Lifeguarding is the definition of having a love/hate relationship with a job. Trust me, I'm on my fifth year, and every year I promise myself that it's my last, yet somehow I get sucked back in. Here's a few reasons why:
The view is unbeatable.
There's nothing better than spending every day out on the beach. I'd pick sitting out in beautiful 80-degree weather overlooking a beautiful lake, over an office job any day. Sure it's hot, but who cares? We're getting tan and when it rains, we get the day off!
Correction, when there's lightning or thunder we get the day off.
I can't tell you how many times I've stood outside in the rain just praying over and over again that there would be one bolt of lightning so we could clear the beach. One, just one, that's all we need. Lifeguarding in the rain is almost always miserable, but getting to be the only ones who take a dip after we clear the beach isn't half bad.
It's kind of fun being able to tell people what to do.
For most of us, it's the first time that we are 100 percent in charge. Even the adults can't tell us what to do. When we're on guard, what we say, goes; that's a pretty great feeling.
We don't love yelling at you a million times.
Really, I promise that a lot of time we do feel bad for yelling at you, when half the things you're doing actually look really fun. I'd love to do a flip off the raft or swim way past the buoy line, but it's our job to enforce the rules. We aren't trying to be mean or ruin your day, but if the roles were switched I'm sure that you'd be yelling at me too.
We easily win for being the one who got the best tan.
I'm telling you, it takes a matter of two weeks to build up a pretty great tan. With literally no effort at all, we're dark as can be—it's great. And we're even being paid sit outside and tan.
Nobody likes the tan lines.
It's insanely difficult trying to fix guard suit tan lines—it's nearly impossible. Once they're there, they are there for good. I literally have them from when the season ends in August all the way to when it starts back up again the end of May. No amount of time spent going to the tanning beds will fix it.
There's a lot of free time.
We all become pretty close because when there's nobody swimming, the only thing you can do is talk to the other lifeguards. You become really close, really fast when you work an 8-hour shift with another guard and nobody comes to swim.
Re-certification and drills are awful.
Whether it's a surprise drill or an extremely in depth test after being a guard for two years, recalling the little details of our certification is always a lot scarier than it needs to be. In an actual emergency, we act out of instinct, but tell us to save another lifeguard and we all go into panic mode.
We all form an awesome relationship with each other.
I can't tell you how easy it is to bond with not only your team of lifeguards, but also random lifeguards I meet other places. We all go through the same things, think the same thoughts, are frustrated with the same things, but can't seem to give up the job. In an emergency, we can't do it alone, so we really learn to trust each other.
I promise you, lifeguarding is one of the best and worst jobs you will ever have.