A friend, who was puzzled by the illogicality of my security agency, asked me a question. He wanted to know why the agency kept sending me to different sites instead of letting me stay at the few regular ones I was familiar with. Well, I was always a guard and never a manager, so I never got to sit in at strategy meetings. Therefore, I can’t tell you for sure what the agency’s executives were thinking. I can only speculate. Now, they may be only guesses but they are the guesses of an experienced security guard like myself, so…
Topping my list of guesses is the following scenario.
When I first started out as a security guard in 1999, it was already an established ‘punishment’ for troublesome guards. If you were the sort who took sick leave way too often, turned down too many assignments or maybe did something to piss off the managers, then your ‘punishment’ was to be kicked all over the place like a football. They would send you to one site today and the next day it would be somewhere different. Maybe they would let you settle down at a certain site for several days, then they would pull you out again and send you some place new. So you would always be a noob and never gain seniority at any site.
The second reason might be because the agency was afraid of mutiny. It happened before. A night shift supervisor once took an entire team of five guards off site in the middle of their shift. Some of them were regular guards stationed at that site but a couple were relief guards. Now, it couldn’t be helped if the regular guards at a site formed their own clique but it probably would be better for the agency if the relief guards did not join them.
Take the night shift mutiny for example. If the couple of relief guards had stayed behind to man the phones and showed their presence to the condominium’s residents, the agency wouldn’t be in such deep shit with their client. But since ALL guards left their posts…
The third reason I came up with was that the agency’s executives and managers were just lousy planners. That’s the simplest reason.
Now, out of the three reasons I listed, which one do I believe in the most? I would have to say number one. Because I remember when I first started out at this agency, I was on good terms with the Operations Executive, and he told me he could arrange for me to stay put at just the one site closest to my home if that was my wish. So you see, allowing me to stay put at just the one site was something they could arrange if they wanted to.
However, I turned him down then and afterwards, due to my commitment to some projects, I had to stop working for the agency for a while. That probably pissed them off. This agency was used to guards who were willing to pull twenty-four-hour shifts, so a ‘lazy’ guard who was only willing to work part-time was probably seen as a ‘trouble-maker’. And ‘trouble-makers’ deserved to be kicked around like a football.
Teck Y. Loh