A False Sense of Authority

Dear Diary,

A few days ago, I was in a Target store when I noticed that the security guard wore a pair of handcuffs on his belt. I couldn’t believe the balls on this guy! He believes that he has the authority to shackle someone with handcuffs! He’s not a police officer or any type of law enforcement. He’s a store employee. He’s a stock boy who was issued a uniform. If he says “Put your hands behind your back” you can say no and there’s absolutely nothing he can do about it except call the real police. The best he could do would be to attempt to physically wrestle you to the floor and then somehow try to get those handcuffs on you while you’re punching him in the face. Basically, he’d have to start a fight which is a tall order for someone being paid by the hour. I’m pretty sure Target doesn’t give them MMA training as part of the security guard position.

An unarmed security guard is one of those jobs out there that bestow upon their workers a false sense of authority. Another are flight attendants. Flight attendants believe they are the first line of defense in an imaginary battle against the airline customer. Like the handcuffs on the Target guard’s belt, their weapon is that they can kick people off the airplane for just looking at them wrong. Their job is essentially to serve drinks, snacks and to pick up trash, but thanks to 9-11, they now have the ability to inconvenience your travel plans.

Unarmed security guards and flight attendant seem like jobs that only high school or college students should have. Not an adult in their 30′s or 40′s. They’re jobs for children who are yet to be skilled in any other profession like cashiers working at McDonald’s or in a grocery store. Like fast food workers, their jobs that require minimal skill or thinking and they require a uniform. Any adult with options wouldn’t work these jobs. I was on a flight and the flight attendant looked to be in her 40′s. I couldn’t help but think “Wow. THIS is it for you.” It’s not like they climb the corporate ladder and get promoted to pilot or CEO of the airline. Outside of the airline industry, the job skills of a flight attendant translate to just below that of a really bad waitress.

There should be an age cap on these positions. You should not be allowed to be an unarmed security guard or flight attendant after the age of 25 unless it’s court ordered as a punishment. Save these positions for kids looking for summer jobs or working their way through college. You can explain to your kids how you had to serve peanuts and small cups of soda to passengers back and forth to Dallas and you still made it to class and did your homework. Maybe you’ll tell the story of how you finished your Master’s thesis while keeping an eye out for shoplifters during the Thanksgiving and Christmas busy seasons. Then when I see security guards and flight attendants, instead of pity, I’ll see hope. This is not the end for these kids. This horrible job is just one of the way stations on to something better in life instead of being the final destination.