They all explained that they had been driven by necessity to apply for this kind of job. Apparently it was one of the highest-paying jobs in New York that did not require a college education. In a way, these officers were prisoners themselves, and some of them were keenly aware that they were treading ambiguous waters. Like their predecessors, the Black overseers, they were guarding their sisters in exchange for a few bits of bread. And like the overseers, they too would discover that part of the payment for their work was their own oppression. For example, overtime was compulsory. And because of the military discipline to which they were forced to submit, failure to work overtime was punishable as insubordination. Sixteen-hour workdays, a few times a week, were never out of the ordinary for the young officers who held no seniority, and for the older ones who weren't well-liked in the top echelons of the jail hierarchy.