There are over a million security guards in the United States, and it’s a growing field of work as more and more people and places seek protection from various problems.
In general, the life of a security guard is especially concerned with being the eyes and ears of an organization, such that it’s protected from theft, vandalism, shady behavior or illegal activities. If you’re the kind of person who likes to “watch the scene” for long periods of time, paying attention to little details as well as the bigger picture, security guard work might be for you.
Security guards can be found in a wide variety of places, including public buildings, retail stores and office complexes. Some guards will use surveillance cameras to keep watch over certain areas, while others will “walk the beat” in person, serving as a very public deterrent to crime.
Hours can vary for security guards, since their job often goes beyond the normal 9-to-5 working hours of most people. For instance, a guard might have to cover an overnight shift when few others, if any, are on premises. The idea is that a night guard patrols an area to make sure nothing unusual is taking place. Other guard shifts can occur during very busy times in places like retail stores where one guard might come into contact with hundreds of people per shift. Being flexible and adaptable to various situations is an important part of the job.
As with life in general, security guard work can involve some very intense times followed by other times when it seems like not much is happening. Therefore, it’s important to stay mentally and physically alert at all times during a shift in order to always be aware of what’s going on with the people and places you’re guarding. Certain jobs will have a team of guards on duty. This is a chance to build some camaraderie, while also switching up positions as needed for variety.
A security guard is not a police officer. If and when the police are needed to arrest a criminal, the security guard needs to call for proper back-up. Otherwise, a security guard’s main focus is to diffuse potentially violent situations wherever they may be, as well as notice anything suspicious that could cause others–or the company–some sort of harm.
Much like big brothers often watch out for their little brothers on the school playground, a security guard plays a very important role in today’s society. Just the presence of security gives people a sense of safety and security, putting them more at ease than the times when no security is around, “on-guard.”