Home » Gate Guarding » Back When I Knew Everything: A Cautionary Tale About Advice

Back When I Knew Everything: A Cautionary Tale About Advice

Hey folks!


I’m going digress from my normal story-telling mode in an attempt to answer some of the questions that I’ve been getting via email re: gate guarding. On RV forums and in a smattering of blogs, you read the words Always and Never quite a lot. Always and Never are two absolutes that beg for contradiction.

The one thing people are the most liberal with, is their advice. ~Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Here’s my advice:

  • 1. If you want to get a feel for the job, read a variety of blogs
  • 2. Don’t pay too much attention to adviceย  ๐Ÿ˜‰

Some people are natural advice givers. You won’t have to travel to very many gates in your reading before you see that many of the most highly opinionated folks contradict each other in the way to do almost every aspect of the job. That’s perfectly fine. They’re just sharing their opinions and they have different ones.

When your mother asks, “Do you want a piece of advice?” it is a mere formality. It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no. You’re going to get it anyway. ~ Erma Bombeck

Most of us, although I’m sure there are exceptions, would advise you not to drink the potable water, unfiltered from the tap. That may be about it for universal gate guarding truths. No matter how firmly or strongly stated, we’re just sharing our opinions. As in most of life, the majority of things that come up each day are a matter of taste, opinion, conviction, constitution and circumstance.



There is no Holy Grail for gate guarding. No one person speaks for all. You may find that you learn as much from someone who’s been gate guardingย  for 3 months as you do someone who’s been doing it for 3 years.

I think the thing about being a gate guard is so that it’s so out of the norm for most of us. We’veย  generally had altogether different kinds of careers and have lived in altogether different kinds of environments.

Then, one morning, you find yourself standing at a gate – or just in the middle of the road – with an orange vest and a clip board and usually very little to no instruction.



We turn to each other for tips and that helps. Just keep in mind that we’re allย  just sharing what works for us. It may or may not work for you.

Know when to tune out, if you listen to too much advice you may wind up making other peoples mistakes. ~ Ann Landers

It reminds me of the Montgomery Gentry song, Back When I Knew Everything

Back when the world was flat
And Mom and Daddy didnโ€™t have a clue
That was back
Back when a pitcher of beer
And a couple shots made me bulletproof
Back when โ€œGodโ€ was a name I used in vain
To get a point across when I got ticked off
Lord, Iโ€™m learning so much more than
Back when I knew it all

When we started in December of 2010, I didn’t know anything about gate guarding or the industry or Texas.

Now I know a few things. ๐Ÿ˜€

I’ll write a some posts in the days ahead about what I’ve learned and how we handle certain situations. Take what works for you and toss the rest.

I found out credit cards donโ€™t mean youโ€™re rich
And beer and gasoline donโ€™t mix
Yeah, and step side trucks canโ€™t jump a ditch
And those โ€œbig houseโ€ rooms sure are small
Iโ€™ve learned that love is a woman thatโ€™ll settle you down
A Sunday sermon can turn life around
And I canโ€™t believe answers Iโ€™ve found
Since back when I knew it all



If you have something specific that you’ve been wondering about that you’d like me to address, feel free to write to me @ branson.debbie@ gmail.com and I’ll gladly share my opinion. I’m hoping other gate guards will hop aboard and share their experiences.

The only things worth learning are the things you learn after you know it all. ~ Harry S Truman

23 thoughts on “Back When I Knew Everything: A Cautionary Tale About Advice

  1. Rob and I love gate guarding. As in any job, all you need is a good work ethic and treat people the way you want to be treated. I can honestly say we have never had any problems.

    • Hello my friend!
      You and Mr A are gate guards extraordinaire!
      As I’ve often told you, I wouldn’t want to be your replacement! ๐Ÿ˜‰
      I so agree – a good work ethic and a generous amount of kindness and respect will serve you very, very well in this job.
      We’ve never had a problem either (yet) and it isn’t because we make everyone happy.
      During the day, Heidi often has to turn people away because they aren’t on the MSA list, the CM just doesn’t want sales calls that day etc… (I’m usually sleeping when these exciting things happen) but she does it with such finesse they never seem to get mad at her. ๐Ÿ˜€
      November will be here before we know it!

  2. You are so precious, Debbie! There are just so many things I don’t know . .. like that there even were gate guarding jobs! So amazed at you and Heidi and the whole community. I’m sure you are an encouragement to many with your stories!! love you!

    • Deb –
      I’m a bit of a one note wonder lately aren’t I?
      I feel like I owe an apology to those of you who read Two Minutes of Grace and travel over to Fork and get a double dose of my advice on not giving advice. ๐Ÿ˜‰
      This will be a short series, I promise!

  3. Wow, Harry, when will i know it all? Have i learned ANYTHING worth learning? i’m assuming Harry refers to growing up, finding out mom and dad know a few things, and that booze doesn’t make you bullet-proof, maybe 80 proof and stupid.

    Anyhow .. i can’t speak to gate guarding, but i’m tellin’ ya, i’d be in OPINION HELL because i’d be listening to E V E R Y O N E and would probably be surrounded by cows licking my face, chickens flying on my head, rats eating my dinner and heaven only knows what else!

    I’d like to try though? That’s the nut in me! NO, the adventurer! Perhaps minus big bugs and snakes … ๐Ÿ™‚

    • oh mel –
      yes, that’s just where listening to too many opinions lands one!
      I think you’d make an adventure out of it, should you ever try it!
      I think you could make an adventure out of just about anything! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. We GG every winter and enjoy it. Summer is spent in MI near the Grandsons. You meet some super people. If you can’t be happy living together 24/7 forget it. Also you don’t always get internet or phone service. we will be back in October to eard some more $.

    • Linley –
      You and John are certainly among the super people in this business! ๐Ÿ˜€
      I’ve never met any gate guards yet who’ve had as much adversity or who have better outlooks that you two!
      You’re amazing!
      Hope to see you in the fall!

  5. You are so right Debbie… all gates are different just as people are. We worked three months on a gate last winter where we had to open the gate and close the gate for every vehicle. It was a hunting ranch. Coyotes howled most every night. We were located about as remote as you could get. Now we are on a long-term gate with a different company and it’s as different as night and day. Each was/is a unique experience. It is an isolated experience in one sense because you cannot get away together. But we are having success with the Wednesday lunches (ladies every other Wednesday and men every other Wednesday in Cotulla). That seems to be a good way to touch base with other guards and just get out (and get a way for a while) from the other person. I love Bob dearly, but we both like a break occasionally! I know I feel more like I’m part of a community this way.

    On our current gate we only have to walk out our door and log people in and out. In the month we’ve been here, I have not heard a coyote… doesn’t mean they are not out there. We are on a well known hard surface road so getting to and from town is a heck of a lot easier and faster.

    We are actively drilling or fracing so the people we see in and out are mainly the same faces. So we are getting to know them.

    Sometimes you will be so busy that it’s hard to find a moment to go to the bathroom uninterrupted. Other times you will have plenty of free time to do whatever it is you want to do. As long as you log people in and out in a timely manner, you’re pretty much done your job.

    My advice is to read many blogs… everyone has their own story and it’s interesting to get to know each person through their writing. Beyond that, you really won’t know what it’s like (as Debbie says… to stand there in the middle of a caliche road with a clipboard in hand) until you try it. It’s not rocket science, but for us it is a heck of a good way to make some good money… from home… our motorhome that is ๐Ÿ˜€


    • Vicky –
      I was counting on you to comment!
      Thank you!
      I surely remember you and the coyotes last summer. I felt so badly for you.
      I couldn’t be happier for you and Bob and the great situation you have now!!!
      I don’t really write much about gate guarding so I’m not the best source of info. I’m more of a storyteller.
      There are so many gate guard blogs going now that if folks travel around and read them all, they’ll get some idea what it’s like.
      Some things though, you just have to experience to get, don’t you? ๐Ÿ˜‰
      This seems to be one of them!
      I’ve met very few gate guards that don’t either really like it a lot or not at all.
      It’s not a job many are neutral about. ๐Ÿ˜€
      I’m with you, it’s been a great way to make money from home!
      Here I am at 2 in the morning being paid to sit in front of my computer or read a book.
      Kind of hard to beat that!

  6. We sure do miss working as gate guards and can’t wait till this summer job is over and we can get back to Texas on a gate!

    You’re right Debbie…every gate is different & everyone has a difference of opinion & advice…but that’s what makes it interesting.

    • Diane –
      We’re nearing our 6 month mark w/o a day off which is about when we start to feel like we need a short break (we’ll take a few weeks late mid-August – early Sept). Last year we worked 264 days straight and that was just a little long (particularly with 65 in a row over 100 degrees).
      But like you, once we’ve had a bit of a break, we’ve always been ready to get back to work (so far)!
      I’m continually surprised! ๐Ÿ˜€
      I’ve been getting emails from folks that our rather distressed because they’ve read they have “the wrong kind of RV” etc…
      I thought it was time to write a few posts about how opinions aren’t facts, they’re just opinions! ๐Ÿ˜‰
      Henry sends his love and virtual cheeseburgers to the girls!

  7. My husband, Woody and I have been Gate Guarding for 2 years. We (I) was fortunate to have been able to meet other gate guard ladies. We went into town, church, shopping and out to eat once a week. This job is a great way to put green in you bank account, we worked 7 mos the first year and this year we will work 3/4 mos. With this job you can specify how much you want to work. No one hanging over you, you do your job correctly and you are pretty much left alone. This may sound crazy but “I” miss not working. We have an exceptionaly great boss/company – Sitewatch USA. They care about their workers and if any problems come up they are Johnny on the Spot to get them taken care of.


    • Mickey –
      Thanks so much for adding your thoughts about the job and about Sitewatch.
      Since Sitewatch is newer than GGS and TK in this particular industry (although not in the security business in general) people are very interested in hearing about how they treat their employees.
      Everything I’ve heard about them has been really positive! I’m sure others will be checking them out!
      Keep in touch, Mickey! ๐Ÿ˜€

  8. I LOVE your advice re “advice”, Debbie–and I was a huge Erma Bombeck fan–the woman KNEW her stuff! I’ll be laughing all day over the “polite formality”–maybe that’s why I don’t use the preface, just barrel on in with my sage wisdom!! (ha ha ha–usually followed by some sort of apology when it goes over like a balloon full of poop-bugs” God bless you, Sis–love, sis Caddo

    • Oh Caddo – I now have a picture of a balloon of twirling tumblebugs floating in my head! ๐Ÿ˜‰
      You know from TMG how I feel about advice/opinions.
      Both are fine when shared on a limited basis – but not so great when presented as though they were etched in stone tablets.
      Full-timers tend to be fairly independent so I’m always amazed when someone tells people what RV to buy/or not buy, particularly when accompanied by words like “only a fool would buy a …, or when people who’ve never worked a day as a gate guard write copiously about how terrible the job is etc…
      That’s when my in box gets flooded.
      Love to you, too, Sis – and I’m keeping my eyes open for those Rangers for you! ๐Ÿ˜€

      • So, do you roll your eyes heavenward a lot–about all that “great” advice you get? You know me–I’d probably be pitching a fit, not terribly grace-worthy–oh dear. I may have already mentioned this, but when I realize I’ve talked out of turn–I’m SO apologetic. Most times that helps–but I’m still thinking the duct tape and C-clamps would be a good investment for me.

        As for the Tex Ranger–could you order me up one who looks like Tommy Lee Jones? That might be worth suffering the heat for…

        • ๐Ÿ˜€
          I don’t have a lot of pull but I’ll do my very best to get you a TLJ look-alike!
          I try to keep the eye rolling to a minimum (I mentally roll sometimes… but mostly take the marshmallow approach! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. Amen to all that. If anyone is interested in reading our blog, you can go to http://travelbug-susan.blogspot.com

    We gate guarded for two months (May-June, 2012) and I blogged about it all. Would we do it again? Probably, if we couldn’t find gainful employment elsewhere.

    It’s not hard in the sense of a lot of work. It is hard in the sense of not being able to get away together (if you’re a couple); almost never if you’re a single (unless you can find someone to take over your gate for a few hours). Also spring/summer in south Texas where we worked, is HOT–triple-digit hot–and dusty for weeks at a time. Throw in some thunder and lightning storms, mud, and possibly high winds, snakes, scorpions, spiders, and lots of other bugs. I feel like I’m writing a recipe for witch’s brew or something.

    Anyway, Debbie is right. Everyone has their own opinion about gate guarding and it’s interesting to read all the blogs you can! You’ll never know what it’s like for you until you try it. We didn’t.


    • Hey there Susan!
      I agree – if you try it, you’ll like it… or maybe not so much! ๐Ÿ˜‰
      No matter how much we all write about gate guarding, you don’t know how it’s going feel until you’re standing in the road with a clipboard in your hand and a beetle down your shirt!
      Thanks so much for sharing your experiences!

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