I just recently resigned from TSA after just training with them for two weeks.
The event took place on Thursday March 17, 2016. My instructors were Judy, Gerald, and Diego. A handout was given to the class and I thought we were able to keep the handout so I put it in my bag at the end of the lesson. Gerald then asked for the handouts to be turned back in so I took it out of my bag and turned it in. The instructor saw me take the handout out of my bag and asked to see me after class. After class when we spoke he wanted to know what happened that I put the sheet in my bag, and I told him I thought we were able to keep the sheet. He went on to remind me that all books, sheets, notes we take, on no matter what paper, were FLETC material due to SSI sensitivity and were to be turned in at the end of the program. I let him know that I had been taking reference notes on the notepad they gave us and turning the references into full study notes back at the hotel room. I also let him know that I had thrown away the reference notes because they didn’t have real actual material on them. A sample of my reference notes would be as follows:
Scan Procedures, pg 10..
History of Threats, pg 3..
WTMD Verbage, pg 12..
Gerald then insisted that I violated policy and that he and I needed to write an incident report. My report needed to include a detailed description of how I threw out the reference notes, where I threw out the reference notes and the dates I threw them out. I reminded him that from day one of class, March 14th, the only thing we were told was that we had to turn in our notes at the end of the program. We, the class, were never told that we could not throw away any notes, and if we were to discard any notes we either had to give them to one of the instructors or put them in one of the pad locked bins located outside of the class in the hall. He then got on his cell phone to call someone from headquarters on the incident. He was pacing back and forth so nervously I thought I might be getting arrested for throwing out notes. I even asked Judy, who was present, “Am I going to get arrested for throwing out notes”? Her response was “Oh, no nothing like that”. When Gerald got off the phone he said the phone report was made, it went straight up to the top, and we’ll be informed tomorrow, March 18th, on what’s to take place. While he was on the phone I asked Judy where are these bins to throw away notes, because I’ve never known of them before. When she showed me the bins I let her know I thought those were recycling bins and didn’t know they were for throwing notes away. I let them both know that they should’ve let the whole class know about the bins and on how to discard notes. Later on that evening I called Gerald and asked him if he’d ever come across something like this, and he said yes. I asked what’s going to be the outcome of something like this, and he said every situations different but it can go from my being let go to just getting a slap on the wrist and being told never to do that again.
At that point the whole idea of my getting reported for throwing out reference notes upset me so much that I couldn’t study that night, I couldn’t eat, and I decided that this TSA job is just to trifling and not the job for me. I thought to myself if I could get reported for throwing away notes what’s going to happen if something REALLY serious takes place? The next day I let Diego know that I wanted to resign my position from TSA. We went through the procedure to get me sent back to my hotel room, and before I left Diego let me know that the program is deliberately set up to be of higher standards and more difficult than our actual job at the airport, because it’s on a federal installation.
Please ensure that ALL new hires are informed of the “horror stories” that take place with TSA. Inform new hires to have a job backup plan. I’m a firm believer that forewarned is forearmed, in this way if people DO take the job and something DOES happen they can at least have reference material to go on, and implement their job backup plan if necessary.
I’ve spoken to the union president and two friends about the incident. They all agreed that I made the right decision. One friend was made to resign after 5 years and the other still works for them but is trying to find a different job. The union president told me that TSA is the bottom of the barrel when it comes to a federal job. Most of his complaints come from single parents, and that TSA deliberately fires people as a means of not allowing people to retire so the company won’t have to pay out the retirement pension.
Today I did my exit interview and was made to sign a form stating that I wouldn’t disclose any of the information I learned while at TSA, like they’re really going to know if I told anything or not! Lucky for me I didn’t quit my other job.
TSA made me reallize that the grass isn’t greener on the other side. Just because a job is federal doesn’t mean it’s a good job.