It has been announced that Guardian applications for RTX Austin will be going live on Friday, so it's time for me to do my customary "so you want to be a Guardian" post! Your fabulous overlords are @SailorTweek (Mary) and @sirNARVY (Chris), and they are the ultimate resource for your Guardian questions and concerns. Mary is always happy to answer your Guardian queries via a PM here on the site. Keep in mind their jurisdiction is Guardians and only Guardians; your questions or concerns about other parts of RTX are not something they can help with!
(Apologies in advance if formatting is weird. I'm writing the entirety of this on my phone because this is the only free time I'm going to have for the next two weeks!)
I have spent 4 years on the Guardian team (PA specifically), 3 of it as a team lead alongside the magnificent @kriss. Having that consistency from year to year gives me a great frame of reference to tell you RTX is always changing. I don't mean the content of it, but the event itself. It's organic and grows and breathes and has its moments where you question its sanity. No year is the same as the last, and even each day brings a new set of experiences and challenges. What is asked of Guardians is fluid (within reasonable boundaries) and even returning to the same team doesn't mean your weekend will look the same. I say all this to drive the point home that the ability to be flexible is PARAMOUNT. Weird stuff is going to happen. The beautiful part of Guardianship is there are a couple hundred other people there to help along with your team leads.
The second thing to take away from this is that you need to be honest in your application. How you fill it out doesn't just play into your acceptance, but also what team you are placed on. If you play the "answer with what [you] think they want to see" game you're doing yourself a massive disservice. You'd be surprised what they're looking for when they review applications! My first year I had no previous experience working a convention, but talked about my experience working retail and teaching classes when I applied. There are a lot of factors that go into choosing Guardians and placing them on teams, and a lot of care goes into trying to match people with where they will be the most successful and enjoy their time working the show. Honesty is truly the best policy.
If you aren't chosen, please do not take it personally. Guardianship traditionally has around a 25% acceptance rate due to the sheer volume of applications received. They physically can't take everyone they'd like to! That's also the reason why even longtime veteran Guardians have to reapply year after year, including the team leads. Just take it as an opportunity to enjoy the con as an attendee and reapply next year! To that end, regardless of whether you're accepted or not I always recommend saving your answers in a document somewhere so you can expand on it the following year rather than starting from scratch each time.
Being a Guardian is work. Hard work. Like walking 40 miles over the course of the event and having 16 hour days is normal for me. It's physically and mentally draining in a way you have not experienced before (unless you've worked other cons in which case yeah you probably get it). You are there to work, and you're expected to do so. There's no room for deciding to slack off; doing so puts your team at a disadvantage, and you're too cool to be the one who makes things harder for your team, right? Don't worry, you'll get breaks! We're not heartless, we just need to have your breaks planned for is all.
When you complete your application, you'll be asked about your team preferences. These are just preferences, you are not guaranteed anything. Even people who have been on the same Guardian team since RTX started are not guaranteed. Your preferences tell the powers that be what sort of jobs you'd be interested in and what your perceived strengths are. They may read your answers and realize what you're describing would actually make you a better fit for Team C than teams A or B that you've marked. There are also teams that aren't listed on the preferences that you may be selected for. Ultimately people are placed where the event needs them.
TL;DR - Be honest, be prepared to *work*, and be flexible.
I myself have opted to not return to the Guardian team this year. It's something I've put a lot of thought in to, and no one single factor has led me to this decision. I will miss my Guardian family, but I wish all of you good luck in your applications and your adventures as Guardians in 2018!