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  • Difficulties making friendships?

    Two questions here, been wondering about both of them very much for a while now.

    To those of you who have been in the m.a for several years- I've become slightly worried about the prospects of meeting new people when I have a job that would require me to be away for at least half the year. I'm not the most sociable guy anyway, but I just wondered how this affected you, in regards to making new, longlasting friendships, or even just maintaining current ones?


    As well as this, I also had a vague wonderment regarding the salary. I'm not sure if this is too much of a personal question, but in your experience, have you done alright? Given that most people here wouldn't actually be home to spend their money for most months out of the year, I'm guessing it must be incredibly easy to save a large amount of money over the years, as long as you live relatively modestly?

  • #2
    Hi there.
    I've been at sea around 10 years, and in that time I've lost all but a two of my friends from before the M.N. Generally our interests divided, and I tended to seek out like minded people who enjoyed travelling and the same interests as me. My closest friends all work at sea, and even if we're on different ships make a real effort to meet up on leave.
    Also, when you get older, you tend to find that you have a much smaller group of friends and everyone else being an aquintance. Now that I'm married with children (I met my wife on a cruise ship), I also focus my time towards them. In addition, through my job in the Merchant Navy I've found myself living abroad more often, where the expat communities are more open to welcoming you in and making friends, going on activities etc.
    As for time away, it really depends on what you want, but time for time (i.e. 6 weeks on / 6 weeks off, 3 months on / 3 months off) has become more common. This kind of schedule gives you a lot of quality time on vacation, where nobody calls you or disturbs you and you can travel or do whatever you want. Generally though, most people are working 9-5 and so can't really come with you and do what you want, so you have to find a new group of friends that are available and take up a hobby. I personally have a private pilots license, which introduces me to many different people.

    As for money, I think the earning potential in the merchant navy is much more then your average salaries in the UK. As a newly qualified officer you can easily start on salaries superior to those of a graduate doctor, and bearing in mind those salaries are tax free.

    The life works for some people, and not for others. When I'm in the UK and see people waking up at 6am, commuting to work, finishing at 5 or 6, commuting home in the dark (winter) and after a stop at the supermarket arrive home at 8 or 9pm without any real time to spend with their kids, I genuinely feel sorry for them. They spend their weekends catching up on the general household jobs, and look forward to spending 2 weeks a year in Benidorm. I'd rather have the quality time where I can take my kids to school, pick them up and take the whole 6 weeks school holiday to take them to nice places. Maybe I'm biased, but I think I got the better deal.

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    • #3
      I would have to agree with mariner on the point of time away. Although I haven't lived the life of a seafarer yet, (roll on September), I am the son of a chief engineer and got used to when my dad was away, but when he got home he was always there to do things with and we used to go on 6 weeks holidays to spain when he was home. Most kids can't say they got to do that in the summer.

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      • #4
        Well put AM. One of the main reasons I have gone down this path, is because I one day want to be a live-aboard (on a yacht) - I have no aspirations of staying in the UK, I am planning on keeping my boat in the Med somewhere. This career ticks all my boxes...I'll have enough money to save up for a decent yacht. I'll have enough time off for it to be worthwhile for cruising on it. I struggle to see a job around here, where I could live the life that I want to live...without getting sucked into paying rent, paying for a car, paying tax, paying for phones; the list goes on.

        I see people, living their dreams, with their laminate floor, flat screen tellies, cars on finance, and a big fat pile of negative equity. It's just not for me. All the crappy stuff on the telly, all the crappy music on the radio; makes my blood boil, and I'll be made up when I'm detached from it all. Most of the people of that stamp, who I've spoken to, think I am mental.


        As for your point about the social side of things, you're likely to be in a position to pursue the hell out of a hobby; and what better people to be friends with, than with people who are into the same **** as you? There's loads of stuff you could do with the time you'll have off, and the expendable income you'll have.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by AncientMariner View Post
          When I'm in the UK and see people waking up at 6am, commuting to work, finishing at 5 or 6, commuting home in the dark (winter) and after a stop at the supermarket arrive home at 8 or 9pm without any real time to spend with their kids, I genuinely feel sorry for them. They spend their weekends catching up on the general household jobs, and look forward to spending 2 weeks a year in Benidorm. I'd rather have the quality time where I can take my kids to school, pick them up and take the whole 6 weeks school holiday to take them to nice places. Maybe I'm biased, but I think I got the better deal.
          Originally posted by billwillis View Post
          ...without getting sucked into paying rent, paying for a car, paying tax, paying for phones; the list goes on.

          I see people, living their dreams, with their laminate floor, flat screen tellies, cars on finance, and a big fat pile of negative equity. It's just not for me. All the crappy stuff on the telly, all the crappy music on the radio; makes my blood boil, and I'll be made up when I'm detached from it all. Most of the people of that stamp, who I've spoken to, think I am mental.
          Guys, I think that you have both got out a rather large brush to paint in the details here ......

          I spent some years at sea before going shoreside and starting my own business. Partly due to an accident, partly due to contract changes, partly to do with challenge I decided to start my own business. 24 years later I have no regrets AT ALL. I was at home for all the key stages in my kids lives, and have as many holidays with them as I can stand... (less since they became teeneagers! lol)

          There are many wives, with partners at sea who would love them to be in a 9 to 5 job, especially when kids are born. There was some research back in the 80's that put the divorce rate in the MN in the top 10, but I also remember reading a report into homeless men over 45 and there was a high proportion of services and MN people.

          For the record.... I do have a flat screen telly but I don't watch crap on it. I work from 9:30 to 3:30 4 days a week in the office and a bit more at home and occasionally a day on a weekend. I have a nice luxury motor, not on finance, and do not have negative equity! I have NEVER been to Benidorm, I prefer Barbados. And as to what people earn, I think that many people would be envious of my lifestyle.

          Please do not make sweeping statements.

          Originally posted by AncientMariner View Post
          The life works for some people, and not for others.
          That was probably a fairer statement. It worked for me in reality and I loved it, it was just unfortunate that there was a huge downturn as the big box boats started to appear and conditions for UK Officers were being erroded massively.

          And with respect billwillis you have yet to experience the life. Whilst I wish you all the luck in the world and would love to here you tell me that you made it to Captain, in reality the MN has a very large wastage rate, and many change career as I did. I have not one single regret......

          Wellllll.....

          Maybe one........

          I do miss the peace and solitude of a deep sea 12-4 watch at night, with a clear sky, warm weather and what seems like 200 million stars to look at with a wonderful phosphorescent trail behind you in the sea.

          I don't want to start a bun fight guys, I just thought your comments were a bit sweeping and aloof.

          Ian
          "Any damn fool can navigate the world sober. It takes a really good sailor to do it drunk." - Sir Francis Chichester.
          "Waves are not measured in feet or inches, they are measured in increments of fear." - Buzzy Trent

          "Careers at Sea" Ambassador - Experience of General Cargo, Combo ships, Tanker, Product Carrier, Gas Carrier, Ro-Ro, Reefer Container, Anchor Handlers.

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi Ian,

            I understand what your saying, and I'm not talking about your situation. But I have many friends who graduated university who are struggling to make ends meet in an average 9-5, commuting several hours a day. So when compared to that, I think it's not a bad life at sea. Time on = time off is more normal today then it was 15-20 years ago.

            Admittedly, I've managed to find a mixture between the best of both worlds, at sea around anything from 1 to 4 months per year, yet living an expatriate life with my family 8am to 2pm 5 days a week for the rest of the time. This is all through being in the Merchant Navy. I really do wonder where I'd have been if I hadn't gone to sea.

            I'm also guessing that your career at sea helped you get where you are today.

            As I said before, it works for some, but not for others.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by AncientMariner View Post
              I'm also guessing that your career at sea helped you get where you are today.
              Sailing with 24 hairy arsed sailors can in no way prepare you for working with over 100 women .......

              Give me the sailors anyday, ......even if they are scousers! lol

              Joking aside, before anyone knicks my wheels, I think sailing with scouse crews were some of the highlights of my time at sea. You never came off a night watch without having had a real laugh at some stage with your lookout. Tommy, where are you when I need a laugh? Plus I did my apprenticeship in Liverpool, had a great time.

              Ian
              "Any damn fool can navigate the world sober. It takes a really good sailor to do it drunk." - Sir Francis Chichester.
              "Waves are not measured in feet or inches, they are measured in increments of fear." - Buzzy Trent

              "Careers at Sea" Ambassador - Experience of General Cargo, Combo ships, Tanker, Product Carrier, Gas Carrier, Ro-Ro, Reefer Container, Anchor Handlers.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Hatchorder View Post
                Sailing with 24 hairy arsed sailors can in no way prepare you for working with over 100 women .......
                haha, now thats a job my wife wouldn't want me doing. How on earth did you get that lucky?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by AncientMariner View Post
                  haha, now thats a job my wife wouldn't want me doing. How on earth did you get that lucky?
                  I decided it was a good idea at a time! Since then bought another business - in this one I only employ 36 women...... Doh, you'd think I'd learnt my lesson the last time!

                  Ian
                  "Any damn fool can navigate the world sober. It takes a really good sailor to do it drunk." - Sir Francis Chichester.
                  "Waves are not measured in feet or inches, they are measured in increments of fear." - Buzzy Trent

                  "Careers at Sea" Ambassador - Experience of General Cargo, Combo ships, Tanker, Product Carrier, Gas Carrier, Ro-Ro, Reefer Container, Anchor Handlers.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Billwillis, I'm very sorry, but I totally disagree with you. Whilst doing that sort of thing may make you happy, the life ashore would make others happy as well and at the end of the day, if that makes them happy then what right do we have to disparage it?

                    Even though I work shore-side (quite a few reasons behind that that I won't go into here), I don't have negative equity (whatever that is), im not in debt or anything like that and I generally enjoy the work I do (most of the time).

                    However, the only things I ever really want from life is a comfortable bed and a decent pay cheque, everything else is added extras.

                    Now if only there was someone out there hiring consultants to do nothing but drydockings around the world.....
                    I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.....

                    All posts here represent my own opinion and not that of my employer.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Hatchorder View Post
                      Sailing with 24 hairy arsed sailors can in no way prepare you for working with over 100 women .......

                      Give me the sailors anyday, ......even if they are scousers! lol

                      Joking aside, before anyone knicks my wheels, I think sailing with scouse crews were some of the highlights of my time at sea. You never came off a night watch without having had a real laugh at some stage with your lookout. Tommy, where are you when I need a laugh? Plus I did my apprenticeship in Liverpool, had a great time.

                      Ian
                      I'm sure you'd be happily welcome back anytime. When and where did you do your apprenticeship?
                      I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.....

                      All posts here represent my own opinion and not that of my employer.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by GuinnessMan View Post
                        Billwillis, I'm very sorry, but I totally disagree with you. Whilst doing that sort of thing may make you happy, the life ashore would make others happy as well and at the end of the day, if that makes them happy then what right do we have to disparage it?

                        Even though I work shore-side (quite a few reasons behind that that I won't go into here), I don't have negative equity (whatever that is), im not in debt or anything like that and I generally enjoy the work I do (most of the time).

                        However, the only things I ever really want from life is a comfortable bed and a decent pay cheque, everything else is added extras.

                        Now if only there was someone out there hiring consultants to do nothing but drydockings around the world.....

                        I'm not entirely sure what you are disagreeing with?

                        "I see people, living their dreams, with their laminate floor, flat screen tellies, cars on finance, and a big fat pile of negative equity. It's just not for me. All the crappy stuff on the telly, all the crappy music on the radio; makes my blood boil, and I'll be made up when I'm detached from it all. Most of the people of that stamp, who I've spoken to, think I am mental. " -

                        It might sound like I am having a pop at the aforementioned. I also guess that it looks a very sweeping GROSS generalization. I'm not having a pop really- most of the people that I know, that I am referring to are friends, and family. My uni pals are all in entry level jobs, or on the dole. All my other mates seem to be getting on with their lives; that suit them. One man's plastic, is another's magic!

                        We all have different goals. Mine does not include any of the above. Sorry if I sound like a condescending prick. Like I said; they all think that I am mad; and vice versa.

                        Negative equity- getting a mortgage of X amount on a house that is worth X amount, at that moment in time. Then the housing market drops, and you're up **** creek without a paddle.... or stuck with bricks an mortar until things improve.

                        Hatchorder; it sounds like I have touched a nerve; but let me just say; Benidorm sounds boss.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          If your question about relationships are about families, my step father and two step brothers all in the merchant navy are married with kids or settling down with someone, Aslong as your friends know about your career it will be fine on the other hand some people just can't deal with there partners being away for one periods of time

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by E.Frank View Post
                            To those of you who have been in the m.a for several years- I've become slightly worried about the prospects of meeting new people when I have a job that would require me to be away for at least half the year. I'm not the most sociable guy anyway, but I just wondered how this affected you, in regards to making new, longlasting friendships, or even just maintaining current ones?


                            As well as this, I also had a vague wonderment regarding the salary. I'm not sure if this is too much of a personal question, but in your experience, have you done alright? Given that most people here wouldn't actually be home to spend their money for most months out of the year, I'm guessing it must be incredibly easy to save a large amount of money over the years, as long as you live relatively modestly?
                            Most people are sociable so unless you're completely annoying (as in you drive people insane) you'll be alright.

                            On ship, people will tend to come and go regularly - you won't all be working the same rotation or contract lengths (normally) - I guess its probably less often changed on cargo vessels and vessels with smaller crews - but on passenger vessels people will come and go in pretty much every port - end result being that you can join a ship, make friends and by the time you leave all the original people have already gone, then by the time you come back a month or two later everyones changed again! (Slight exaggeration, but it can happen if your holiday happens to be over a seasonal change). Then you may also not return to the same ship anyway.

                            You get used to it and as I said above most people tend to be sociable and make the effort of including / talking to new people (if only because its someone new to speak to ).

                            As for friends at home - as others have said after you leave school, you'll slowly loose touch with people you've been friends with at school - even your best friends - this is inevitable regardless of whether you work at sea or not - you can make an effort to stay in touch - I do occasionally "Catch up" with some people I know from school, university and my job before I came to sea - but its more a coffee or lunch a few times a year than anything else as you may find you don't really have anything in common anymore.

                            Despite the size of the world you will find you bump into people you have worked with on ship, on other ships and even around town - I think I bumped into more people I know in Civitavecchia one day than I have ever bumped into in my home town! You'll keep in touch with them on FaceBook but to be honest, unless they live nearby and happen to be home the same time as you, you probably won't see them in person again.

                            Salaries vary, however you will save up cash at sea and if you don't have any real commitments at home (like me), you certainly have enough to play with.
                            ?Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn?t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.?

                            ? Mark Twain
                            myBlog | @alistairuk | flickr | youtube Views and opinions expressed are those of myself and not representative of any employer or other associated party.

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                            • #15
                              Mrs chiefy wouldn't have it any other way :-)

                              That special one is tricky, but it depends on the peperson, and when you meet them, school time relationships tend not to survive, but if it's all the person ahs eever known you do then it's easy..well easier :-)
                              Trust me I'm a Chief.

                              Views expressed by me are mine and mine alone.
                              Yes I work for the big blue canoe company.
                              No I do not report things from here to them as they are quite able to come and read this stuff for themselves.


                              Twitter:- @DeeChief

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