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I Am A Security Guard: Goodbye

About two years ago, I completed the company's job application. A human resources staffer liked what he read and asked me to stop by the store on a Saturday afternoon.

I did not keep the appointment. Instead, I called in a fake ankle injury and spent the day competing in a softball tournament. Besides, I had a temp office gig at an advertising firm and figured I could coast with that for a spell.

That was a bad assumption. A few days later, a supervisor unceremoniously canned me.

While suffering shock, I stumbled to the Harold Washington Library to search for another job. I nearly cried while thinking about my arrogance and stupidity. I logged onto a computer to peek at jobs on Craigslist, hoping for a miracle.

Someone must have prayed for me that day. A miracle did take place. Within minutes, my cell phone rang. The same staffer who liked me had called back. He asked me to stop by the store the next day. I jumped at the opportunity as though it were the last lifeboat on the Titanic.

During a brief chat in the main office, he told me the job paid minimum wage and required me to stand for eight hours on third shift. I gladly accepted. He gave me a schedule. I arrived for work two days later, meeting Pitbull, and plunged into retail security.

During my time at the store, I forged some new friendships, made some enemies, gained additional life experience, and kept a roof over my head. Despite my occasional screw-ups, I tried my best to serve the store and its customers. Somehow, I never got a bad evaluation. My thanks to the co-workers and customers who helped me survive the job.

After two years, it's time to move on. A man who got my resume one year ago called me about an office job. We had a great interview. He hired me. The job provides slightly more money and a 9 to 5 schedule. The new work day will allow me to return to school.

Funny how the job-hunting process works. One interview went south after I refused to carry a gun. Two other interviews did not generate a return phone call. One man scheduled an interview and did not bother to show up for the appointment. I had traveled almost two hours for the session.

The idea that someone would call me after holding my resume for a year sounds almost too good to be true. I'm grateful for the new opportunity.

In addition, this is my final security piece. I want to thank Steve Rhodes, the Beachwood Reporter's owner, and the readers of this column.

I had been searching for a new job, but had some mixed emotions about leaving the store. I had to bid farewell to some co-workers I had considered good friends. As the final day approached, I felt some dread about having to say goodbye. I did not want any drama or a maudlin scene like something from a sitcom finale.

Luckily, the last shift did not generate any excitement. Just after I took my post, I said goodbye to Pitbull. We shook hands. He left shortly afterward.

A few hours later, I bought pizza for the night crew. First, the Cool Cashier and Raquel ate in the breakroom. Afterward, I noshed and chatted with the Cool Assistant Manager. With about 20 minutes left in the shift, I said my final goodbyes to everyone. Raquel gave me a card that said I would be missed.

As I left the store and walked to the bus stop, I knew that I would miss them too.

-

Until recently, a very pseudononymous Jerome Haller earned rent money as a security guard for a large, publicly-held retail chain. He still welcomes your comments.

-

See more tales of security guarding, pizzeria waitressing, barista-ing and office drudgering in our Life at Work collection.



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Posted on July 17, 2011


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