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By Doc Rogers
“Why didn’t they tell me that at the BG academy?” This is what many bodyguards say when on their first BG assignment. At the academy you learn the basics of advance work, protective formations, and motorcade procedures and firearms skills. A lot of emphasis is placed on the physical skills of the BG job. After graduating from the academy you are thrown to the wolves to find a BG job or land your first assignment. You normally don’t receive any guidance on how to survive in the industry and are forced to figure it out through a long trial and error period. Here is some insight on the way things work.
Whether you are a bodyguard or a janitor looking for work conforms to a fairly well defined pattern. Janitors conduct reconnaissance on places and people where his services would be required (office buildings, businesses and corporations). Bodyguards need to look for potential individuals and corporations who use bodyguard services of a fairly regular basis or that have an in-house executive protection unit (EPU). When applying for BG jobs don’t be too keen to show off your BG knowledge, this comes across as cocky and irritating. This is not how you want to be viewed. Play it cool, keep very professional, keep focused and ask questions. Pay very close attention to the answers, this is important information for rookie bodyguards.
Okay, you have been hired by an EPU or assigned to a BG team that guarantees fairly consistent work worldwide. Here’s where you get down to business, you’ve got work to do and a lot to learn. Sure you are technically proficient and a competent professional, but now you have to learn how to do the job the team’s way and know how to play for the team. The plan of attack is simple:
1. Pack light, bare-bones necessities to make a good first impression while traveling on assignment. No one likes a prima donna or someone who requires to much material comforts.
2. Be early for everything. Rookie bodyguards should be the first ones to prepare for the days assignment and the last ones off duty.
3. Do not think all your new teammates will like or trust you. The trust and confidence between your teammates will be the result of countless hours working together. You are an unknown and will be merely tolerated until you gain that trust. Don’t worry soon you’ll be treated as a full-fledged member.
4. You are at the bottom of the totem pole. Don’t take it personally or let it upset your mental discipline. Keep your pride and ego in check, tread lightly and remember your place. This will result in greater trust and acceptance. Your BG team members want to see you succeed.
5. As a rookie bodyguard on your first assignment be ready for extraordinary effort and sacrifice. Mentally gear yourself up for the assignment, do your homework and mental rehearsal to be prepared and gain an edge. The mark of a true professional is attention to detail.
6. On the job actually providing bodyguard service showcase your best performance, keeping low-key but projecting strength and confidence with the objective of keeping the client secure clearly in mind 24/7.
7. Join the team while socializing; be quiet and soft spoken, gain a reputation through your track record of being a team player, from your BG performance and that reputation will spread rapidly. Keep your eyes and ears open and pay very close attention to what is being said. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, but don’t ramble on.
8. Be cautious about giving your opinion on operational matters, the rules are very simple when it comes to your opinion as the “new guy” no one cares until you know the lay of the land. Contain your excitement.
9. Continue your BG duties in a well-disciplined and methodical manner, in accordance with the team’s established standards and not how you were taught at the academy. Always stand ready to serve and eager to support your BG team.
10. Set clear goals for your BG career; daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. Master the basics you have learned in the academy and practice key skills to build competence in your BG performance.
If you follow the steps I have outlined for you, there is no question that you will be successful at the highest level of bodyguarding. You are already on your BG-journey and you are a success. Keep safe and God speed.
This is a very good article since I’m a rookie BG and trying to network myself in S.C. I would apprecate any input that You could give me.
Put it this way: I’ve been around the block enough times to realize how important and on point your message is!
Alonzo, your insight into the profession is great! We should all have that attitude. Thanks for the comments. Keep Safe.
Always great advice from Doc, but I just want to comment on this particular pearl of wisdom: “the mark of a true professional is attention to detail.” This was hammered into me while in the service, and has served me well in bodyguarding, where clients call this being “consciencious” or “serious”. Most team mates prefer the term “anal”, however, and I sometimes have a hard time convincing them that “the devil is in the details”.
I was recently pointing out to a coworker that EP agents are “different” because held to a higher standard when he suddenly asked, “why?” That left me speechless. The “hey, it’s good enough” attitude that caused German and Japanese automakers to walk all over us CANNOT be applied to bodyguarding anymore than it can to brain surgery or aerospace engineering. Should go without saying… but apparently it doesn’t!
So Doc, THANK YOU for being a consistent voice of reason and source of wisdom. And may as many current and future bodyguards as possible read you and take good note.