Sunday, June 22, 2008

A strange security officer meeting

I accepted a position as Assistant Director of Security at a Mall on the Las Vegas Strip. I've been in security for quit awhile working my way up the ladder and although I've had many positions that were challenging, I knew from meeting the first officer at the property this would by far be my biggest challenge.
I pulled up into the parking garage and I called the Director on the phone to inform him that I had arrived. He however was stuck in typical Vegas traffic and informed me that he would be along shortly.
Being my first day I didn't want to enter the facility until he arrived to introduce me to the troops. I decided to stay in my car for awhile and wait for his arrival. After several minutes I figured I'd get out of the car and walk around the level of the garage I was on just to pass time. I was standing near the ledge of the floor looking out over East Las Vegas toward UNLV when a voice behind me stated, " It's not worth it, don't jump." I looked back to see a young officer from the property walking toward me. I immediately said that jumping had never occurred to me because life was way too precious to waste. He laughed and we quickly began a conversation.
I asked him how long he'd worked in security and he informed me that he had worked for this particular company for several years. Then without warning he went on to tell me how bad the company was and how he hadn't been given a pay increase for two years.
I asked him if he'd talked to the Director about the over site? He said that he had but he'd still not received one and that now it didn't matter because he and his brother were working on a sales business that he knew would get him out of security for good. I wished him well. He still had not asked, nor did he have any idea whom I was and since he was now on a negative roll I wasn't going to tell him anyway.
He continued on by telling me about his girlfriends, both past and present and how they had cheated on him and so on.
About ten minutes into this conversation I was beginning to second guess my acceptance of the position. I began to make excuses about waiting for my friend and I dropped hints that he should continue on his rounds but nothing seemed to work. He continued to talk and it began to wear on my nerves.
Finally I decided I had by this time enough so I began to walk back towards the sanctity of my car. I told the officer to take care and walked away. Wouldn't you know it, he followed me, talking the whole way.
By this time I'd heard how lousy the security department and company was, all the way to how lousy his girlfriend and former girlfriends were to how he'd once beat up a co-worker whom had made fun of him.
I politely got into my car, bid him farewell and started the engine. He stood there as if we weren't finished yet. In the end I had to put the vehicle in gear and drive away as if I were leaving the garage just to get away from him.
I finally settled for a spot on a different floor and although it made my walk to the Security Department a little further away it was worth it to get away from this officer.
A few minutes after I parked the Director called me and asked me to meet him on the floor I had just left. I went to meet him and I told him about my strange encounter with one of the officers and he was laughing so hard I thought he'd pass out. In the middle of the laughter the officer walks around the corner and sees me walking with the Director and he almost shit a brick. He quickly did an about face and scurried off in a different direction. The Director is still laughing and now he's laughing harder because he already knew whom I was talking about even before the officer changed directions right in front of us. The whole time I'm seriously wondering if I made the right career move. Could you blame me?
The next day I walked into the briefing room and introduced myself to the shift. The officer was there and he looked like he wanted to disappear. I explained how I was, how I operated, what I expected to happen over the next three months and how we would work together to get to know one another.
I then went on to explain how as Security officers we are always to remain professional while on the job. I told them it was not wise to air your company related issues to the general public and that to do so was in violation Company policy per their employee handbook. By this time the employee had that fight or flight look on his face.
I went on to explain that if they had issues with pay or vacation or whatever, for them to talk to their supervisor and if he couldn't work it out or explain it then he was to come and see me and together we would get the correct answer.
When I left the room I heard laughter which I expected because by then they had all probably heard the story of how the officer was out shooting of his mouth to the new Assistant Director.
I've been at the same location now for just under a year and a lot has changed. Stepping into the door there were nine supervisors, currently only two of the original supervisors remain. That's what generally happens when a new manager steps in and require that you actually earn your pay. People tend to quit. It's OK though, now other officer have been given the opportunity to step up and they've done a fine job.
The officer I met on my first day? He still works for the company, just not at his original location. He's now at a smaller location to eliminate the amounts of people he can interact with.
The job at this point is rewarding and now fun. It makes me laugh that on the first day I was questioning my decision. I'm really happy I'm here now.

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