A phrase we have all heard throughout our lifetime. There are moments when I have believed this sentiment to be true while at other times, I have disagreed. My conclusion is that it depends. It depends on who, when, how and so on. For example, while most of the world has suffered negatively in one form or another due to effects of the present global pandemic known as Covid-19, 2020 has been an amazing year for me.
At first, I felt guilty for sharing that with others but then I thought to myself; why should I? It is not to undermine that people are passing away, losing their jobs, getting evicted, etc. But both personally and professionally I have had more progress this year than any previous year. This accomplishment is something that I am proud of and will always remember, particularly because 2020 has been filled with so much chaos and uncertainty.
For the purposes of sharing my journey, let’s rewind to June, 2019. An acquaintance of mine asked if I would be interested in working security, through Sentinel at a well-known museum downtown. The wage seemed fair and I had already planted a seed in my head that I wanted to work in law enforcement a few months earlier. The timing was right so I welcomed the opportunity and a few days later I signed a contract with Sentinel.
I remember my very first shift in downtown Toronto, on the evening of Friday, June 21st, 2019. I shared with the CEO and another Manager of Sentinel that my goal was to work in law enforcement. In hindsight, they probably thought I was getting ahead of myself and I am sure they have heard many share this sentiment before. But sharing a goal is one thing and having a thorough action plan to accomplish that goal is another.
Fast forward to mid-March, 2020. Due to the uncertainty brought on by Covid-19, I (and almost the entire Sentinel workforce) was temporarily laid off for a couple of weeks. The public was rightfully scared and all large celebrations and events were cancelled or postponed indefinitely. People were not travelling so hotels were losing business which resulted in a loss/indefinite pause of contracts.
However, a short time later we were all offered full-time hours throughout the GTA to do access control at various banks, grocery stores and a well-known home improvement store. This lasted for several months. All the while, those who chose to work on the frontline throughout the pandemic started receiving paid, regular in-house training in June. The training was conducted by Stay Safe Instructional Programs, taught by Mr. Steve Summerville.
Fast forward to late October when some of us got the news that we would be posted full-time at a local hospital, working security alongside in-house Protection Services. Simultaneously, I was told that I was successful at obtaining a uniform position at a Police Service within the GTA. It was bittersweet because I cannot express how happy I was to see my hard work and dedication come to fruition but I would also be leaving behind a great chapter of my life. My outlook remained positive.
Working at Sentinel was overall the most positive work experience I have had thus far. No two days were the same, I got to meet new people and found most employees to operate as a family. Though there were some challenging days, they were far outnumbered by the positive ones. Additionally, those challenges helped to prepare me for the next step in my career.
I grew exponentially both personally and professionally from my experience with Sentinel. Throughout my 18 months at Sentinel, I worked at different venues, with various clients and teams. It was the perfect stepping stone towards working in law enforcement which heavily involves interacting with the public and one’s ability to deescalate situations and make split second, life altering decisions.
In terms of advice and tips for anyone wanting to get into security and/or law enforcement:
i) Leverage opportunities to interact with individuals from diverse communities;
ii) Do not underestimate the importance of physical fitness, especially cardio;
iii) Build a network of like-minded individuals;
iv) Leverage opportunities for professional growth and ask critical questions to broaden your range of knowledge about the profession;
v) Seek a mentor as it is key to have a positive, established role model to look up to and pursue advice.
Best wishes for 2021,
** This weeks blog is from a guest author and former employee/family member of Sentinel.
The hardwork, dedication, and thoughtfulness that this employee has shown throughout their lifetime at Sentinel has truly exemplified the qualities of a true Sentinel. The words, sentiments, experience and advice is something we truly appreciate and happily impart on all our readers.