Are you wondering why I'm ashore?
I'm in the application / hiring process for a new job!
I've applied to work for an individual company vice a union. I will still be working on ships, and I'll have to take a drop down in rank to get started but, I'll have a lot more stability on the job front.
In the reader survey one reader wanted to know the back story on why I make some of the choices I make. I had never really thought about the fact that I share my changes but, I rarely share the why.
In this case, I started looking for a new venue for one reason:
I need some stability.
I haven't had an actual schedule in over a year and to be a little more accurate, in over 2.5 years. When I was sailing Chief Mate I was on a tramp vessel with a world wide schedule - the last time we pulled into port we were almost 40 days past our due off dates. When I joined my last ship I went into the union hall and had no clue a) how long it was going to take me to find a ship and b) how long the rotation would be for.
This would be fine and dandy if I was 22 but I'm almost 32.
I have a mortgage, a car payment and financial goals.
I also have friends and family I'd like to visit, trips I'd like to plan and time I'd like to allocate.
I need some stability.
I worked really hard in my younger years to advance my license and diversify my resume - and did a good job. What I'm looking for now is career advancement. Where can I go from here? This is the question I ask myself when I'm looking at new opportunities.
When I think about my career I imagine a jungle gym instead of a ladder. I want to be able to move side to side as well as up and down.
Does this company have shoreside opportunities available? Does this position give me a skill set that is in demand in any other sector of the maritime industry? Will I be in a position to learn? Is the pay high enough that I can cover all my expenses and plan for the future? Does this company have regional ties to the places I'd consider living long term?
If the answer is yes then I'm really, really interested.
In this specific case this opportunity provides something I'm really looking for: stability.
Stability, it seems, is much more important than I gave it credit for being. It's essentially the foundation of my shipping life. Corny metaphor aside, it's the anchor in the storm.
When bags are packed, and ships are joined the knowing is what makes it all feel manageable. The comings and goings, the challenges, the ups and downs - they're manageable, fun even - when you know there is a beginning and an end. When the daily challenge becomes not knowing a whole new set of challenges arise because, there is nothing fun about any of it and, it's really hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I went out looking for some knowing, some stability, some light for my tunnel - and found some.
Here's to new opportunities!