Careers require confidence

Jehn Kubiak recounts her experience as a lifeguard and the lessons she learned during it.


Photo courtesy of Jenna Kubiak

Jehn Kubiak, Writer

In a competitive world full of talented people, many might struggle with self-confidence. Self-confidence plays a critical part to success in all areas of life, especially in workplace environments. This summer, I worked at a Christian camp called Forest Home as a lifeguard. Lifeguarding requires a critical amount of self-confidence and my lack of it became apparent when I started guarding others’ lives for the first time.


Lifeguards must go through an intensive training process and earn Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), first aid and Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) certifications in addition to the lifeguard certification. Lifeguards cannot hesitate to enter the water and rescue a distressed swimmer or drowning victim since any delay could endanger someone’s life. They must also stay calm when performing first aid and recall their training on the spot in order to provide the best care.

Lifeguards carry a large responsibility as they hold in their hands the safety of many different lives at once. When I first learned water safety skills, I could perform them. However, I still felt scared to enter the water if I ever had to rescue someone, because I feared I would forget the different saves and perform the incorrect one.

As a lifeguard, I treated many nosebleeds and bee stings. The first time I performed first aid this summer happened during my first shift at the pool when a kid approached me with a nosebleed. When I saw blood, I panicked — my first instinct told me to ask my coworker what I should do instead of relying on my training. As the summer went on however, I realized I had all the knowledge necessary to provide the correct care for different first aid situations. I just needed confidence in my training and peace throughout the situation.


Like many summer camps, Forest Home has a blob — a large, inflatable yellow and blue striped pillow where one person jumps on one end causing the other to launch off the other end. Part of my job as a lifeguard involved working the blob tower, and during the first three weeks of camp, I dreaded working this particular rotation.

After a while, I discovered I disliked working it because I lacked self-confidence in my ability to send people off the blob correctly. Once I realized I lacked self confidence, I made the mental change to think more on the positive side. Even if I felt unsure of myself at times, by the end of the summer I held full confidence in my abilities as a lifeguard and looked forward to sending people off the blob—even those who performed risky tricks like flips.


I still carry the lessons I learned this summer with me as I continue guarding for the Biola pool, but I realized the lack of confidence I originally had as a lifeguard appeared in other areas of my life as well. Self-confidence is crucial to success, especially in a career field. If people do not trust the abilities God gave them, they become less likely to take a risk and venture into a career field unknown to them. Job supervisors may also grow tentative to trust someone with a task if they see they feel uncomfortable performing it.

Having self-confidence will help remedy discomfort and allow you to tackle tough responsibilities and projects with tranquility instead of anxiety. When you finally gain the necessary self-confidence, taking risks and venturing into the unknown will gradually become easier and you will enjoy what you do.


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