Workplace a cure for ‘fomo’

Work's up . . . St Kilda Surf Life Saving Club head lifeguard Conall Duncan, senior lifeguard Jackson Aluesi (17) and head lifeguard Matt Bradley are working when most people are on holiday. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

A love of the ocean stops “fomo” hitting Dunedin lifeguards too hard.

St Clair Surf Life Saving Club head lifeguard Matt Bradley admitted he suffered from a
“bit of fomo” when he is working and friends were on holiday outside Dunedin.

Fomo – an acronym for fear of missing out – is the feeling others might be having rewarding experiences while you are not.

The feeling dissipates quickly for lifeguards when they look at their workplace.

“Our playground is the ocean – we all have a love for the ocean. It’s not an everyday job.
Coming here is a lot easier than most 9 to 5 jobs.”

As a paid lifeguard, Mr Bradley works between 11am and 7pm Monday to Friday, between December 17 and February 1.

Volunteers work the weekends.

If a public holiday, such as Christmas Day or New Year’s Day, falls on a weekday, he works it.

Working on Christmas Day was “not too bad”.

“You are around a good group of people. Coming down here is like hanging out with
mates, which makes it a lot easier.”

Junior lifeguards regularly delivered food to those on patrol, which made working easier.

The weather dictated how busy they were, Mr Bradley said.

A sunny day could result in an “intense” day for lifeguards.

If people on the beach had been drinking alcohol before going for a swim, it could result in swimming outside the flags or “out of their depth”.

“When you’re sober you know you are struggling and shouldn’t be out that far, but when they’re drunk they feel like they’re invincible.”

St Kilda Surf Life Saving Club head lifeguard Conall Duncan said St Kilda Beach
had become busier in recent years due to erosion at St Clair Beach.

He also experienced fomo but chose the job because of a need “to be on the beach, supporting his community”.

“It’s not a job – it’s a lifestyle.”