Security job: Contract Manager, CIS, University of London
I started working as a security officer whilst studying for a degree in Decision Analysis and IT. I got a summer job at a large local brewery and ended up being promoted to supervisor there after I saved hundreds of thousands of pounds by working out systems weaknesses that unscrupulous employees were exploiting in the picking systems!
I moved on to a couple of roles working as security manager, including at one of the UK’s biggest retail and lifestyle destinations. I was also enrolled on a management programme. I’ve been lucky to have good training, excellent personal mentoring (which I feel is really important for confidence building) and good experience in how modern, corporate security is managed. I worked briefly as a commercial manager for one of the “big four” supermarket brands, giving me an essential grounding in retail, before I got a job working in security again at one of London’s biggest airports. There I was promoted to terminal security manager before getting my current job here with CIS at Goldsmiths’ University of London.
My current role is so varied; managing people throws up some great challenges and is very rewarding. I really believe relationship development with the client and end users is a big part of my day-to-day work. I’m really big into delivering results, having something to show for my hard work. My studies gave me a taste for data analysis and unless I am seeing real, tangible improvement, I know it’s time to go back to the drawing board. Sometimes this requires a cultural change or changing people’s mindsets, which is one of the more challenging things to do.
There are endless opportunities in this industry. My top tip would be to specialise in an area and become a thought leader by researching and demonstrating an appetite for knowledge and innovation. A good grounding is, of course, essential at entry level and that can be achieved by working as an officer for a while. This is a really enjoyable job in terms of the variety but it can be overwhelming too. Keeping healthy in body and mind is vital to do the job well, so fresh air with friends and family is my recommendation for managing the swan metaphor: speedily paddling away while smiling elegantly above the water’s surface!