there is a time to talk and a time to act






I had a pretty cool job in college.



I worked in the early 80s for a company called Contemporary Security Company <the guys who stand on fields and in front of the stage wearing t-shirts that have CSC on them doing “crowd control”>.


I have a zillion stories from those three years but I will only tell one here because, maybe surprisingly, a random college job taught me something that I could use professionally later on in Life.




At this CSC job unless you were about 6′ 4″ 220 you started <and ended> doing bottle check when people came in stadiums, or worked popular bar mitzvahs.





I am maybe 5’8″ in shoes, but stocky, and didn’t really want to be stuck checking and chucking liquor at U2 concert side gate entrances at barely minimum hourly wages.





At the time there was a club called The Starwood in West Hollywood.


It was a zoo of a place, and I mean absolutely crazy, with live bands on one side and DJ dance floor on the other. Lots of drugs and drinking and general debauchery. Pretty much no one in their right mind at CSC wanted to work that job (6 main security guys and one supervisor every night). So every weekend CSC management was scrambling for staff.


Suffice it to say it was fucked up. But fucked up n a good way.





Well … I figured it may be a way to stand out.


So I volunteered.



The first time I suggested it to the ‘big boss’.


“Nope. You will get killed.”



I volunteered a second time.

The same response.



Volunteered third time.

Their desperation kicked in <because no one wanted to work there> … “Be there by 6 to check in.”



So … I get there.


The supervisor who was pretty much there every weekend <a big guy named Laurence Diggs who had played football at USC> took one look at me and said “why the fuck did they send you?”


After some debating we ended up with me as one of the doormen and giving guys on the floor a break throughout the night.



From that point on I ended up working weekends there off and on maybe a year and a half. And it quickly led to me gaining a supervisor role.



All because it seems like I understood the balance between talking and acting.




This place was a fucking zoo.


Understand that at The Starwood we probably averaged “an incident a night per security guy” … every single night.





I learned a lot about people and … well .. myself there.


And, maybe surprisingly  people who don’t pay attention to what they can learn in any environment … i learned some things that applied to me later in Life.



I learned a shitload working at The Starwood <and at CSC> but one of the best Starwood examples of learning I can describe is about talk versus act.

This came maybe in about my second month working there.



We were short a guy and I was on the floor <walking the entire club>.




There was a really tall guy really drunk and really being an asshole.

He was maybe 6’6″.

So … I wandered over and tapped him on the back <I wanted to tap a shoulder but I didn’t think asking him to lean over so I could reach it would be appropriate> and told him to quit being an asshole or he was going to have to leave.




Let’s be clear.


In those days … I didn’t mind a good fight now and then when I was younger but I did find that 95 percent of the time I could talk our way through to a solution <probably a talent mastered this after realizing a cracked bone in your hand REALLY hurts>.




My initial attempt at diplomacy created a fairly succinct response.

This guy turned around and laughed and said “little man, I think I’m gonna be an asshole and stay.”




I punched him as hard as I could right in his stomach <I would have aimed for the stomach even if it wasn’t the only thing I could actually reach>.



As he kneeled on the really nasty dirty floor, looking for some oxygen I think he dropped, I yelled in his ear over all the music & crowd noise … “nope, big man, you are not going to be an asshole … you’re leaving.”



We kind of moved him along out the door at that point and that was that.



To be honest.

That job taught me a lot about business.



And this lesson was if you are the smaller guy sometimes it is more important to stop talking and just do something.



Interestingly that little event also stopped all talk about whether I was big enough or tough enough to work at The Starwood.

As a matter of fact, any talk about working any event.

From then on I got to select when and where I wanted to work.





I am not proposing you go around punching people.

But I have to tell you.


I have no doubt in my mind if I had not taken the offensive I would have ended up in a world of hurt.




I actually think about htis a lot in business and how I think about business.



I see lots of companies talking and talking and, well, talking.

And while not quite The Starwood <where that kind of action would mean you physically got the shit kicked out of you> it is interesting to note while they are talking <and talking … and talking> some other company is punching the crap out of their company.



As a manager <this is the lesson I learned> … sometimes your company needs to come out punching.

For two reasons:



  • You may not be the biggest or the bestest … but if you can sneak in a really good punch you may be able to take ‘em.



  • People look at you differently if you actually make the punch <and even more so if you do it at the right time>



Frankly … more companies need to get out and do some real punching and quit talking.



Anyway.fear inaction



This is just the first of the Contemporary Security Company <CSC> lessons I will share with you.



You can learn from anything … at any time.


And even if you don’t like the lesson maybe you will like the story.


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Written by Bruce