Career Success Observations of VIP Protection during a Global Lockdown (ish)

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When the COVID 19 Pandemic and subsequent lockdowns came in effect we went a little off the radar. This was for multiple reasons, but there were three main ones. First, we were caught a little off guard like many people. Second, we are very much an organization that likes to observe, reflect and then provide what’s needed. Third, like many people, we decided to look at this situation as an opportunity to evaluate our business model and work towards coming out of the lockdown better than when we went in.

With all that in mind, we also wanted to do what we enjoy most and that is help people.

  • Help people be better protected,
  • Help people have better success, and
  • Help people come out of this lockdown on top.

So we may have gone quiet online for a bit, but we were by no means inactive. If anything, we were busier than before (stay tuned for more of the things we’ve been working on). One of the things I think we did well was actively observed what was going on in Protection and VIP Operations.

Since our network reach is global we were able to make some very interesting observations about Security, Executive Close Protection, Business or Career success and resiliency.

Here are some of our observations with the hope they can help you.

General Security Increase

I am very thankful to still be employed as I know many people are struggling as they’ve lost employment or are experiencing a loss in wages. I truly feel for these folks and wish nothing but the best for them.

One thing we noticed was in many places general security operations were listed as an essential service. As well, since so many people were working from home, many businesses were left unoccupied. Both of these factors are what we believe contributed to an increase in work and opportunities for people in the security industry.

Labour Reset

One thing we noticed, which was not exclusive to security was an opportunity for employers from all types of businesses to hit the reset on staffing levels or “get rid of some dead weight” as one manager informed me. Right, wrong or otherwise, many employers have used the mass layoffs as an excuse to terminate underperforming, under qualified or otherwise problem employees. (They’ve also been forced to lay off a lot of good people)

However, many employers were able to keep some staff. This meant some of their best employees still got work and in some cases more work than they had before the lockdown layoffs. These were the employees that had proven their value prior to this situation by having positive attitudes, exceptional work ethic, extensive training and were overall invaluable. They were in essence – more essential than others.

I once had a boss that would refer to some of his daily decisions or actions as “capital”. This meant every time he did something for someone else it was an investment for the future when he needed something from them. Provide more value every day and you’re making capital deposits into the bank of lay off the other guy in a pandemic, not me.

Please note, not everyone who lost their job or was laid off was a poorly performing employee or worked for unscrupulous employers. In fact, we know a lot of great people that were let go or otherwise lost employment/clients because of this new situation. These folks, in many cases, bounced back right away and quickly found other work. It might not be with the same title, or it might have been for less money, but they found work and are getting through this.

Executive & Close Protection

When it comes to VIPs and their subsequent protection members, we also saw similar situations to general security and other industries. Some people were laid off and some people weren’t. I know some great people that are no longer employed that were by no means, poor performers. The situation we are in just didn’t warrant their continued employment. I also know many people that have continued to work and in many cases are earning more than they were before all of this. I have also seen many of the high-level Executive Close Protection companies frequently posting vacancies looking to get filled. I’m assuming they’re hiring people.

My general observation here is there are many people still employed in VIP Protection as well as many organizations expanding their opportunities.

From what I can see, VIPs around the world are still conducting business, but it’s not business “as usual”. They are doing things differently and perhaps travelling out of the country a little less, but they are still doing what VIPs do. Now they might not be doing as much of it or they might not all be doing it, but VIP activity in general, by many accounts, is still alive.

This means there are still Executive & Close Protection duties being conducted and most likely by the most valuable people. (You see what I did there. I said most valuable, not the best. Value in protection is based on perception. It doesn’t matter how good you are if you are not perceived as a valuable asset you are likely not succeeding as well as you could be.).

The bottom line is there are a lot of folks working and for some, much more than they did before. However, I know some great people that have struggled as they simply didn’t have enough capabilities to be competitive anymore. They also may not have had the right amount of exposure or it was not focused on the right audience.

Business Success

Many businesses are losing by the day. Many businesses are going under. I feel deeply for these people as these businesses are not just their livelihood, but their passion, dreams and futures. However, many businesses have evolved, pivoted or otherwise looked to find new ways of conducting operations. We feel we fall into this category and hope our efforts are enough, not just to get through this, but come out the other side in better shape than we went in. (But hope isn’t a plan, so we’ve got one of those too)

My suggestion here is that whether you are in business or not, you take a similar approach to your employment position during this new era. Truly look at yourself, your skills and your situation. Don’t be afraid to pivot or evolve with the times.

Just look at all the distilleries making hand sanitizer now or the auto manufacturers making masks. These companies may go back to their old business when a vaccine is available, but now they might have another revenue stream they never considered before. Also, look at all the sports teams and the ways they’re working to give people something to enjoy. They have totally redefined what hockey playoffs look like and although it’s not the same as before, I suspect they have learned a lot of ways to save money while generating revenue in other ways. This is how you need to approach the remainder of this pandemic if you haven’t yet begun to.

Professional Development & Career Success (and Executive Close Protection Success)

This is something I am absolutely amazed at. There are a ton of people killing it out there in the professional development landscape. Not only are people turning out great programs but so many people are consuming them at alarming rates. This is going to pay off immensely, even if we never actually get out of this new way of living. The extent of people who have been taking online training is truly unbelievable. I suspect, vaccine or no vaccine, online training has just made a remarkable leap forward.

Here’s the big important part for you. What have you been doing with your downtime? If you’re at all interested in Executive or Close Protection as a career path or employment add-on, I sure hope you have been adding new capabilities and knowledge. Because despite a steady need for VIP Protection, there are still a lot more people looking for that work than there are getting it. If you were moderately competitive before, you’re going to have to be much more competitive now. Which means you can’t just float by on your background or a single EP/CP course. You are going to need a resume that says not just that you can do the job, but that you want it more than the other guy or gal.

Local Protection Opportunities

I’ve always seen and promoted the value of hiring local protection professionals. The current situation seems to be creating more opportunities in line with that way of thinking. For many years the value of local assets has been the norm in many circles. This hasn’t changed, but now is becoming apparent to more people. The simple inability to travel is making it more evident that VIPs need more local support. Either for travelling VIPs who aren’t able to take their entire team, or locally for VIPs who are staying closer to home. Either way, there has never been a better time for protection professionals to demonstrate their local expertise and value. Please take note of this and look to adjust your career success path with a greater local focus, if you haven’t previously done so. (more on this in the coming articles)

Conclusion

We are in a terrible situation. Some people worse than others. Many people have lost loved ones, careers and had lives changed forever. I truly do feel for these people and if I could go back in time and keep this from happening, I absolutely would. Unfortunately, I do not have that capability (yet). What I do know is there are people doing nothing, people do something and people doing as much as possible to ensure they come out of this better than when they went in. I know that VIP Protection is still very much alive as a career path and in many places, it’s thriving. I know many people also want to get into the field of Executive or Close Protection. What I predict, is the best ones will keep their jobs or quickly find new ones if they’ve lost them. But there will also be more of a race to the top, where those who maximized their time in lockdown will come out much better than those who did not. One thing for sure, the industry of VIP Protection will be much better off when this is done since so many people are raising their own standards.

Where will you be when the bar is raised and the dust settles?

I hope this article has helped you. Please like, comment and share it if you found value in it or if you think it could help others.

SpecVIP HQ | SpecVIP Protection Group Inc.

P.S.

If you are looking for more opportunities in Close Protection or other aligned areas of VIP Operations, you need to stay tuned to our notices. Especially if you want more opportunities out of your local expertise and capabilities. We have a great series of blog articles coming out with a huge focus on getting real results in VIP Protection and VIP Operations. You are not going to want to miss the boat on this one. Sign up for our mailing list to make sure you get all the articles and updates.