Conversations at Work
I work as a security officer in a gated community. Communication is vital. Communicating is the way one relates to people and my job is all about people. A security officer’s main focus is to protect and serve. One way that I serve is to process incoming traffic at a greeter’s cottage. The residents and visitors give you their name and then I check it against a database. If their name is in the database they get through. If the name isn’t in the database I have to call on the telephone to verify they are allowed entrance. It seems simple enough.
Some of the residents have names that I can only vaguely recognize even after almost two years of working at the gate. These people come from another part of the world and speak a strange dialect that is still strange when they speak English. Trying to understand them is almost impossible. Mr. Abejanieeath is a pleasant person. He was having a party of about 50 people at his home one Saturday night. When the guests entered the property I checked their name against their driver’s license. Simple enough except for a few that were not on the list. One of the guests, Mr. Xathevatb, was not on the list, so I had to call Mr. Abejanieeath’s home. “Hello, this is the security gate and I have a visitor named Xathevatb.”
The reply, “What?”
“Excuse me I have a visitor to your party named, I believe, Xanthevatb.”
“I think you have the wrong number. I am having a party but I don’t know anyone by that name. Ask him if he knows Bajeen Dehpith?”
Turning to the visitor I ask him, “Excuse me, sir, do you know Bajeen Dehpith?”
“That is my cousin.”
“He says that Bajeen is his cousin.”
“Very good send him in, he is related to my wife’s sister.”
Communications is also very important on patrol. One of the noted tasks of a security officer is to keep track of who, what, why, when, and where. While on patrol I met several young men in high school trespassing on the property. The men were walking in an area where there weren’t any houses, only dimly lit street lamps. Why they were there could only be given as a mistake on their part. In the process of questioning I had to write down who they were, where they lived, what age they were, why they were on the property, and their telephone numbers. We wanted the kids scared so they wouldn’t come back on property again. If they did come back on property they knew we would call their parents. After getting all the information I could, I escorted them off the property and let them crawl back over the fence from whence they came.
Communication also carries the weight of humility. In our gated community like others across the United States the residents are prone to go above and beyond the speed limit. My job is to stop speeders and get them to drive within the speed limit. This is a challenging task. Many residents don’t consider it worth their time to heed a security officer. Some residents smile, wave, and keep driving. When I do get a resident to stop, sometimes they say, “Hurry up with a citation, I’m late.”
One resident said, “Why me? You are always picking on me?” I didn’t dare tell her if she drove near the speed limit she would never see a security officer near her car again.
One resident screamed, “If I miss my appointment you are going to pay for it.” The best way to handle a situation like that is to say, “Yes, sir” and hope they make their appointment.
Security Officers often handle disputes. A neighbor, the Browns, was having a party after 10:30 at night with loud music blaring outside. The Jones, their next door neighbor, called Security threatening to call the cops if the music didn’t stop. I,then, have to tell the Browns to turn down the music. After a few minutes after knocking on the Brown’s front door a man comes to the door. He tells me, “I’ll tell Mr. Brown Security is here. After a few moments the music is turned down. The man returns to the door and says, “We’ll keep it cool for the rest of the night.”
Communication can get heated if it’s face to face.
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