This pipe looks like it's gonna blow!
This pipe looks like it’s gonna blow!
I started working at Metropolitan Towers after about a year and a half of working for Intercon Security. This was a fairly high-end complex, two towers, and some ground level retail on the edge of Yaletown, at Seymour and Nelson, around there. It wasn’t too bad of a site, but lots of homeless people and drug activity around there, people using the garage for shooting up and so on and car break-ins on the first four insecure levels.
One of the guards there walked me around and showed me the setup. When we got near the top, he showed me a door leading to some stairs. “What’s that?” “That goes up to the roof; I don’t go up there.” The guy had a bad hip, but I did go up there and look in the room where the water heaters were.
I did a pretty thorough job there, and I almost always did at all my sites because you may as well, it’s tedious work and you are walking down the clock, just grinding your shift out. Later on when my back got bad was when I started cutting corners.
One day about two and a half months after I started working there I went onto the roof and opened the door to the water heater room and saw that one of the pipes from a heater was bulging at a seam and that steam was coming out. I called it in on my radio and talked to a guy from AST, the Account Services Team.
There were only two AST, two or three, and they worked 12-hour shifts, four nights on and four days off. AST did stuff like transport guards to and from various sites if there was no available transit, they meet you on sites with keys and equipment, and if it’s a temporary site they walk you through, this kind of thing.
They act as a liaison between client and guard, which incidentally Intercon called their guards officers and you were upbraided if you called yourself or somebody else a guard, which is not a bad idea because it instilled a sense of pride in a low-status job.
Intercon also had a large mobile division. These guys chased alarms for the most part. 12-hour shifts and it’s a pretty hard job. It paid at the time 13 bucks an hour as opposed to an ordinary guard starting at ten bucks an hour. Intercon had their hardware, their alarms that they monitored and serviced.
PSD were the highest paid division at about 15 bucks an hour and also working 12-hour shifts. I’m not sure what supervisors got but—or even upper management--suits as it were. Couldn't it be much more than 50 grand per annum or God knows?
But it’s all relative. I describe what’s happening with the pipe, and he puts me over to PSD-Protective Services Division, and the guy shows up and takes a look, and he talks about operations and gets a phone number for the management, and they call the assistant manager down (they live in the building), and that guy comes up, but before he does the PSD guy asks me, “How long you been doing this?” “About a year and a half.” “You have potential.”
He asks me did I ever consider PSD, but it’s unlikely because of not meeting the unstated size requirements, plus they prefer ex-military or police or maybe a black belt, but anyway I’m soaking up the approval. Even the assistant manager, a prick from Bosnia, even he thanks me.
Because if that pipe had blown it could have caused a lot of water damage. The Bosnian prick calls a plumber, and he waits up there for him. This is 3 am in the morning. So the upshot of all this is that I was a hero for a day and a half, and I ended walking out on this job, I got into a beef with my supervisor, and just like I usually do walk off and fucked off. They gave me another site, a worse one, patrolling on Commercial Street and from there to another site and—but I’m keeping a forward trajectory, a forward momentum to nowhere.
I ended up quitting Intercon without notice and working for a competitor for about six months and then quit that job and cajoled my way back into Intercon again. I should have been a no- rehire because of quitting without notice.
But I had an advanced first aid certificate, and they needed it. One thing that Intercon had was a monthly newsletter. Other companies didn’t have that. If you worked there for two years you would get a mention; three, four—and so on. But when you got up there around six years, there weren’t a whole lot of names.
I mean most employees didn’t seem to make even two years. I quit just short of two years and then came back and was on the two-year list. It was like I’d never even been away! I gave them another six months or so and quit again, also without notice. The big boss called me up. She couldn’t believe it. But I was at least true to form. I was going back to school and didn’t have time to give notice.
“I can’t believe you’re doing this to me, after all, I did for you!” Long pause, “Believe it.”