The opening card of Channel Seven’s hit show “Border Security” states that “thousands of men and women dedicate their lives to protecting Australia’s borders”. But this made me think, yes many of these people will love their job (and the corresponding responsibility) and yes many of them are dedicated, but they have hardly “dedicated their lives” have they?

In my mind a job like teaching is a job that requires the dedication of a life. Teachers have to get special (and often very long) education and training. Many teachers mark work or plan out lessons at home. They often attend conferences or refresher courses in their own time, and many (I would say the best ones) give up their lunchtimes and other breaks to assist students that need help. Teachers often are not very well paid, and are extremely over worked. They do it because they either love teaching or they love kids, often its a combination of both.

But Australian customs agents hardly put this much time, effort or training into their job. I have never heard of a customs agent bringing home passengers so they can frisk them, or patrolling the customs area with sniffer dogs in their lunch breaks. In fact, when I arrived back in Australia last night I saw a whole heap of them standing around behind passport control doing very little. One of them apparently had nothing better to do than force me to walk away from passport control instead of waiting for my mum (in case that sadistic lady is reading this, I’m on a high dose of anti seizure medication and I had just spent 20 hours traveling and without much sleep, I kind of couldn’t leave my mum’s vicinity). From what I can see, being a customs agent is quite similar to a lot of other jobs, albeit with more responsibility.