In 2017, I had the best winning streak in working security jobs that anyone could ever ask for. Picking an industry which is in demand and with a big turn over rate made it that much easier finding work, and I always moved forward and never backwards, but here is what I learned about the the workforce as a millennial.
Millennials have been characterized and misportrayed as lazy, stubborn, incompetent, and unappreciative workers, unable to keep a full-time job which they can commit too. At face value, I can see how someone may perceive someone such as myself as the epitome of the Millennial worker stereotype. In my 34 years, I have had 21 official jobs with different employers. None of them lasted more than a year and a half, and although any work experience is valuable experience, I can’t say that I am currently pursuing a career path which is in any way remotely close to the kind of jobs I’ve worked previously. In between some of those jobs, I have moved back in with my parents on several occasions, and have even quit a few jobs before even actually starting them.
This is my story, on how I worked 8 different jobs in just one year, and what I learned about the current job market in the U.S.
December, 2016 I moved to Reno, Nevada, touted as “The Biggest Little City” in the world, and a “Welcoming City.” What originally brought me to Reno was work at the Reno-Tahoe Airport as a TSO (Transportation Security Officer) for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration. Most of the folks I worked with were of my generation, that is, Millennials. And like myself, most were hired on part-time, thus, had to supplement not having full-time work with the TSA by working multiple jobs.
Reno is a Casino town, and Nevada is not a worker friendly state like California. Casino’s, and many companies in Reno alike, suppress employee wages, thus, is the only way some employers can stay in business as they continue to make profit at their employees expense. The average income for an individual Reno city resident is $26,352, which is approximately 7.5% below than the national average in the U.S. So how do Millennials fit in to the picture? Let’s take a look further to find out.
There is a recent article by Forbes titled “49% Of Millennials Would Quit Their Job Within 2 Years,” which highlights the this trend, which is not limited to just the United States, but is a worldwide phenomenon. Before I proceed with my story, I have to say that with the advent of the internet, people are smartening up. Data and analytics have made investigating the truth much easier, and let’s keep it real, Millennials have grown up on advertising and commercials, so we have a pretty good bullshit radar, thus, in many ways have become emotionally desensitized to the superficial appeal of a given situation, with work and jobs being a prime example.
If you are looking for work in security (and/or casinos), then Reno’s the place to be. But don’t expect much, as the starting pay for entry security jobs is $12-$16/hour, with casinos offering roughly the same, however, with casinos you’re looking at more options in terms of the different job descriptions which are available.
So why are there so many security job opportunities in Reno? The answer is simple. Crime is rampant. And becoming a Security Officer is a matter of taking an open book security licensing exam, and paying a small fee to the State of Nevada. If you are looking at working armed security, then the additional requirement is a 3 day firearms training course, and firearms proficiency qualification, which will cost an additional fee, and after completion Security Officers will receive an armed Security Guard license for which guards must re-qualify every 6 months.
Reno city crime is said to be 19% higher than the rest of Nevada. Surprisingly, one of the best paying jobs in Nevada which requires absolutely no real job experience would be as a Correctional Officer for the State of Nevada’s Department of Corrections. I know because I used to work there. Crime is big business. And in 2016, Reno’s violent crime rate was 76.82% above the national average, with property crime exceeding the national average by a whooping 32.36%. What a great town.
Because I was hired on part-time only with the TSA, I took on an additional security job which was on-call, with ESI Security Services. At that time, ESI was paying $9/hour for unarmed security officers. For the kind of work security officers were doing, this was low. I mean, really low. But what do you expect? After all, Mike Hindi, the owner of the company is so cheap that he was giving out free boxes of expired girl scout cookies during orientation. Really goes to show ya’ his appreciation and value for his employees.
I would continue to work at the TSA and ESI both, until early 2017. I quit ESI sometime January, 2017, and got a job with Martin-Ross Security, starting out at $11/hour, and while still working at the TSA. Martin-Ross Security is a great company, however, I was given posts at various McDonald’s locations in Reno, Nevada, which also made my work schedule with the TSA difficult as I had to split up my sleep schedule, only getting 4 hours of sleep at a time (if I was lucky).
Apparently, McDonald’s needs security presence because one of their employees screwed up a customer’s order at the drive through, which resulted in the McDonald’s employee getting pulled from the drive through window and getting his ass kicked. What a great town. I quit Martin-Ross Security after about 3-weeks.
Being the TSA only hired me part-time, and there was no indication that I would work full-time anytime soon, I quit the TSA in February, 2017, but made sure I secured a full-time gig as a Bank Protection Officer at a company called G4S Secure Solutions, Inc., formerly known as The Wackenhut Corporation, and under contract with Bank of America. The Bank Protection Officer job was an armed security guard position, starting out at $13.30/hour. The job was boring, which is good, because that means I got to stand around and do absolutely nothing other than “Observe and Report.” But after a while of standing in front of a bank with a .38 special revolver on my hip, working 8 hours a day and 5 days a week, sometimes 6, acting as a deterrent to bank robbers, you get tired of not doing anything and begin to yearn for more action. So, I quit that after about 4 months.
I wanted action, so…I found it, with a security company known as Securitas AB, and working as an armed Mobile Patrol Captain. I took a .30 cent pay cut because I wanted to work mobile patrol, which was $13/hour. This was by far the best security job I had ever had, as I spent 8 hours a day driving around to some 30–40 properties, ensuring everything was secure. This involved observe and report, responding to burglary alarms, issuing trespass advisement to unwanted vagrants, escorts for ATM technicians, mobile and foot patrol, locking/unlocking businesses, responding to noise disturbances in gated apartment complexes, and other security related work.
Though the job was mainly officer presence, the company wanted to make sure we were doing the work, so they had this great idea to post QR Code stickers in designated areas all around properties which were instructed to visit. Security Officers were expected to get out of their patrol vehicle and scan each and every barcode with their company issued phone, which was equip with an app called “Patrol Live.” This lets the client and the bossman know that security was doing their job, as if there was no way of faking a QR Code scan. What I am saying is that, given the workload, not everyone would scan the QR Code.
My boss at the time, Paul Mikesell, was actually a pretty cool guy. He didn’t care so long as we got the job done, and he didn’t receive any complaints from the clients. The truth about most security companies, especially big ones like G4S and Securitas, is that their people at corporate, who don’t understand the nature of security work, tend to have unrealistic expectations from their smaller offices, like the one in Reno. Inadequate staffing, combined with work overload, does place unnecessary pressure on Security Officers who are already underpaid and overworked. This is why some security officers may appear to be disgruntled, though their really not. They’re just tired.
I liked working Securitas, but when you’re working a tight schedule where you feel as though you’re constantly being rushed, you eventually ask yourself, “is the money worth the hassle?” So, I started searching for another job, and I found several. I began talks with a security company out of California known as Comprehensive Security Services, Inc., who was at that time in process of getting a government contract to work for the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Carson City, Nevada. The contract didn’t seem promising, so I didn’t bank on it, but kept in touch them. In the meantime, I got the silly idea to take on a second full-time job as a Armored Truck Driver/Money Messenger, all the while working mobile patrol for Securitas. Working two jobs back to back which involve driving is a no no. I found this out the hard way.
So, I got a job with Garda. Probably the worst company you can work for in Reno, Nevada. Even worse than ESI. This is because the position starts at $13/hour, with no overtime, which is illegal as per the labor law, and requires driving a big armored truck, sometimes as far as Fernley, Nevada, where I almost flipped the armored truck I was driving. And that is why you don’t work two jobs back to back which involve driving for 8 hours at a time.
What really made Garda so bad, is that you are constantly on the go, just like mobile patrol, except you’re driving an armored truck that’s full of someone else’s money. Up to the tune of a quarter million dollars at a time, all the while risking your life at $13/hour. Just doesn’t make sense, you know? So, I quit that job after working 2 days, and almost flipping the armored truck over in Fernley. That would’ve been good day for someone, because there would’ve been money flying around all over the place.
For my two days working at Garda, I would finish my route in the evening, about 5pm, and head straight to my job at mobile patrol. This was a tedious task, but I managed, and since my boss usually left the office before I would normally get to work anyways, I could show up to work late without having to worry about getting bitched at. Besides, Paul was cool and never gave me a hard time anyways because he knew he can count on me to get my patrol done the way he expected.
After I quit Garda, it was only a matter of several weeks before I would resign from working mobile patrol at Securitas. This was because the folks at Comprehensive Security Services had gotten a go ahead on the FEMA contract, and I was hired on as a Federal Protection Officer and given a start date for later that same month. So, I quit Securitas.
Working the FEMA contract started out at $22.59/hour. This was the most I had ever made working security, and to think that just 1 year prior I was still working at ESI for $9/hour. The only thing about working a government contract, especially for FEMA, was that there was no guarantee that the contract would continue for as long as previously projected. The thing about working government contracts is that they pay really well because the government just wants the job done. Downside is, that government agencies like FEMA move fast, and especially so when they’re working disaster relief, as the nature of disaster relief is unpredictable, and revolves around a budget. I can’t say for sure, but word was going around that FEMA was spending some $2 million dollars per month just renting out a couple of conjoined empty businesses in Carson City, Nevada, to use for their call center operations. My job as Security was nothing more than Officer Presence, Observe and Report, Access Control, and Foot Patrol. But mostly, we just stood and sat around, told jokes and had a good time. Really enjoyed working that post, as I got to meet and spend time with some really great people.
The thing about working more, is you make more money. And when you work so much that you spend more time at work than you do at home, you spend more money too. Now, FEMA was good to me in that the job paid well, and I had the option of signing up for all the overtime that I wanted. I was working so much that one would think FEMA was my home, which in a way I guess it kinda’ was.
All of us Security Officers who were hired on to work the FEMA contract were told that the job could possibly last up to 1 year, but would most likely go on for 6 months, and was guaranteed at least for 2 months, with the a renewal of the contract after 4 months. Yea, that’s what I said. And that is why government contracts are unreliable, as although they pay well, you never really know how long the contract is going to be. In this case, the contract lasted barely 2 months.
I didn’t waste any time at FEMA, and had several future job prospects lined up already. I remember I even got a job with a small security company called Triumph Protection Group, while still working FEMA, for which I was hired on at $25/hour for an upcoming construction site security post in Incline Village, Nevada, but had resigned before even starting the job due to not being able to attend the orientation and training because of the snow storm that had hit Lake Tahoe at that time. That was my 8th job for that year, as I was hired on December, 2017.
The FEMA contract had come to an end sometime January 8th, 2018. I had security work lined up with Allied Universal, which would’ve been my 9th job if I was officially hired on in 2017, so I’ll have to talk about that experience in another article, as that was a whole other chapter of my life which we won’t get into at the moment.
The security hustle is real. And as the saying goes, “easy come, easy go,” that seems to be true for security work, as contracts and people are always changing, and thus so are the employees. And let’s be real, after a while, the job becomes about how much money you can make, so it is only inevitable that people get on the grind and start making some real moves with the intent of leaving their current situation behind, as that could be the very thing that’s holding you back in the first place.
So did I learn anything about the job market in 2017? The answer is yes. I learned that our work experiences help shape us into who we will become in the future, and although not all jobs are for everyone, such are there for the time being to teach us a life lesson. In a strange way, we don’t pick our occupation, our occupation picks us, even if it is a temporary job that we work for the time being.
What I learned about the job market, from a Millennials perspective is; new generations are getting smarter, and realizing that there was a time in America that you could work a regular mediocre job, or several jobs, and have your car, mortgage, and college tuition all paid off within several years. This doesn’t seem to be so in our current times, and it’s not that there isn’t enough wealth, but rather a vast gap between the haves and have not’s, with just a small collective hogging up the prosperity, all the while those who have been selected by public opinion to be the stewards of our society have exploited their governmental positions for their own personal gain by using our political system to build bridges between public office and the private sector, further placing the average person at an economic disadvantage.
Millennials have this figured out. That’s why we don’t get too emotionally attached to work, and the fairy tales of working mediocre jobs were you clock-in, clock-out, and collect a paycheck while making somebody else rich is just unrealistic. The workplace environment has become more about socializing than doing the actual work anyways, which I find to be disturbing as that means that there are some underlying issues in a work environment which would cause for people to take their job less seriously, and resort to pow-wow’s with co-workers as a form of escapism from the harsh reality that your job probably sucks.
Being able to recognize the trajectory of where our society may be headed, which is becoming more and more reminiscent of George Orwell’s “1984” or Thea von Harbou’s “Metropolis,” is the first step to bringing about social equality by restoring our Free Market back to what it was initially designed to be, which is why America has always thrived and succeeded in industry and business, as our system gave a fair advantage to all people, individual persons and companies alike, and neither had more leverage over another under the rules which have over the years changed and become more rigid and complex, and more favorable to big companies, and less favorable to individual workers.
This is why we hear stories of Millennials quitting their jobs and moving back in with their parents so they can start their own businesses, and become their own boss. As in our current job market, there is no shortage of jobs, just people that don’t want to work, either because they are under qualified, or overqualified, the jobs are plenty; offering low wages, minimal benefits, and a future destined to be full of the same repetition and boring routine, whereby after awhile you just become a zombie, and if you don’t already drink alcohol, you will eventually, as drinking becomes your only safety net to catch you in case you fall while climbing up the corporate latter.
So on that note, get a skill and find a trade which is on demand, learn it well, and once you catch the wave, ride it all the way to the shore, because your worth and value is just to precious to waste on becoming another mindless drone, just waiting to get in line with everyone else so you can go through the meat grinder, you know, “Another Brick in the Wall” by Pink Floyd.