualified, they gave me some scenarios and asked what i’d do, i joked with them a little, to break the ice, show that i’m not some up tight twat, but someone who can have a laugh but when needs be can be serious and on the job with no fear for either up sitting and employee who was making unreasonable requests that put the security of the building at risk or to anyone who might try to gain entry.
I got the job, i was told a few days later, i gave my notice at the Prison Service and a few weeks later was doing my on the job training with Linklaters. The job was a rotating rota 4 on 4 off days and night, i did this for 8 months, i’d asked after 2 months if i could possible get a permanent shift either days or nights (I discovered later that i can’t do a continuous night shift) My name was put on the list, so after 8 months i was offered a day shift, still 4 on 4 off, but days only, which was better then what i had, same money just days only, GOOD. I started this shift, it was a smaller building, part of Linklaters but if only 7 floors instead of 26 (Two buildings, 11 on one and 15 on the other) it was a good move, still 12 hour shifts but i got to work during the day every day, the guys i was working with were great, one i already knew, he taught me everything i know about Corp Security the other i never saw that much as he had the opposite shift, he worked during the 4 days i had off. Anyway, after about 6 months someone else left, now he had the ‘Golden Shift’ 7am till 5pm Monday to Friday. Great shift, because now i get all my weekends back, and work 50 hours instead of 48 which means more money, i’m not ashamed to say i was earning £24,000 a year.
But after 3 years i was getting bored, i’d have days when i didn’t to talk to people, i just did my job and went home, Security is a real soul sucking job, If not for the guys i was working with and a few others, Michelle and Scarlett (Two women i adore, even to this day) if not for them i might have left sooner. I had become very bored of doing the same thing every day, sure the money was good and i liked the people i worked with but the day to day was starting to get to me, so i decided that i needed a change. So i handed in my notice, i gave 5 weeks, to give my managers time to find a replacement.
Two weeks after i left the economy failed and i was screwed, timing could not have been worse.
I was unemployed for 5 months, i took the first job that came, it was Burberry the World Headquarters In Haymarket, They were moving to a new building, on Horseferry Road in the new year, i started in November of 2008 and in January on 2009 i was doing my night shift, every Friday Saturday and Sunday from 7am to 7pm, no bank holidays, and all this for £16,500 a year, yes thats £7,500 drop in pay, i was not amused, especially after finding out that i wasn’t earning ‘Unsociable pay’ i don’t know how it works everywhere else, but in Britain if yo work unsociable hour you get a little extra money as compensation. Yea i wasn’t getting that.
But lets go back, a job interviews comes my way, be here, see this dude at this time for that job. The job listed was for a Loss Prevention Officer (Security Guard) thats all i was told. So i go there arriving a little early, as you do and i see Ed, we start the interview and he tells me that the position is for a permanent night shift, i asked if there was a day shift available, then Ed said, he wasn’t going to interview me for the night position all, he didn’t want to waste my experience, i thought great, get’er done.
So i left thinking that i’m maybe getting a day shift, awesome. Within a few day i get a call back, this time to see Leigh (Decent guy) He told me that i’m interviewing for a night shift, not happy, i explained the pervious interview with Ed (Something you need to know about Ed, he’s a bullshit artist, he will till you exactly what you need to hear if it’ll get what he wants) I then had no choice but to continue with the night shift.
Later in January i was told by Ed that as soon as a day shift comes up he’ll give it to me, he even took me aside to till me this, February, i get a similar speech, March, April, May, In June he actually used the words “In 4 weeks i’ve have you on a permanent day shift” July rolled by and i’m getting pissed off, This is wen ti find out that some people have big mouths, apparently my aggravation was getting back to Ed, Every time i showed even the smallest hint that i wasn’t happy he’d ask “Then why did you take the job, you know what you were getting in to”, then i’d mention that he said he was interviewing me for a day shift, and that for the past 6 months he’d promised me a day shift and had thous far not delivered, and that i was unemployed in an economic fuck up and recession, he would always give me a funny look, not sure it was because i gave good answers to this stupid question or not but thats how i see it. Anyway he told me in July 2009 that i was not getting a day shift, because of my behaviour, 2 weeks later his friend is working the day shift, 2 weeks, it usually takes longer to advertise and interview for open positions with Burberry, hell it took this nearly a 1 year to replace the man i started with after he left, 1 fucking year, but in 2 weeks his mate has the day job i was promised. Ed your a cunt, After that i saw no reason to complain about it anymore, i just got on with my job, working with two “Contract” security guys, these guy were not Burberry staff, Jamie started later on, again a decent guy, i liked working with him.
Then, after two years of Night shifts, it all started to fall apart and i started to dose off in the control room, i was caught and sacked, rightly so, but the biggest sting was Ed after the first interview about this saying, “Don’t stress out over it” i walked away saying, Yea sure i’m getting the sake he replied with “You don’t know that yet” i laughed and walked home, after just arriving for that nights shift. One week later i’m talking to HR, they said after that there will be a meeting the day after to discuss what will happen, i said I already know whats going to happen, i’m under no illusions as to what is going to happen, thats why i’ve already started looking for work. And i was right, i knew i’ was getting sacked the day they told me i fell asleep on the job, but big companies alway insist on “Proper procedures” JUST FUCKING TELL ME. It would seem i had a better insight into they operating procedures then they did. That was back in September of 2010, its now April 8th 2011 and i’m still unemployed.
Lesson learned, if you have a good thing, even if you don’t like it, don’t quit, just wait for something better to come along then quit.
Over the last 6 years i’ve came to the realisation that i really hate doing Security, but have wasted some much time doing it and nothing else that its all i’m qualified to do, and its a job i can’t stand doing, i’m stuck in a place i hate with no gas to escape, the road is a loop, i’m driving around in circles anyway, so not having any gas isn’t really a big deal, I’m looking for work in an industry i hate. Everyone these days wants Qualifications and years of experience. Companies don’t want to waste money on training anymore. I have little choice right now.
At some point, i’ll write what i’m going to try to do over then next few years. And it doesn’t involve Security, rather something that i like to do and could and have spent 24 hours doing happily. Making films.