February 12, 2015
At my freshman residence hall at Fordham University, there are three security officers who rotate nights on duty through the week. They relieve the student-worker desk assistants at 10 p.m. every night, and don’t leave until 6 a.m. the next morning. Passing them every night with a friendly hello doesn’t feel like enough. So unable to sleep on a cold February night, I paid a visit around 1:30 a.m. to the security guard on duty. She immediately said, “I hope you’re not going outside like that,” referring to my outfit choice: a t-shirt and sandals. Asking that I not share her name online, she kindly began sharing her story with me.
She has been a security officer for nearly sixteen years and has worked at multiple different sites, including hospitals and commercial office buildings. She was with one company for many years, but it merged with another; she has been with the company that supplies Fordham University’s security officers for three years now. Fordham is her first time working school campus facilities and she has held her position for five months and one week.
While humbly acknowledging her position as “the baby” on the Fordham team, she is looking to work her way up the ladder to leadership roles similar to the ones she held in past jobs. She considers her position a good one, and it doesn’t hurt that her home is only five bus stops away. Overall, she’s happy working at Fordham. She enjoys the privileges of her position and the opportunity to work toward more. She also gets along well her co-workers and her supervisors.
A little hesitant at first about what to share, she broke into stride and an easy smile when she began talking about her affinity for interacting with people. While she prided herself on being alert and unafraid to intervene when kids get inappropriately loud in the dorm or begin misbehaving in any other sense, I think what makes her a good security guard is that she sincerely cares for the well-being of other people. She lit up when talking about the importance of reciprocal respect with students and making sure they trust her, no matter the situation. She’s always open to listening to students who want to share their problems and thinks it’s really dangerous when kids hide what they’re going through.
As a grandmother of a couple of teenagers, she understands how someone can only guess what kids are going through; it’s impossible to truly know without their willingness to share. She likes that she switches her shifts between one freshman dorm and two sophomore dorms, since she gets to know more students that way. She called it exciting to work here because she gets to see college in a way that she normally only sees on TV. She admitted that changing her routines has been a little difficult, but noted that adjustment is a part of life. She is coming along on the new sleep schedule, which is very different from that of her previous 4PM to 12AM job.
She feels lucky the position at Fordham was open and she was able to go straight into a five-day work schedule. But it was probably more than luck. Her experience, her credentials, and the fulfillment she feels from protecting us students (usually from our own foolishness) make her the best woman for the job. I think she put it best when she smiled and said, “Interacting with people… It’s in my nature.”