Are you “fooling Yourselves?”

Written by Robert D. Sollars

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Do you remember the 70s song by Styx entitled “Fooling Yourself”? Even if you don’t, do you know how this relates to both workplace/school violence prevention? If you haven’t…then let me take you into the song and explain how it does relate (check on YouTube or one of your music streaming services).

In a survey by the job site CareerBuilder, in 2015, with 3,000 respondents, younger workers seem to have a false sense of security about workplace violence. But being honest, I don’t think it’s just millennials that seem to have this false sense. I have noticed, throughout my nearly 4-decade career, ignorance of security. Whether that ignorance is because of several factors;

  • Employees don’t trust management and security is an extension of management. Is there possibly an adversarial relationship between them?
  • Security is useless; they are just trying to scare us, and the company, into hiring them or turning this into a prison
  • Nothing ever happens around here, why worry
  • This is a quiet small town, neighborhood, building (OCONOMOWOC, WI.)
  • No one wants what’s in our computers, office, warehouse, etc.
  • All of this security stuff just slows me down and I’m busy
  • Speaking specifically of workplace violence (WPV), it can’t happen here


Does any of those sound familiar to you as security professionals? Again, it’s not just millennials that say these things. I’ve seen, heard, & noticed these excuses against having security for nearly 4 decades. You would have thought that with the innumerable threats in the country today, illegal immigration, terrorism, defunding police, etc., these ideas would not hold much water, but instead, I’ve noticed a trend of them actually getting larger, and more prevalent, with people I’ve discussed it with.

As for the CareerBuilder survey, below is a sample of what it discovered. You read these results and see if they jell together with your knowledge, and remember these are statistics from 2015;

  • 37% of workers say they have a security guard (not an officer professionally trained) at their workplace
  • 31% say their workplaces are not well-protected from digital hacking threats.
  • 31% of workers say their workplace is not well-protected from a physical threat
  • 22% say they do not believe their companies have emergency plans in place should such events occur
  • 22% unsure how they would protect themselves in the case of an emergency that poses a physical threat
  • 17% of workers say their workplaces are not well-protected in case of a fire, flood, or other disasters,

And then there is this last statistic, which should be very telling in its opposite approach;

  • Ninety-three percent of workers say their office is a secure place to work


Are we missing something here? 93% feel their workplace is secure, yet nearly a third of them have no clue to the threats involved and a quarter don’t even know if there is a Violence Prevention & Recovery Plan (VPRP) in place. I certainly believe that there are innumerable mixed messages being sent out by the respondents of this survey.

As security professionals, it is up to us to have a far better security awareness program in place to protect the facility, organization, and people working there than this. The numbers of WPV/SV, at least to me, are appalling. And the fact that even older workers feel this way… I would expect millennials to say these things, but older employees… this is a scary prospect for everyone involved…at any facility.

So, even with all the other innumerable duties, we must attend to, we have to develop the understanding that security is important and why it’s important. Or we’ll continue to listen to and sing along with Styx? “And you’re fooling yourself if you don’t believe it. You’re killing yourself if you don’t believe it.”

It happens to Anyone…Any Time… Anywhere… For any Reason

I May Be Blind, but My Vision Is Crystal Clear

Permission to share? Of course, with full attribution.

Copyright 2021 Robert D. Sollars

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