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Working as a Security Guard

From janitor to translator, Paul has had many jobs in his lifetime. Real estate agent, laborer, and security guard have been interesting.

A Security Guard


Working as a Security Guard

In the late summer and fall of 1979, I worked as a security guard in Toledo, Ohio. At this time of my life, it was difficult finding other employment, and I was happy to find minimum-wage work. For three months, I worked nights primarily as an industrial security guard. Details of how I became a security guard and my job assignments are noted in this article.

How I Became a Security Guard

In the middle of July 1979, I had just returned to the United States from six years of living in Taiwan. I was accompanied by my Taiwanese wife and son who were anxious to live in America. Little did they know at the time that life would be tough and challenging until I secured employment with the federal government in December 1980.

After a two-week visit with my parents on a farm in Wisconsin, I headed to Madison and the University of Wisconsin in my used 1971 Dodge Polara which I had purchased for $500. I remember staying with my family for about three to five days in the old Alpha Chi Sigma fraternity house which then housed coeds. I planned to possibly find work at the University or line up work as a translator at the United Nations.

When neither plan worked out, I drove with my family to Adrian, Michigan, to visit my old college roommate. Jeff was working in a small chemical company in Adrian, and I thought he could help me find a job as a chemist with his company.

Jeff did the best he could, but his boss Andy was not hiring. At the suggestion of my friend, I drove 30 miles south to Toledo, Ohio, and visited the state of Ohio Job Placement Service. While being interviewed by a job placement officer, I learned to my dismay that my Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry awarded in 1966 and one semester of graduate work in chemistry were now worth only one year of college chemistry. Unfortunately, I had never worked in the chemical field since leaving college in February of 1967.

The bad news at my job placement interview that morning was followed by the even worse news when I returned to Adrian later that afternoon. I returned just in time to see my son lying on the side of the road with a badly broken left arm. Mike was transported by ambulance to a public hospital in Toledo and my situation was getting worse and worse.

I was in an unfamiliar city with no job, a badly injured son, and a foreign wife new to the United States. After spending a night sleeping in my car, one of Jeff's friends helped my wife and me find temporary lodging with an unmarried woman in South Toledo. At the same time, I was searching through the help wanted ads of the Toledo Blade hoping to find any kind of work.

Finally, I found a listing for a security guard wanted by Intercontinental Security Service. Although the job only paid a minimum wage which was $1.95 per hour, it didn't require any previous experience.

Right after reading the ad, I drove down to Intercontinental's office in downtown Toledo and applied for a job. After filling out some forms, I was hired on the spot, given a badge and company shirt, and told to report to my first assignment at 11:00 p.m. that evening.

Third Shift at Art Iron in North Toledo

My first job assignment was at Art Iron, a small iron, and steel plant in North Toledo. Upon arriving a little before 11:00 p.m., a supervisor met me and explained my job responsibilities. I was responsible for guarding the interior of a small warehouse. In making sure that I patrolled all around the warehouse, I was given a time clock that had a card enclosed inside. Once an hour, I had to visit about six to eight stations around the warehouse, and at each station stick the key from the station into my time clock. This only took 10-15 minutes. During the remainder of the hour, I could sit in an office in an adjoining building and call the company once an hour. It was an easy boring job that lasted until 7:00 a.m. I was not armed with a club or gun.

Third Shift at Vroman Foods

After a few weeks at Art Iron, I was transferred for duty to Vroman Foods in West Toledo in mid-September 1979. My job responsibility there was to guard on weekends five to ten ice cream containers parked outside in the company lot. I would fulfill my duty by inserting keys at the various containers and checkpoints along the perimeter into my time clock and by also recording the temperatures of the containers. Patrolling the containers and periphery only took about 15 minutes. In keeping warm, I would have to sit in my car and run the heater. One benefit of the job was being able to eat all of the ice creams I wanted. Once again, I worked from 11 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. and I was unarmed.

Other Security Job Assignments

During my last month employed as a security guard, I had an assignment guarding a personal estate and also one patrolling a Catholic Church parking lot in East Toledo.

On weekends from 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. for two weeks, I was assigned to guard a big estate in a northwest suburban area of Toledo. Once an hour I had to walk around the periphery of the estate and then call in an hourly status report by radio. When not patrolling on foot, I sat and kept warm in my car.

My last assignment was patrolling a Catholic Church parking lot in East Toledo on Mondays from 6:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. On Monday the Catholic Church there ran Bingo games in the church basement hall. When I started this assignment, I was replacing a security guard who was working for a different security company. I was shocked to see him armed with a big club and a 45-caliber weapon. I reported unarmed without even a club. Fortunately, the only problem I ever had was breaking up a fight between two women in the bingo hall.


For one month, I did security guard work full-time until I started an ESL daytime job in Toledo. Then I only worked weekends and some weekday evenings until the end of November 1979.

My experiences as a security guard were interesting, but thankfully it was a job I only had to do for a short time. Surprisingly, I never felt like my life was endangered while on duty.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2015 Paul Richard Kuehn

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Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on January 12, 2016:

The experience did make me stronger, and I am happy that I survived it.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on November 23, 2015:

Apart from the low wages (which I do not intend to downplay), it seems that the assignment didn't do anything gravely negative to you; and they say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Glad you survived it without incident.

Korneliya Yonkova from Cork, Ireland on September 10, 2015:

Oh, you really have had interesting experience. I have a friend who is working as a security guard. This profession is really dangerous and not enough paid. It is good that you have not worked a long time. :)

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on July 07, 2015:

I would think that most people today would not seek a job as a security guard. These jobs are probably still low paying and a lot more dangerous today than they were years ago. Thanks for voting up, pinning, and sharing with followers!

C E Clark from North Texas on July 07, 2015:

Good information for those people seeking a similar job. I think most security jobs are boring, but some jobs really are best if they're boring. You wouldn't really have wanted a lot go excitement because it might have meant someone getting hurt, etc.

When I worked with large vehicles I was always glad for a boring day. That meant no breakdowns, no student or rider issues, no accidents, no injuries, no problems.

Voted up, pinned to Awesome HubPages, and shared with followers.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on July 05, 2015:

Mary, I am happy to see that you enjoyed this hub. It seems that throughout my life I have been more of a jack of all trades rather than a master of one.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on July 03, 2015:

Yes, being a security guard is really a thankless job. Thanks for your comment and I'm glad you liked this hub.

Mary Craig from New York on June 30, 2015:

You have certainly led an interesting life. Yes, interesting. How many security guards do you know? As Larry commented it is a thankless job and yet so necessary. Another notch in your belt Paul.

Voted up, useful, and interesting.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on June 29, 2015:

Thanks for your comment Larry! Yes, being a security guard is an important but usually a thankless job. Thank God I was never in any danger.

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on June 29, 2015:

Another of a long list of important and thankless jobs.

Great hub!

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