Career Advice

Just like law enforcement, or any first responder role, security is a 24/7, 365 gig.

You will find that most security opportunities are for night or swing shifts, especially if you’re just entering the field or are a new member of a professional security team.

Staying awake and alert can be difficult if you’re acclimating to a new shift schedule. Sleeping on the job is not only wrong, but also a massive safety breach. You are putting yourself and others at risk if you doze off.

Here are a few tips to help you devise a plan to stay healthy and productive while working alternative shifts.

1. Stick to a routine.
Create a schedule for yourself that includes self-care (i.e., time for rest, exercise, family/friends) and stick to it. Try to keep your schedule consistent if possible.

2. Get your tribe on board.
Make sure your family and friends are on board with your schedule. For example, try to find a daily meal or ritual you can share to stay connected on the days you work. Sharing sleep and work schedules can also be helpful in allowing your people to support your career.

3. Prioritize Sleep.
Create an environment that is conducive to a consistent 7-9 hours of sleep per day. Utilize things like blackout curtains, cozy bedding, noise machines, eye masks, and relaxation techniques if you struggle with daytime sleeping. It is also recommended to abstain from the use of electronic items before retiring. Don’t forfeit necessary sleep for short term gratification.

4. Eat Healthy
When working alternative schedules, it’s easy to reach for fast or unhealthy food options, especially if we’re tired or stressed. It’s beneficial to meal prep and pack a wholesome “lunch” for your shift to keep your energy steady throughout. Your sustenance should include items such as protein, vegetables, whole grains, and whole fruit. Snacks such as trail mix, nuts, energy, and granola bars are also good choices to avoid sugar crashes.

5. Stay Hydrated
Experts recommend 11 cups (88oz) of water per day for the average woman, and 16 cups (128oz) for the average man. We all know our bodies are mostly water and it benefits us to drink the recommended amount to ensure our organs and bodily systems are functioning properly. However, many of us fall short, consuming excessive amounts of coffee, sugary and energy drinks causing an inevitable crash and ultimately dehydration. Don’t depend on these items to stay energized and alert.  

6. Walk, Observe, and Report
Stay alert, active, and physical while on shift. Walking, observing, and documenting hourly events should be enough to keep a professional awake and aware.

7. Phone a friend
If all else has failed and you cannot stay awake, call your supervisor. Be honest. It’s better than getting caught sleeping on the job or worse, somebody getting hurt.

Don’t be discouraged by a lack of experience

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Denver Metro Security Inc., hires, trains, and licenses armed security professionals. We’ve noticed the types of individuals that excel within our security culture align with values of Integrity, Respect, and Vigilance. We generally hire individuals that come to us with at least 6 months of armed security experience and are at least 21 years of age. We feel extremely lucky to have former law enforcement officers on staff, as well as longtime security professionals, including veterans, to mentor our growing team. While individuals often come to us with previous, impressive security experience, attitude often trumps aptitude when making hiring decisions.

Don’t be discouraged by a lack of experience if you are just starting out. We’ve had plenty of individuals come to us with aspirations of starting a career in security or law enforcement with no prior experience.

If you’re interested in security as a profession, but have no idea where to begin, our Commander suggests you become familiar with the Use of Force Continuum. Furthermore, security services can be performed either armed or unarmed. DMS chooses to endorse and staff for armed security work. If you are aiming to apply for an armed security role within DMS Inc., you must be able to qualify on the range with a Glock19, 9MM handgun.  Hint: It’s generally a good idea to obtain your Colorado Conceal Carry (CCW) Permit before applying.

Customer service is the backbone of our business. De-escalation tactics and respect are what drive our mission to systematically reduce risk and provide safe and secure environments. Having experience working with the public and utilizing de-escalation tactics are sought after skillsets and can be obtained through multiple, different roles and utilized in diverse situations.

Furthermore, it’s always a good idea to speak with the real deal. If you’re in high school, join the ROTC, speak with your local first responders, and make friends with people in the field. Get real world accounts of the job and an idea of what it means to wear a uniform, protecting people and property.

Good luck!