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If you received your "last written warning" at work, would it be better to quit?

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DS18 is skating on thin ice at work.  He's a lifeguard, and has twice been caught sleeping on the job.  To be fair, the pool he works at was empty both times, but still unacceptable.

 

He's supposed to go in early to receive his "last written warning", which I assume means that next time they fire him.   I am tempted to tell him to resign, maybe not right away, so that he doesn't have to check the box saying he was fired on future job applications, but I'm not sure if that makes sense.  His plan was to stay in this job until he leaves for college in August.

 

He's got 2 jobs, and could probably pick up extra shifts at the other, so this doesn't have a huge financial implication. 

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He should quit. Sleeping on the job as a lifeguard is unacceptable. He's probably tired from his other work, but life-guarding when he's that tired creates too great a risk to others and to himself. What would happen and how would he feel if the unthinkable occurred while he dozed off. Much better to quit now.

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He should quit. Sleeping on the job as a lifeguard is unacceptable. He's probably tired from his other work, but life-guarding when he's that tired creates too great a risk to others and to himself. What would happen and how would he feel if the unthinkable occurred while he dozed off. Much better to quit now.

 

Yes, except that he's sleeping while "guarding" an empty pool.  He wakes up if someone comes in. But it's not uncommon for the pool to be empty for hours.

 

I'm not saying it's OK, but the "unthinkable" is only going to occur when there are people in the pool.

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Yeah, I'd advise quitting.  It's not a good fit because sleeping on this job is a big deal, potentially...

 

In addition, he can do this gracefully.

 

"Thank you for the opportunity you have given me in this job.  I appreciate it very much.  

 

However, this letter is my resignation letter.  My last day will be ____.  I will be taking a job that is a better fit at this time.  

 

Thank you again for the experience of working with ______ and its clientele.  

 

Respectfully,

name"

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Quit. I get what you are saying that it is not so bad since no one is there, but it sure sounds awful for a life guard to sleep on the job. He would never want to say that in a future job interview. 

 

My mom fell asleep in class once - she was the teacher! She had to show a safety film to each class and by the fourth class she just nodded off. 

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I’m assuming he’s not fully self supporting, meaning that if he quits this job he’s not out rent money.

 

If he can’t do the job safely, he should quit.

 

If he doesn’t think he can rectify the situation and thinks it is more likely than not that he will be fired, he may want to quit.

 

I will say that if he doesn’t intend to use the job as a reference, he certainly doesn’t need to quit before he’s fired. Lots of young people drop jobs from their resume. They might make it sound like you have to list all employers but you really aren’t required to list all employers on future applications. I had so many jobs in college I didn’t list them all because there was no room on the forms and my resume would have been too long. The reason I had so many jobs was that I started working while very young (pre-high school) and I often worked several or more jobs at once. Most applications ask why you left the jobs you list.

Edited by LucyStoner
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He’s probably pretty bored if he has nobody to guard and is falling asleep. Pick up extra shifts at his other job and maybe find another job. Lots of places are still hiring summer help.

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What dies he want to do? Does he want to quit? Does he want to figure out how to make it work? (If so, he might ask if he can stand if sleepy, etc. ).

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Yes - he should give his notice. And he should not be surprised if they choose to terminate him immediately when he turns in his written.

 

Voluntary termination of employment looks much better than forced termination by the employer.

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If he can't count on himself to stay awake for the whole shift, I think he's kidding himself with the psuedo logic that he absolutely-definitely will wake up any time a swimmer comes in. (Yes, he probably will wake, but this is not a situation for 'probably'.)

 

It's teenager logic. That sounds like, "I'm ok to text and drive. I only do it when it's a reeealy safe road without much traffic, and nobody near me." And all of the other things they say that basically mean, "I'm totally super careful anytime I think safety precautions don't apply to me because I'm super careful and nothing bad will happen."

 

He needs to quit: not because he's in trouble, but because he has genuine concern for sneaky swimmers being very quietly unsafe on his watch.

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What dies he want to do? Does he want to quit? Does he want to figure out how to make it work? (If so, he might ask if he can stand if sleepy, etc. ).

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

If someone is in the pool, he's been walking back and forth.  Then he's fine.  He's not at risk of falling asleep when someone is in the pool, and wakes up if someone enters. 

 

It's not that he's super tired.  It's that a warm humid space, with muzak piped in, no natural light, and nothing to do isn't very stimulating, and he's always been a kid who falls asleep easily.  

 

He'd like to make it work, but I could easily convince him to quit if it was the more sensible choice.

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If there were no need of a lifeguard - who by definition is on guard - they wouldn't have to hire someone.

 

He should quit, but I hope he will not just take the "before they fire me" perspective but genuinely examine whether he should be a lifeguard. No job is for everybody, nothing wrong with that.

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Swimmers or none, I can't imagine there being anything in the job description about being paid to sleep on the job. There's an old saying among hourly workers: if you've got time to lean, you've got time to clean. In other words, sleeping/slacking on the job is not something an employer generally wants to pay for. Desirable employees find ways to be industrious.

Edited by Seasider
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I agree that he should quit. But I don’t think she should do it at his “final written warning.†I think he should go to his meeting, take his consequence, then quit a short time later.

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Swimmers or none, I can't imagine there being anything in the job description about being paid to sleep on the job. There's an old saying among hourly workers: if you've got time to lean, you've got time to clean. In other words, sleeping/slacking on the job is not something an employer generally wants to pay for. Desirable employees find ways to be industrious.

 

There isn't anything else to do.  He's supposed to clean the pool deck once.  He's been doing it twice, beginning and end of his shift, but at some point it would be ridiculous.  He can't go clean somewhere else, because he isn't allowed to leave the room with the pool.  

 

I'm not sure how else he could be industrious in that circumstance.  Do you have suggestions?

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I had the opportunity to watch lifeguards on duty at Great Wolf Lodge. They obviously have a scripted routine on how to watch the pool. They walk down the side then do a very exaggerated head movement up and down and nodding to check different parts of the pool, then walk again and repeat. I was watching the wave pool which they had evacuated because someone barfed. The pool was empty but the guard on deck still did the same routine up and down the side of the pool. That's the preferred behavior for a lifeguard, and I'm guessing the job description is very well defined at Great Wolf Lodge.

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I had the opportunity to watch lifeguards on duty at Great Wolf Lodge. They obviously have a scripted routine on how to watch the pool. They walk down the side then do a very exaggerated head movement up and down and nodding to check different parts of the pool, then walk again and repeat. I was watching the wave pool which they had evacuated because someone barfed. The pool was empty but the guard on deck still did the same routine up and down the side of the pool. That's the preferred behavior for a lifeguard, and I'm guessing the job description is very well defined at Great Wolf Lodge.

I had to get out of the pool one time at GWL because the lifeguard's repetitive pool check head movement was making me motion sick and *I* almost hurled in the pool.

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I had the opportunity to watch lifeguards on duty at Great Wolf Lodge. They obviously have a scripted routine on how to watch the pool. They walk down the side then do a very exaggerated head movement up and down and nodding to check different parts of the pool, then walk again and repeat. I was watching the wave pool which they had evacuated because someone barfed. The pool was empty but the guard on deck still did the same routine up and down the side of the pool. That's the preferred behavior for a lifeguard, and I'm guessing the job description is very well defined at Great Wolf Lodge.

 

GWL also rotates it's lifeguards very frequently, like every 30 minutes or so, because they know that's not sustainable for that long.  Plus, even if there's noone in the one section, there are other people around, making noise, etc . . . 

 

His pool is tiny, 2 lanes, 4 feet deep.  He's the only guard on duty for 6 - 8 hours, and generally there's 1 - 2 adults in the pool swimming laps for about 1/2 of it, and it's empty for 1/2 of it.  

 

So, he walks if someone's in the pool.  He doesn't really need to "check every part of the pool" because he knows how many people are in it.  If there's one person, and he can still see the one person, that person is not drowning in the corner.  

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If someone is in the pool, he's been walking back and forth. Then he's fine. He's not at risk of falling asleep when someone is in the pool, and wakes up if someone enters.

 

It's not that he's super tired. It's that a warm humid space, with muzak piped in, no natural light, and nothing to do isn't very stimulating, and he's always been a kid who falls asleep easily.

 

He'd like to make it work, but I could easily convince him to quit if it was the more sensible choice.

Why doesn’t he walk back and forth even when no one is in the pool?

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There isn't anything else to do. He's supposed to clean the pool deck once. He's been doing it twice, beginning and end of his shift, but at some point it would be ridiculous. He can't go clean somewhere else, because he isn't allowed to leave the room with the pool.

 

I'm not sure how else he could be industrious in that circumstance. Do you have suggestions?

I'm mostly just playing devil's advocate, looking at things from the employer's perspective. It honestly sounds like a very boring job and I can see how one could be tempted to rationalize napping between swimmer visits. But that's obviously not ok.

 

If he decides to stick it out, maybe he should ask for some additional responsibilities. Perhaps there's some not-obvious task they could give him to make better use of his time while on their clock.

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How was he caught sleeping if he wakes up when someone comes in? Do they have cameras?

 

I would absolutely recommend quitting in this situation.

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How was he caught sleeping if he wakes up when someone comes in? Do they have cameras?

 

I would absolutely recommend quitting in this situation.

 

There is a window into the hallway.

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If he can’t stay awake, he should stand instead of sit. He’s getting paid to be there and be awake. It’s really easy. Just stand. He can sit when someone comes in and there’s something to guard.

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Why doesn’t he walk back and forth even when no one is in the pool?

 

Because 8 hours of walking back and forth is a lot.  

 

Maybe that's what he needs to do, but you can see why he'd be tempted to sit down.

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Because 8 hours of walking back and forth is a lot.

 

Maybe that's what he needs to do, but you can see why he'd be tempted to sit down.

You know, this sounds like a really unsafe setup. Eight hours seems way too long to expect someone to remain energetic and attentive.

 

Who covers him for bathroom and lunch breaks? Does he have to close the pool?

 

(I am actually just curious now.)

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The job sound miserable for anybody. I still would tell either of my daughters in a similar situation to quit while quitting is possible. The conditions of the job aren't likely to change.

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If someone is in the pool, he's been walking back and forth.  Then he's fine.  He's not at risk of falling asleep when someone is in the pool, and wakes up if someone enters. 

 

It's not that he's super tired.  It's that a warm humid space, with muzak piped in, no natural light, and nothing to do isn't very stimulating, and he's always been a kid who falls asleep easily.  

 

He'd like to make it work, but I could easily convince him to quit if it was the more sensible choice.

 

I guess the part I'm wondering about is how does he know someone has  walked in if he's asleep?  How could anyone count on themselves to wake up after falling asleep (except maybe a mother with a baby monitor!) 

 

Clearly, his employers think it's a big deal that he's sleeping when on duty even if no one is the pool. 

 

My vote is to resign. 

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Would he be allowed to bring something to work on (or at least read!) during the down times so that he doesn't fall asleep?  I know the answer is probably that he has zero interest in asking for this, but I'd think as someone running a pool that they run into this problem with employees pretty often - it is hard to stay awake in an empty room with the humid warmth and the muzak, and I bet he isn't the first who falls asleep when no one is there.

 

But I can understand not tolerating lifeguards who sleep.  I just wonder if they could come up with a solution that allows him to keep his job and makes him more safe.

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No advice, but sympathy. For a few months I was reference librarian at a small, rural branch library. I regularly had 7 hour shifts with very little to do. I had to log questions and once I only logged one question for 7 hours and it was "where is the bathroom". I regularly nodded off at the desk, despite my best efforts. I was so happy to quit that job!

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You know, this sounds like a really unsafe setup. Eight hours seems way too long to expect someone to remain energetic and attentive.

 

Who covers him for bathroom and lunch breaks? Does he have to close the pool?

 

(I am actually just curious now.)

 

He works 5 a.m. to 11 a.m., but his replacement is routinely up to 2 hours late, hence the 8 hours.  Somehow that's not fireable, but since his shift is 6 hours, they don't need to give him a lunch break.  If he needs a bathroom break, a member of the maintenance staff covers for him, usually at some point when the pool is empty.

 

So, our state has 2 different kinds of lifeguard jobs.  One is the kind you see at Great Wolf Lodge, where someone is actively guarding, and then there are rules about how often you have to rotate them out, etc . . . 

 

But the other is what I call a "pool babysitter".  They check the pool chemicals, and stay in the pool area and are responsible for calling 911, and doing CPR, but they aren't technically watching the pool, so they don't need breaks etc . . . and someone CPR trained can cover for them.  

 

At the pool at our building the "pool babysitter" reads most of the time, and apparently that's legal, but DS's company has decided it gives them a bad reputation if someone looks in the window and sees the lifeguard reading.  

 

DS does watch the people swimming.  It's the most exciting thing he has to do, beside mopping, but it's not quite the same as a lifeguard at a large public pool.  

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He works 5 a.m. to 11 a.m., but his replacement is routinely up to 2 hours late, hence the 8 hours. Somehow that's not fireable, but since his shift is 6 hours, they don't need to give him a lunch break. If he needs a bathroom break, a member of the maintenance staff covers for him, usually at some point when the pool is empty.

 

So, our state has 2 different kinds of lifeguard jobs. One is the kind you see at Great Wolf Lodge, where someone is actively guarding, and then there are rules about how often you have to rotate them out, etc . . .

 

But the other is what I call a "pool babysitter". They check the pool chemicals, and stay in the pool area and are responsible for calling 911, and doing CPR, but they aren't technically watching the pool, so they don't need breaks etc . . . and someone CPR trained can cover for them.

 

At the pool at our building the "pool babysitter" reads most of the time, and apparently that's legal, but DS's company has decided it gives them a bad reputation if someone looks in the window and sees the lifeguard reading.

 

DS does watch the people swimming. It's the most exciting thing he has to do, beside mopping, but it's not quite the same as a lifeguard at a large public pool.

I'd advise him to resign. The fact that his replacement is two hours late is not his error. His being required to stay without a lunch break seems like some sort of reportable violation to me (I mean his employer being reported, not him, like to OSHA something).

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Well, good luck to the company finding someone to not fall asleep (or just quit out of frustration for other reasons) with that working situation.

 

It sounds like a miserable lot of boredom, honestly.  I'd rather do a physically hard job than one where you have to sit and look at a wall for hours at a time, in a room by yourself.

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I'm inclined to say he should quit, but, on the topic of what to do if his employer really can't think of more for him to do, can't he bring a tape recorder to listen to audiobooks or something? That he only has on when he's in the pool area alone? (no headphones, that would look bad, just like reading)

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If he's been caught sleeping twice, chances are that he's nodded off (even briefly, like sometimes happens at church after the clock switch!) more than that. It sounds like the conditions are still there for a repeat performance, so I'd encourage him to resign before being caught a third time & fired.

 

If the previous two times were because of some outside situation that wasn't likely to occur again, and he felt the seriousness of falling asleep as a lifeguard (even with an empty pool), I'd suggest sticking it out. It simply sounds like he isn't suited to this particular job in a drowsy setting. I'd chalk it up to a 'bad fit' and move on.

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You seem defensive to me in most of your follow up posts. That it's okay because he's bored, an easy sleeper, its safe because no one is there, etc. It's not okay. Sleeping on the job is not okay.  
​
​I'm going out an a limb and saying it's never okay to sleep on the job. Especially when you are a GURARD. He's an adult. You stay up and do the work. If he can't be responsible for that, then yes it's time to quit. 

 

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It sounds like anyone would struggle to keep awake. Can he write? Seeing someone writing industriously is different to seeing them reading.

 

But honestly if nothing is going to change he might as well quit so they can hire an insomniac.

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I'm inclined to say he should quit, but, on the topic of what to do if his employer really can't think of more for him to do, can't he bring a tape recorder to listen to audiobooks or something? That he only has on when he's in the pool area alone? (no headphones, that would look bad, just like reading)

 

No, he's already asked about that.

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So, I have no idea how they can make him guard that long without breaks. Here, state laws says lifeguards have to have a 10 minute break from guarding every hour.

 

Also, at my dh pool the guards do a lot of cleaning, like scrubbing tiles, vacuuming the pool, etc. But the pool your ds works at sounds like not enough people come in that would make it dirty enough to clean regularly.

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I would be bored and sleepy too, but at the same time, if a toddler or a baby got away from mom and dad, slipped into the pool and drowned, it would be almost silent and probably wouldn't wake him up. It's not worth the risk that he might be sleeping if that happens.

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I would be bored and sleepy too, but at the same time, if a toddler or a baby got away from mom and dad, slipped into the pool and drowned, it would be almost silent and probably wouldn't wake him up. It's not worth the risk that he might be sleeping if that happens.

 

There's no kids, outside of the childcare.  A baby or toddler would have to travel several floors, and the door would make the same noise when they open it that it makes for anyone else. 

 

I know I sound defensive, but it's because people are making it out like my kid is endangering people's lives.  He's not.  The management is upset because it looks bad to have people walk by and see him asleep.  Which is reasonable, and something they can absolutely choose to fire him for.  But they haven't chosen to thus far, which is why I'm asking this question.  

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That job sounds like torture. I used to have a job where every single 8 hour shift generated about 1 hour of work.  I was bored out of my mind, but at least I had coworkers to talk to and if we were on the night or weekend shifts, we could sneak in books and read.  

 

A warm, humid room with snoozy music?  I'd be out in a minute.

 

I like how a previous poster said they need to hire an insomniac.  There are so many of those around.  They'd either stay awake, or the job would cure their insomnia.

 

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Can he swim for 15 minutes every hour?  

 

But you know what?  It sounds to me like it's just a miserable job and why would he even want to do it?  Pick up other hours at the other job unless there's some compelling reason to stay.

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It sounds like a miserable job. I'd advise him to quit.

 

You seem defensive to me in most of your follow up posts. That it's okay because he's bored, an easy sleeper, its safe because no one is there, etc. It's not okay. Sleeping on the job is not okay.

​

​I'm going out an a limb and saying it's never okay to sleep on the job. Especially when you are a GURARD. He's an adult. You stay up and do the work. If he can't be responsible for that, then yes it's time to quit.

Not never. Some jobs it's ok to sleep.

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Can he swim for 15 minutes every hour?  

 

But you know what?  It sounds to me like it's just a miserable job and why would he even want to do it?  Pick up other hours at the other job unless there's some compelling reason to stay.

 

That would be easy.  No, he needs to wear a T shirt and long pants, so he can't get in the pool, unless I guess he's saving someone. 

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Can he swim for 15 minutes every hour?  

 

 

And who would be the life guard for that?

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Yeah you are defensive OP and I get it. But he needs to quit or be fired. It’s not ok, no matter the circumstances, to sleep while being paid to monitor something- even if inactive/empty.

 

I get how boring and hot and long and hard and unwieldy and humid and the hassles and the lack of breaks. Less excuses more reckoning with reality IMHO. Either do the job or quit/be fired.

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Op, I think I remember a previous thread about this job. Iirc, they won't let your son have a fan, or read, or have headphones etc.

 

I think he should leave and concentrate on the other job.

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He should quit.

 

It does not sound like good working conditions but as the lifeguard it's his job to ensure it's safe or report the conditions. Headphones are not safe for a lifeguard.

 

Patty Joanna's letter was an excellent format.

 

In a separate letter he should consider apologizing for his performance. Sleeping on the job is a big deal. 

Edited by Tsuga

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