When I was initially working, not many people greeted me, or acknowledged me, or really paid me much attention--they didn't really see me as anything other than just another lifeguard, which as a patron you tend not to notice too much unless you form a bond with a particular guard.
...And then the music came on.
So I did what I always do:
Instantly, the recognition kicked in. Apparently I was different enough in appearance that it took this action for them to go, "Is that the...it is! It's the lifeguard who dances! The lifeguard who dances is back!" And then there was much rejoicing since apparently, I was missed. (It's good to feel missed.)
I mean, they apparently forgot my name; everyone used to call me by name without needing to ask but this time I was just "the lifeguard who dances" essentially until someone directly asked me, butstill. Goes to show you how much I've changed, how long I've been away, and also...how much of an impression I make.
In other news, a coworker asked me about job searching. I explained the basics, though I always fear I give off the impression that because I'm job searching I'm intending on leaving--which is exactly the opposite of the truth, and thus why I really don't like to discuss it because I'm terrified of giving that false impression.
I like lifeguarding.
I really, really do.
It's hard. It's exhausting. It drains a lot. It makes me encounter uncomfortable situations. There's a ton of ambiguity which I do bad at. There's a lot of rules which I don't have properly memorized. There's a lot of things I have to do, and a lot of things I am forbidden from doing. There's a fine line to walk between the too strict and the too loose and I never know where I am at any given time. Plus it's a ton of work to maintain the position. Stressful tests every 2 years which are extensive; lesser tests every 1 or even half year to add even more to the job.
But I really like doing it.
It's just that there's absolutely 0% ways to make it a viable career. Maybe, maybe, maybe a launching point into a career. (Though even that is iffy. First, there's the question of what jobs I'm qualified for or could even get qualified for. Then, there's the whole nasty habit of my bosses being let go due to budget cuts, so being promoted is a good way to lose the job essentially.) But AS a career...well. It's basically minimum wage. Maxing out at 38 hours a week.
I work a third of that length. (About 9 hours, give or take.) At basically minimum wage per hour. (I mean. This is Washington State minimum wage. Literally the highest in the whole country if I recall correctly. But expenses are similarly high. It's cheaper to live in other places. MUCH cheaper. A cheap house is quite literally $300,000. CHEAP. house. Most houses, even really sucky ones, can go for half a million minimum. And rent? Not much better.)
That's not enough to live independently. That's certainly not enough to start transitioning. So I just can't get what I want while working there, even though I love working there. (Aside from the gender dysphoria associated with not being out of the closet yet there.) I really don't want to give it up. I don't work there for the paycheck. I work there as a service, as a gift, as a community interaction, because I like people and like helping people and interacting with people and my job lets me. I'm literally paid to do something I love to do anyway.
It's just that it doesn't pay enough for me to actually live my life as I need it to be.
Anyway, family night tonight, so this is probably it for the day.