Bodyguards: Standing Next to a Star Doesn’t Make You One


One thing I’ve always found fascinating in my observations is that as Executive Protection Agents, we have a tendency to define ourselves based off of the status of our Clients.   Those of us actively working in the industry for a while have likely experienced, or at least witnessed, the following at one point or another (on either side of the coin).  The scenario is often a variation of this:

You are a skilled Close Protection Agent assigned to escort your client to a public event.   Other VIP’s are in attendance, and one is better known than your Principal.  Perhaps you notice that the support staff consisting of host and event planners, seems to faun over some of the others in attendance to a larger degree.  That in itself is not an issue, however you also seem to notice that the other bodyguard, now in a secure environment, seems to be too important to even acknowledge you.

Perhaps the two of you are standing side by side at the perimeter of a large banquet area both with eyes on your perspective clients, and yet any attempts to be social yet still professional, are rebuffed.  Of course this could just be attributed to the agent being focused on the task at hand, perhaps his client has a higher degree of potential threats directed at him — things you of course would not be privy to.  But in some cases the agent simply gives off the aura, intentionally or not, that since he’s with the biggest fish in the room, that means he too has no time for the “little people”.   In this case, an Operator with a lesser known client.

Having been around the block a few times, I understand that human nature kicks in and that sense of “importance” or “entitlement” rubs off on the agent.  However, I think that we as protectors need to be careful that we don’t sour relationships with our peers just because Client X has more clout than Client Y.

At the end of the day, how would the client’s finances or fame affect how we go about the essence of our job? The amount of dollar signs in the Protectee’s bank account or the number of blockbuster films under their belt should not have any effect on how we respond to situations either proactively or reactively.  They also shouldn’t isolate us or give us a reason to negatively prejudge other agents.

The key to overcoming this is to try and always be mindful that at some point or another we’ve all been the new kid on the block.  We should also remember the old saying “tomorrow is not promised”.  Simply put, you might be with the hottest thing since sliced bread today and later calling up your old contacts searching for more work tomorrow. Who wants to be that agent sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring and it doesn’t simply because all your peers thought that YOU thought you were too good for them?

  • For more observations on the Executive Protection Industry, check out my ongoing column Keeping Your Edge, found in every issue of the Circuit – The Magazine for Bodyguards.  Order it HERE or on iTunes  for the iPad or iPod HERE.


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