We have thought long and hard about writing this post especially during a time when this country is extremely polarized by the political proceedings surrounding the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. What we seek to do is to bring our concerns to the table as it relates to the lifeguard industry and how this political fight will affect business going forward. Not only for us but for many others across the country.
For the past decade we have seen a steady decline in quality lifeguard candidates and a lackluster response to many of our employment ads. Our recruiting department has looked high and low to find the right candidates to fill positions on our roster to no avail and now we are absolutely dreading the 2019 season especially that demand for our services has reached an all time high. We fear that many people will be without lifeguards for their facilities or private events. This essentially puts lives on the line.
The first thing we would like to address is the emerging #MeToo movement that is having a direct impact on how men are being perceived. Groups such as Code Pink, WLF, NOW and others have basically waged a war on men. How does this effect lifeguards? We feel that the impact of these groups will adversely affect job opportunities for women all across the nation. We see the writing on the wall and without naming names, there is a general consensus that some may have to decide on whether they consider all male or female staff in order to avoid any sexual harassment/assault claims being made, either true or false. With a majority of the workforce being male, the thought process is to implement all male teams. Sadly we have witnessed that all it takes is a mere allegation to derail a man’s life and ruin his career. We do take on a position that if an allegation is made and the allegations can be corroborated by investigators or law enforcement, then a man should be punished with the full weight of the law.
Our concern is that the radical feminist groups may influence female lifeguards to make allegations against male lifeguards or even supervisors simply because they may not like that person for whatever reason. What if a female lifeguard gets disciplined for a workplace infraction and then decides to retaliate by making a false allegation. What concerns us is that most of the radical feminist groups say that a woman should be believed no matter what and without question. Then there is the presumption of “guilty until proven innocent” narrative being pushed by the radical groups. We adhere to “innocent until proven guilty” as it has been in our legal system.
The next question is should we consider having an all male staff in order to avoid this conflict?
Our next point is something we have been dealing with is the laziness culture that has adversely affected our operations and recruiting. Believe it or not but there was a time when lifeguard candidates were a dime a dozen however now it seems that no one wants to be a lifeguard. Why is that? We noticed that for some time and even to this day that entitlement is encouraged. We beg to differ and many of our current staff have worked very hard to get where they are today. Nothing was handed to them and if a candidate walks through our doors with an attitude of entitlement quickly learn we are not to be trifled with. *TRIGGER WARNING!! No one gets a participation trophy here!
There used to be a time when the job of lifeguard was a gateway to furthering themselves into a career of police work or to become a firefighter. It seems that no one takes lifeguards seriously. We don’t blame them since many have given a bad name to this industry. YouTube is a great place to see the ones that give the professionals a bad name as we are all guilty by association.
Another reason for the lifeguard shortage is the pay for lifeguards is extremely low and in some cases it may be at minimum wage in some states. In others it could be as high as twenty an hour. Twenty would be the highest point. If aquatic facilities or municipal agencies want to attract quality candidates they will need to seriously look at ways of attracting candidates with better pay or even free training to become certified lifeguards. There is a danger and in fact there was an article many years ago that stated that city of Phoenix, AZ was attempting to hire candidates with no swimming ability to be lifeguards. This was their answer to filling positions throughout the many public aquatic facilities. The problem with this is that in order to be an effective lifeguard, one must have exceptional swimming abilities.
Now, we could go on and on as this is a subject that will bring out the worst in people and we believe that things will only continue to get worse as time goes on. This is not an easy subject!We must all come up with solutions that will ease the lifeguard shortage however with the recent war being waged in Washington, things could become more polarized.