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  • A change in management

    About 6 months ago we had changes to our management structure. Along with those changes came the need to fix what was not broken. The changes happened so suddenly. one of the changes to take effect was that we, our security department, was no longer aloud to talk to each other, other city staff or our patrons, unless it was absolutely necessary, and when it was necessary, we had to provide an explanation that had to be good enough to warrant the communication. You see, our new boss is from a military background and demands respect without the need to earn it.

    As you can imagine, we rely on a good rapport with with our staff and patrons in order to maintain a safe environment. But, because we are verbally reprimanded , daily, because we need to communicate with not only ourselves, but with staff, it has caused tons of issues. We have lost many guards. Some of these guards have been with the city for 10 years and plus, all because we get chastised for communicating amongst ourselves.

    Imagine attempting to work as a team to run an investigation. Say a patron assaults a staff member and we need to have a few guards running the cameras back at our security station. This is not allowed. Only one guard at a time can be there, why? Because the perception of multiple guards crowded around several monitors in one location apparently looks like we are not working, and each guard would need to log into their desktop profile in order to operate our security system. It is damn difficult to do. Maybe one guard knows more information than the next? Maybe another guard knows the location of the victim or the person of interest? This in turn, causes a breakdown in effective security communications. In essence, it is frowned upon to work as a team.

    It is just sad, that we are not able to communicate, even amongst ourselves! We are not aloud to patrol in teams. When management sees two guards talking, even when it is related to work or a security concern, we are met with criticism and the need to explain ourselves. It has just become a frustrating mess. In all my ten years here, I have never been so frustrated with my job.

    I have contemplated on finding another security position in another department or city, but where else could one make a decent wage and awesome benefits.

    Anyways, has anyone else had to deal with this level of BS in their workplace?

  • #2
    Nope. Your boss is an idiot, who’s military experience was probably sitting behind a desk. He is going to get someone hurt. Document everything and keep copies.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Soper View Post
      Nope. Your boss is an idiot, who’s military experience was probably sitting behind a desk. He is going to get someone hurt. Document everything and keep copies.
      Yea, we’ve all been doing the documenting. Its unfortunate how our place we lived to work at has turned into a nightmare. Luckily the union is getting involved and has offered protection as far as anything permanent (written reprimands) go. Doesn’t stop them from talking to us like we were five years old though.

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      • #4
        You should all snap to attention and yell “SIR, YES SIR”, every time he speaks to you...anywhere.

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        • #5
          I'll play devil's advocate. I was a guard for a long time, and I'm now an operational, client-side role. It's entirely possible that your department/organization is looking to re-evaluate whether they can cut back on security staff, and your boss may be trying to protect you by not presenting the image that some of you are redundant. Often, if a guard supervisor is quite strict, it's because that's because of the pressure management/clients are putting on them.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Consolewatcher View Post
            I'll play devil's advocate. I was a guard for a long time, and I'm now an operational, client-side role. It's entirely possible that your department/organization is looking to re-evaluate whether they can cut back on security staff, and your boss may be trying to protect you by not presenting the image that some of you are redundant. Often, if a guard supervisor is quite strict, it's because that's because of the pressure management/clients are putting on them.
            I mean, I can understand it IF it was a problem. However, speaking from the perspective of a team of guards that count on communication in order to do their job effectively, this hurts not only us, but also the rest of staff and even our patrons as well. Also, we are in the process of hiring more guards because we are chronically low staffed. Even though we work for a city municipality, and have great benefits, it’s been challenging to hold onto good people because of the way we are treated. We are all adults, and most of the guards come into our security detail with law enforcement backgrounds , and don’t want to be treated like a five year old at work.

            i have been with my employer a long time and us communicating with staff, ourselves and the patrons has never been a problem. It really shows you how out of touch and unrealistic our management is.


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            • #7
              Originally posted by Soper View Post
              You should all snap to attention and yell “SIR, YES SIR”, every time he speaks to you...anywhere.
              And then solute him while uncomfortably holding a stare with him.

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              • #8
                I've dealt with this issue in the past, although certainly not to the degree you are. The "too many guards in the office" thing is common - just document that you needed S/O Smith and S/O Jones to work on a case because they had relevant info, etc. As far as having to be mute all the time - are certain guards spreading gossip? Are certain guards interacting with employees / clients in inappropriate ways (i.e. too friendly or talking for too long)? If so, maybe your boss is catching the heat.

                I talk about sports, the weather, what's going on (in general) with other staff, but I don't stand around for 15 - 30 minutes doing it. When other staff ask what's going on, I just tell them "We are responding to a complaint..." or "We are assisting police / fire / medical..." and say no more.

                Or, your boss is an idiot. I had a captain one time that chewed me out for talking to the shift sergeant in the next building, because she felt there was no need. He did complain sometimes about our working conditions, but that was him, not me. After my dressing down I explained to her that our buildings shared a parking lot, and if our building patrol saw a suspicious person or kicked a trespasser out, did it not make sense to call or walk over to his station and let him know? She didn't have a answer and insisted I shut up and stay in my cage. I did shut up - and I got a new job a month later. I heard she "moved on" from that contract a short time later.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Condo Guard View Post
                  I've dealt with this issue in the past, although certainly not to the degree you are. The "too many guards in the office" thing is common - just document that you needed S/O Smith and S/O Jones to work on a case because they had relevant info, etc. As far as having to be mute all the time - are certain guards spreading gossip? Are certain guards interacting with employees / clients in inappropriate ways (i.e. too friendly or talking for too long)? If so, maybe your boss is catching the heat.

                  I talk about sports, the weather, what's going on (in general) with other staff, but I don't stand around for 15 - 30 minutes doing it. When other staff ask what's going on, I just tell them "We are responding to a complaint..." or "We are assisting police / fire / medical..." and say no more.

                  Or, your boss is an idiot. I had a captain one time that chewed me out for talking to the shift sergeant in the next building, because she felt there was no need. He did complain sometimes about our working conditions, but that was him, not me. After my dressing down I explained to her that our buildings shared a parking lot, and if our building patrol saw a suspicious person or kicked a trespasser out, did it not make sense to call or walk over to his station and let him know? She didn't have a answer and insisted I shut up and stay in my cage. I did shut up - and I got a new job a month later. I heard she "moved on" from that contract a short time later.
                  I mean, all employees spread gossip. Our department is no different then all the other departments. In fact, our department is filled with much more professional personnel compared to the other departments and therefore spread significantly less gossip. However, it’s evident that my new boss is an idiot because they do exactly what they tell us not to do. They will chit chat to an extreme degree and reprimand is for even stopping long enough to say “hi, how’s the weather”.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by c0187 View Post

                    I mean, all employees spread gossip. Our department is no different then all the other departments. In fact, our department is filled with much more professional personnel compared to the other departments and therefore spread significantly less gossip. However, it’s evident that my new boss is an idiot because they do exactly what they tell us not to do. They will chit chat to an extreme degree and reprimand is for even stopping long enough to say “hi, how’s the weather”.
                    Part of the problem with the security industry is that it's very difficult to produce useful metrics; you'll never be able to show how many potential thieves you deterred, how many slip-and-falls you prevented by taking note of the slip hazard and putting up a sign, how many criminal acts you prevented by reporting the burnt-out lights, etc. The result of this is that it's very hard for security to prove that they are properly doing their jobs, and it becomes more of an evaluation of whether they present the image of doing their jobs. The people in payroll, for example, may sit around and gossip for a bit, but if the payroll gets done properly it's obvious they're doing their job. With security, it's less obvious.

                    I've made the joke that if you're going to stand around and do nothing, then at least look professional when you're doing it. In reality, even actual work tasks can be made so that they're looking like work tasks. For example, if two guards are talking, and one has their notepad out, it's a lot more obvious that it's work-related.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Consolewatcher View Post

                      Part of the problem with the security industry is that it's very difficult to produce useful metrics; you'll never be able to show how many potential thieves you deterred, how many slip-and-falls you prevented by taking note of the slip hazard and putting up a sign, how many criminal acts you prevented by reporting the burnt-out lights, etc. The result of this is that it's very hard for security to prove that they are properly doing their jobs, and it becomes more of an evaluation of whether they present the image of doing their jobs. The people in payroll, for example, may sit around and gossip for a bit, but if the payroll gets done properly it's obvious they're doing their job. With security, it's less obvious.

                      I've made the joke that if you're going to stand around and do nothing, then at least look professional when you're doing it. In reality, even actual work tasks can be made so that they're looking like work tasks. For example, if two guards are talking, and one has their notepad out, it's a lot more obvious that it's work-related.
                      Yea I absolutely agree! We not only deal with all the above you stated in your reply, but we also deal with an inordinate amount of homeless people and people that frequent our building just to cause trouble like drug dealing and gang activity. It’s never ending and in between all this stuff happening, we get constant criticism for just being in the vicinity of another guard or staff member. It’s just gotten so bad that we need to justify each instance that we are caught talking. The other day I was taken off to the side and told “ you need to stop hanging around the security desk and keep roving the floors”. I told my supervisor that it’s noon and it’s my hour at the security desk so therefore I was relieving the guard currently there. He just shrugged and apologized under his breath. It’s just ridiculous. All I know is that I’m glad I’m in the union and keep track of all this BS.

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