Before becoming a security officer, Daniel Rodriguez worked as an after-school math teacher in the Bronx, teaching mostly middle school students between 11 and 14 years old. He enjoyed teaching but admits that working with 13-year-olds can be hard.
“They give you a lot more sass than adults,” he said, laughing, adding that switching to work in the security field was a better fit for him because of his military background. “I’ve been in the Marines for a while, so it was just a little bit more natural to do that.”
His security career has been going well so far. Within a week of applying through a recruiting office for veterans, he was offered the choice of a security officer position at either Facebook or Google. He chose Facebook and immediately started working at one of their offices in downtown Manhattan.
“I said ‘let’s try Facebook, why not?’ I have [an account], it’s great. Their office was amazing, so that was the first spot I picked.”
After three years there, Rodriguez feels it has been a good choice.
“Facebook is really dynamic. There is always something going on. There’s always a huge event – a lot of people coming through, a lot of businesses.” His boss, a former Marine and retired cop, is “a great guy,” and the job allows him to do the things he really loves to do.
“I love helping people, I love trying to make people’s lives better – this is definitely a good job to do that overall,” he said.
Working at the front office, he checks people in, verifying ID’s and other security protocols and also patrols the floors, making sure that there are no security breaches with alarms, open doors or issues with the facilities such as a water leak or a potential fire hazard. “Making sure everybody is safe” on a daily basis is one of the best parts of his jobs, he said.
His work routine has changed a lot over the past year due to the pandemic. In an attempt to limit exposure to the virus, fewer officers are now assigned and do longer 12-hour shifts, while everyone is required to wear masks and social distance.
“It’s a lot different because it goes from basically greeting people every single day and dealing with visitors, to just really slow, no one’s allowed in the office,” he said.
Rodriguez is still active with the Marines after joining five-and-a-half years ago.
“I joined up basically for the leadership aspect of it and maybe a little bit of confidence too. It definitely helped in that aspect. It’s definitely hard, but I think it was worth serving.”
Rodriguez was recently called up by the Marines to help out at the Javits Center vaccination site where he’s on a “distribution mission,” assisting in keeping the center supplied with masks, needles and other needed items. In May, he heads to Hawaii with a different group of Marines to help with a humanitarian mission.
To unwind from his busy schedule, Rodriguez likes to go running and to draw.