Why My Job is Like Raising A Teenager

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So you might be thinking, big deal.  Lots of jobs are like that, youth group leader, high school teacher, being a mom and dad…

No, I am not in any of those fields.  And no, I do not even have kids.  So how can I know what it is like to raise teenagers?  Because I work in security!

Not the “Paul Blart, Mall Cop” security field, but the “sitting in a windowless room with my black marker behind gates and guards with guns” national security field.

Yes, I am one of those.  I do indeed sit in a windowless room behind locked doors protected by guards with guns.  But no, I don’t actually use a black marker.

“So,” I’m sure you are thinking, “how is this like raising teenagers?”

Let’s look a typical conversation string between a parent and a teenager:

“Mom, can I go stay at Jane’s house this weekend for a party even though her parents won’t be there?”


“But nothing bad will happen.  Jane said we won’t get into trouble.”


“But Jane tweeted that the party will be limited to just a few close friends from cheerleading.”


“Why are you being so mean to me?  You won’t let me live my life!”

And now let’s look at a typical conversation string in my day at work:

“Jennifer, can I post this highly classified document on my Facebook page?”


“But other researchers need to know what I can do.  I promise it won’t get shared beyond them.”


“But this other university wants to write a grant together because they are following my tweets about it.”

“No, and bring me a copy of those tweets.”

“Why are you being so mean to me?  You won’t let me get any research done!”

After the 100th “No”, temper tantrums are thrown and they avoid talking to you for days, even weeks on end.  Which you are fine with, for the most part, except you know you will have to repeat this same conversation at least fifty more times.  And in the end, they will never thank you for keeping them out of trouble.

And that’s why working in the national security field is just like raising a teenager.


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