It has been a couple of months since I last wrote a post. This one is more of a public service announcement more then anything else. After taking some time, to adjust to the change in seasons, recover from an early bout of flu, interstate travel, taking care of my mother and finalising my two books that have been in the pipeline since 2016, I felt it extremely important to say this.
Given, what has been happening as of late in Melbourne, and the latest incident at a popular Melbourne nightclub, where one security guard was fatally shot, it begins to raise questions as to why the security industry is beginning to change, and people who work in it are now wondering if it is really worth it? Here the delightful Fifi Box and Fev, finally shed a light on the situation. Thanks for finally addressing my concerns.
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I guess it stems down to a couple of factors really. Experience, definitely comes into it but also I am starting to wonder if those that work in it are just tired of the continual disrespect that they face. I understand in any industry there is always good and bad, but for the first time in a long time, I was considering cutting up my security licence permanently. One of the proudest days, of my life was when I first became licensed. It opened up so many opportunities for me, and I relished the job 'warts and all' That was almost a decade ago.
A guard who I have been mentoring for the last 3 years, rang me to work at a moments notice and I would normally leap at the chance to work with him. He is funny, he is thoughtful, punctual, and most importantly interested in progressing, and he isn't even 21. The workplace that I trained him from, has undergone some major changes of management, and the venue is a lot more inviting, they are adopting safer practices regarding RSA, there is less focus on 'penny pinching' regarding the operations of the venue, payment of staff is on a regular basis and frequency, but most importantly people are focusing on having a good time, as opposed to starting trouble.
It is amazing, when a change of management finally understand the important role a security guard plays. Morale, certainly is boosted, confidence is instilled that the work is on going and once that often happens their is a sense of pride when it comes to securing their chosen venue. The previous manager of the establishment, would think it was suitable for the lights to be turned off most of the time, charge obscene prices for bar snacks, to recoup the losses he was making on a daily basis, when there is no bookings. Plus, there was an ever changing merry go round of bartenders and more often then not, bookings would cancel and we would be sent home if no one turned up. There was no structure.
The most important thing to understand, is that everyone has a job to do, in order to make their living. Tradesmen, often get up at the crack of dawn, drive long distances and work physically hard to make your renovation or new build a reality, Child Care Workers, often spend their time studying courses so they can learn to take care of your child for the day. Truck Drivers, sometimes spend a considerable amount of time away from their family, so that you can enjoy the food you put on the dinner table.
Same goes with security personnel, there is much behind the scenes that most people aren't aware of. There is much hidden cost regarding First Aid courses, Industry Membership, Uniforms, Communication Equipment Hire plus the increasing cost of Licencing. Most people aren't aware that in other professions such as a travel agent, that if you left your Passport at home, it wouldn't make any impact on your job, and you can still earn your living. Security Licences are the equivalent of Passports. In order to sign in at any designated work place, you MUST have your licence on you, otherwise you will be sent home, much like turning up to the Airport to board the plane without your Passport.
The fact that the work often isn't seen as tangible, such as building a retaining wall, means that the work isn't often seen as actual work. Often, we are just 'standing' there or staring at screens.
I thought I would mention this because working in an industry like this, you will make friendships that are enduring. However, there needs to be some semblance between what is deemed appropriate by members of the public, and what isn't. When we are working, please understand that we have a life outside of our uniform, whatever it may be. Some of us have children to raise, some of us like playing soccer, some of us are studying a degree, some of us like working in the garden or even like to run errands on our days off. Given, our crazy scheduling, I was actually asked last night to work from 10pm to 3am. I was ready to tuck myself into bed and go to sleep, an hour before. Fortunately, the guard understood that it wasn't appropriate to ring at such short notice.
Understanding the importance of ratios, is equally important. Doing a wedding the other week, and seeing there was over 150 people in attendance was rather overwhelming. Again, I just was told where to go as the jobs were pre-booked months before. Since January I have done at least 9 weddings almost weekly at the same venue, with little fuss plus the drive itself is nothing short of amazing.
However, from a consumer point of view it is important to understand when hiring security personnel that you understand that whilst their may be an initial cost to hiring extra personnel for an event that it is a lot harder for ONE person to manage a large group of people, especially if they have been drinking heavily and are unaware that there is a requirement for security to be present after a certain time to comply with Liquor Licensing Rules and Regulations. At say $35 p/hr which is a lot higher then the required industry rate, you will likely see that the guards are more appreciative and more attentive. The old saying goes, if you pay peanuts you get monkeys.
Should you engage a company to do this they will likely add their profit margins on top of this also. This is a given, as they must also pay the guard's superannuation, wages and other penalties. Let's say you hire the guard out for say 5 hours. There is a minimum hire for 4 hours as a general rule. The total cost to the client would be for 3 guards, just shy over a $1000.
Researching a popular Australia wedding website if you read below to the middle of the page you can see how much an actual wedding cake costs to make.
How much does an average wedding cake cost?
Our cakes are priced at $500 – $750 for our wedding cake flavours and styles. A lot of our couples also order our birthday cake range as their wedding cake as it works out to be more cost effective. I have had feedback that our cakes are very well and reasonably priced compared to other cake makers in the market. We don’t want our prices to be inflated or ridiculously expensive. Weddings cost a lot of money as it is, and we would rather excess cake money spent on something like the couples honeymoon, or a deposit to their new home. Things that last beyond the day of the wedding. Sourced from www.wedshed.com.au
For an extra $300 you can hire several guards who if they have been properly trained and are familiar with their role can make your special day that much better, the only thing I ask is that if they are working that you listen to their recommendations when they are on duty. More often then not, there is a reason behind their advice. It isn't because they seek to ruin your special day it is because they have foresight. So what is more important to you? Having a beautiful wedding cake or having the day ruined by one of the guests, who have taken excessive liberty with the open bar tab? Food for thought.
Not everyone, who works in security has an ego complex. In fact, those that think it gives you 'free reign' to inflict harm on others, will soon find out the hard way that it comes back to you in some shape or form. You only get out what you put in. Take off the CC number and you can see they are like everyone else.
However, for those who work in this industry please be aware of your right to come home safely, and continue to self develop on a personal level, take some time to read a good book or go out for a trip to your local park for a walk not just because it is beneficial for your mental health, but do it because until the message gets heard by those who have the ability to make drastic changes, it will be a constant influx of personnel ending up either with deep psychological issues rendering them unemployable or worse them ending up in the obituaries.
Keep safe out there.