Behind the Scenes | Ruud de Graaf, security guard

“I want to treat people humanely”

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Behind the Scenes | Ruud de Graaf, security guard

Keeping a university running is no easy feat. It takes a lot of hands to make sure everything is in order, from administration to cleaning and from security to technical maintenance. Who are the unsung heroes behind the scenes keeping everything on track? In this series, Cursor shines the spotlight on TU/e employees. Today: Ruud de Graaf, security guard.

In 2003, he started out as an airport security guard at Schiphol, but he soon flew over to our campus here in Eindhoven. With a fifteen-strong team, De Graaf and his colleagues are keeping the campus as safe as possible, both by day and at night.

Once you’ve worked four night shifts, you get a day of rest

ruud de graaf
security guard
What time do you clock in?

“It varies. We have 24-hour security on campus, so everyone works shifts. When I’m on the morning shift, I start at 7 AM and finish at 3 PM. Then I pass the baton to the afternoon shift, which runs until 11 PM.” If he’s working the night shift, De Graaf clocks in at 11 PM.

“Fortunately, I have a fixed schedule and already know my shifts until the end of the year. That’s nice. Once you’ve worked four night shifts, you get a day of rest. After that you get four late shifts, a day of rest, four morning shifts, and then you start all over again.”

What does your day look like?

“Every day is different here. We do have a fixed monitoring schedule, on the basis of which we perform internal checks of the security aspects of the buildings. Every shift consist of a minimum of three security guards. At least one of them functions as a dispatcher at the Security Control Center and two guards patrol the campus, including the buildings, and follow up on reports. We regularly rotate those tasks within the team.”

What led you to this job?

“I started out at Schiphol in 2003 and that’s also when I got my airport security diploma. I worked there for a while and then I went into object security, initially at a privately-owned security company called Securitas. At the time, TU/e was using Securitas’s services. When this partnership was terminated, I applied for an internal vacancy at TU/e.”

What is the best part of your job?

“My work is very diverse, very dynamic. You never know what the day will bring. And I love the young environment here, with all those students.”

We also get drug users and homeless people on campus

ruud de graaf
security guard
And the least enjoyable part?

Social issues are also finding their way onto our premises. We get drug users and homeless people that cause a nuisance, for example. I don’t like telling a sleeping homeless person to go away. As a human being I understand they want to sleep here, but it’s against the rules and I have to follow those. But I do want to be kind and humane about it. The nuisance caused by loitering youngsters is another example of challenges that I don’t really enjoy.”

What are you most proud of?

“The way we’ve distributed our tasks as a team. It really feels like we have a good collaboration going.”

What I do on my free time varies by the week, given my irregular shifts

ruud de graaf
security guard
What do you do off the clock?

“I love going out into nature, for example on my racing bike. I also like to read. Of course, what I do on my free time varies by the week, given my irregular shifts. In the end it’s nicest to be on your racing bike in the daytime…”

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