What an incredible experience. Never in my life did I think I’d be watching the sunrise over the golden limestone city of Jerusalem. Or staying the night in an ivy laden castle in Europe or exploring the vibrant markets of East Africa. A few of the opportunities living in the security industry has afforded me. Me, a hayseed kid coming home from war without direction or purpose. However, I found it. Purpose and direction built off the one thing I knew and always had a passion for: protecting people.
The thing is though: I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I wish I could have understood what I was getting myself into, the good, the bad and the ugly of security.
Sure, you hear about some of it from old salts in the industry; but that was then, that was them, surely it isn’t my path. I will be above it. I would go beyond it. However, that’s the irony. It isn’t about the person. It is about the industry. So if you’re new to the industry, take heed, and if you’re a more seasoned individual, may this be a reminder.
When Everything Goes According to Plan
It is a thankless job. Not that people won’t thank you. I’ve had tremendous principals that I’ve had the privilege of protecting who have been more than gracious to me — more than I deserved. What I mean by thankless is that if you do your job correctly, the work and you yourself should go unnoticed. The boss or the business should go about his life, and everything should just work.
Of course, no one was harmed, harassed or otherwise interrupted, so really, what is to notice? Those countless hours to ensure that the route was clear, the hotel check-in process was seamless, the meeting started on time, everything worked as it should, that’s the “normal”? Why should you be thanked or otherwise be noticed for a “normal” day?
The inverse of this thankless job isn’t actually being noticed or thanked. It’s the implications of when things don’t go well. When you are stuck in traffic with your principal, leaving that sweat imprint in the front right seat. You’re standing in the hotel lobby waiting with your principal, trying to mentally will the hotel finish up on those final touches of the room.
Oh, you’re late for that million-dollar meeting? Have you experienced tension so thick it reminds you of an English morning fog? Oh, you’ll get noticed in this job but trust me, you don’t want to be. That is the thanklessness of this industry and the way it should be, the consummate quiet professional.
The Corporate Machine Called the Security Industry
The security industry will take everything you give it: time, friends, family… The individuals in this sector are a different kind of people. We hold ourselves to an insurmountable level of dedication.
The majority of us come from the military and/or law enforcement, so we’ve created an industry veiled in what we know — a selfless commitment to a cause. However, this isn’t the military or law enforcement, so be mindful of that. What we are is a part of the corporate machine, and any part of a machine is easily replaced. So be dedicated to your job and your team. That is certainly admirable, but be careful what you give it because it will take it all.
The security industry is a family affair. This job does not hold bankers’ hours. There were multiple months that I spent more time with my team and principal than I did with my own family. So, in short, this industry can be hard on families. Know this, have the conversation with your family and when it doesn’t work anymore, know when to prioritize the things that truly matter in life. No one on their deathbed has ever said, “I wish I would have spent more time at the office.”
This industry is full of “security professionals” ready to reveal the secrets of success… for a small portion of your paycheck. Shooting, medical, combatives, you name it. There are dozens of “experts” ready to train you in the mystical arts. Note that the sizzle’s sound does not always mean you’re getting a good steak. So do your due diligence before you sell your cow for the next round of magic beans.
On Being Realistic
On the topic of training, just stop it already. If you’ve been to three shooting courses this month, you’ve probably gone three times too many. Blasphemy, you say? Well, let me put it another way. You need to be proficient at your job, but more importantly, you need to be realistic about what you’re training for and why.
You’re not Jason Bourne. You are a professional problem solver. A well versed, well-rounded security professional is worth a lot more than the deadliest. Let’s be honest. Sometimes, the problem is solved with a roundhouse kick to the face, but proactive planning will likely solve it.
If you’re in a situation where a punch to the face is necessary, or you’re shooting multiple targets at a distance, it is a bad day at the office, but maybe one that could have been avoided with some more time with your nose in a book than at the dojo. Master your craft in its entirety, be
- Well-versed and
As sexy as the hard skills are, I assure you that they are just a portion of the craft.
Elaborate Puzzles of the Security Industry
It is the most boring, exciting job in the world. I’ve never had a more fantastic job at the height of decadence that I had to slap myself in the face to stay awake. So let’s put a bow on this one and just say three days in a row of 20-hour days changes a person’s outlook on life.
You’re probably saying to yourself at this point one of two things. First, this is probably very relatable if you’ve spent more than a fortnight in security. Or two: Man, this guy really hates the security industry. I can assure you that not only do I not hate this industry; I absolutely adore it. The passion I feel for the security industry is one that inspires me to be better than I was the day before. The challenges and the problems are all elaborate puzzles that I get to solve.
The challenges of this sector are not minuscule. There is a lot of maturation to do and, dare I say, some soul searching, but what an amazing industry. Thank you for everything you’ve given me, the lessons you’ve taught me and the incredible journey along the way.