Security Guard

I learnt what it’s like to be a security guard for a day with Mike, a guard at the Bank of Nova Scotia building in downtown Toronto. Mike is the “desk guy” at the building and is in charge of watching the cameras, answering phones, and helping people out if they are lost or have lost something. He is part of a large security team at the building consisting of a bunch of what he calls “wanderers,” who are the guards patrolling by foot.

Mike works 12-hour shifts and has Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off. He likes his current job since he prefers day shifts and also likes being downtown because when his day is done he is at the core of the city. However, Mike has been a security guard for six years and not all of his jobs have been this great. He mentioned that the worst jobs were sitting in his car for 12 hours at night staring at construction sites. I can see that being pretty bad. 

Even though this job sounds boring, Mike told me that at night they get to carry batons and handcuffs, which is pretty cool. He often encounters skateboarders, people who are drunk, and trespassers. He says they try to find a balance between being stern and lenient, and barely ever call the police. It was fun spending time with him. 

A Typical Day

Although duties depend on where and when they work, on a typical day the security guard I shadowed watches the cameras for any unusual or suspicious activities in the building.

Top 3 Perks

1) Often working at varying places with new challenges 

2) Security guards are in great demand and job security is good 

3) Great experience and training for an aspiring police officer 

Job Culture

Monitoring surroundings, using technology, communicating with supervisors, indoors and outdoors, helping people, working by yourself for long hours.


1) A training program usually run by the company you work for 

2) Take a government test to receive a license (you also have to renew it every 5 years) 

- Mike did his training program with Intercon Security 

TIP: If you work for in-house security, like a sports arena, they usually pay more than security companies. 

Skills Needed

Far vision, near vision, attentive, listening skills, communication, emergency knowledge (first-aid and CPR).

The Field

- The security industry is booming because the public is becoming more concerned for their safety. 

- Mike is always adapting and learning how to use new computers, cameras, and other security technology.