The job of a security guard may look simple to the average observer who sees only someone in a uniform sitting behind a desk in a quiet foyer of any one of Dubai’s countless residential and business towers.
But according to security staff who spoke with Gulf News, life as a security guard has its own share of challenges.
For those tasked with maintaining safety for all of us, working in some security firms that call for a 12-hour job, 365 days a year, can take its toll on workers who keep watch when the black pall of night gives way to dusk, then dawn, when the entire emirate is seemingly asleep.
One security employee, 28-year-old Ajmal, moved to Dubai more than a year ago from Pakistan for better wages.
It can be challenging for us on the job when it is 4am and we are all by ourselves at our desk on duty. We are not allowed to be distracted at our jobs.”
- Ajmal, 28 | Security guard
Speaking on a break from his duty at a residential tower, Ajmal said one of the biggest challenges of his job is combating tiredness and loneliness.
No distraction at the job
He earns more than Dh2,000 monthly in Dubai — that is four times the salary he would have earned back home in Pakistan.
“It can be challenging for us on the job when it is 4am and we are all by ourselves at our desk on duty. We are not allowed to be distracted at our jobs. We must be on guard 12 hours every day,” he said. Strict regulations mean any laxity has its consequences. “If we are caught sleeping on the job, we must pay a big fine to our employer. If we keep sleeping and get caught again, we lose our jobs,” he said.
But security staff take pride in their work that affords a sense of security to the people on the premises they guard and it helps them pays the bills and offers the means for a better life for their family back home, Ajmal said.
It keeps him motivated as he sends a monthly remittance to his mother and family to keep them sheltered, clothed and fed.
“It makes us work harder as we are helping our parents and it feels good to know they are safe,” he said.
Some people are rude
Atiq, 32, also hails from Pakistan and signed up through an agency to come to Dubai to assume a security-guard job.
I make a lot more money here than I would at home so for me the decision is easy. I will stay here to save as much as I can. I am staying because I also don’t have other experience and it is good work.”
- Atiq, 32 | Security guard
He said he likes the work and will be staying as long as his employers will have him.
“I make a lot more money here than I would at home so for me the decision is easy, I will stay here to save as much as I can,” he said.
“I am staying because I also don’t have other experience and it is good work here.”
One of the things that concerns Atiq in his job however is that he encounters rudeness from some people who give him a hard time when certain situations call for matters to be sorted out.
“Some tenants don’t give us any respect, they treat us in a poor manner. Sometimes they are rude,” Atiq said. “But most people are very good to work with and that makes our job very enjoyable.”