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Disheartened and trapped

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  • Disheartened and trapped

    Hello all!

    I am an engineering cadet and I had a horrific first trip - bullying, sickness, lack of training - the works. I requested to leave the ship and was brought to head office for a "career interview". Everything that happened was discussed because at this point, I didn't care about upsetting anyone. I am very dedicated to a career at sea but after that experience all I wanted to do was leave. Head office were shocked and apologised deeply for letting me down and pleaded for me to give it another go. Despite my reservations, I agreed to do another trip and this one has been better but I'm still deeply unhappy with the job and some of the things/attitudes in my department. I extended my trip to get on with my taskbook regardless but some of the deck officers encouraged me to spend some time on the bridge, which I have in my own time and it was like a totally different world. I was encouraged, trusted and respected as an equal (within reason of course, I am a cadet ).

    Basically, I have my heart set on transferring cadetships now and I have heard of quite a few cadets transferring departments in my company and the Choff onboard even suggested I go for it without me evening mentioning it was on my mind. They are keen to have me apparently.

    I contacted the officer in charge of cadets ashore and asked him if it was a possibilility and got shot down in flames! He basically said if I wanted to change, the only way would be to RESIGN and reapply, but with no guarentee I would be accepted. In my mind this translates to you did us a favour and gave it another go, you still are unhappy, we don't care, carry on and be miserable and forever be trapped as an engineer, or resign and reapply to the other department, at which point we'll say f*** off because we'll have your smart funding.

    After all, thats my options! If I finish as an engineer, I will never have the chance to do a deck cadetship and if I resign and reapply, they will probably say no and no company will touch me without smart funding. This seems especially unfair when cadets with lesser reputations and dedication have been given an easy change in the past.

    I suppose I'm ranting on here as a last desperate measure to see if anyone has an advice for me? Should I try and go above his head, should I contact Nautilus? I just don't know, all I know is I'm feeling trapped and doomed lol.

    Thanks in advance for any help.

  • #2
    To be honest, even five years ago it would have been possible as i did know one cadet who did it, however with the changes and the cut backs I doubt you can now...
    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.


    • #3
      If you work for who I suspect you do, are you sure that SMarT funding even comes into it?

      Or I may have misread the cues.


      • #4
        First of all I have to say that I am sorry to hear you had a lousy first trip. It really is make or break for a lot of cadets and the top down attitude of the ship should be one to encourage and support cadets. It is already bad enough that you are in a new environment miles from home but if people on board do not look out for you then they are not doing their jobs properly. Have they forgotten what it was like to be a cadet themselves or are they stuck up their own backsides now they have a full gold braid or more?

        Secondly your employer does have a duty of care to you and therefore have to take things seriously. Did you put it in writing to them at the time? You say you had a better second trip, was that because you felt better or you were treated differently?

        There is also the distinct possibility that you have just made a wrong decision as to which department at sea to join and now you have the gut wrenching feeling that you have "screwed up" for want of a better word. You are not the first, or the last.

        If you have been a model cadet then speaking to your company on a one to one may lead them to consider transferring you to the deck department and starting again. After all there are not many Deckies who know how to do anything mechanically other than push the go / stop button and ring the engine room when it does not work so you may be considered an asset. Also, how close are you to finishing? I thought that Engineers only did limited sea-time and therefore you may be near to the end of your course. Is it worth gritting your teeth and finishing the course and getting qualified? That way at least you stuck it out and your company may well reconsider you at the end knowing you showed some grit once you had realised you made a mistake. If ou change company then they will also see you have the ability to complete and stick at something.

        If you will not be able to get Smart funding because it has already been used then you will have "screwed the pooch" with any organisation, but from what Steve says, perhaps they have not had it for you, in which case qualify, reapply to your old company and then if they do not employ you, sack em off and reapply to other companies. Personally if your company is not doing enough to look after you it sounds like they are not the best employers in the first place.

        Could you self fund if the Smart funding has gone. If you want it badly enough that may be your only option.

        There is one other small thing though. Maybe you are unhappy because you are not cut out for a life at sea? It does happen. I don't want to make assumptions here, but you have not given us a lot to go on. You may well have talked to Deckies and got a sympathetic ear, but the reality of working on the bridge may not suit you either in the long run. Try and analyse what it is you liked and disliked and find out if any of it was you. Do you get on well with other cadets at college? Do you feel left out? All of these things may well answer the question for you if you sit and think them through logically.

        Finally is there someone who you respect and trust who is either an engineer or a deckie who you can sit down and talk to face to face? No point being hasty now and regretting it later on. Spend some time talking it through with them.

        I know none of this answers anything and just raises more questions, but it is not a simple question like which calculator to buy. This is far more complex. Maybe someone else on here from the engineers may be able to help you or if you know anyone from your company on here PM them and ask to talk to them on the phone.

        I hope this helps.

        "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.


        • #5
          From what you are saying I'm not sure that it is a problem with being an engineer vs a deckie but more a problem with the engineers in your company or ships.
          Sometimes you'll get a ship with a particularly bad deck department, sometimes its the engineering department sometimes both are absolutely awful.

          Do you enjoy the actual work on board and at collage? and its the crew on board who is the problem, or do you dislike the work?

          It might be worth just trying to knuckle down and deal with it until you have got your sea time in then look into moving to a better company when you have got your ticket.

          However make sure you give your company exact details of what is going on onboard particularly of anything dodgy or illegal if they don't seem bothered there is definatly something seriously wrong and you should consider taking it further.


          • #6
            bullying, sickness, lack of training - the works.

            Terrible, only thing that fears me at sea.
            It's not about where you are from, it's all about where you are going.


            • #7
              DONT SWAP! lol i you do deck you really are trapped. finish your engine ticket and academic course and you can move ashore no problems go deck your stuck at sea for at least 10 years.. and trust me it is no better if you get a rubish ship


              • #8
                A fellow Cadet I'm training with started as an engineer but after his first phase found that he really didn't like the engine room, he asked to switch to deck last year. He's with SSTG and I think they were quite reasonable about it, really sad to hear that that's how your first trip went mate and all the best for the future.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Unregistered View Post
                  DONT SWAP! lol i you do deck you really are trapped. finish your engine ticket and academic course and you can move ashore no problems go deck your stuck at sea for at least 10 years.. and trust me it is no better if you get a rubish ship
                  Whilst I hate to agree, it is half true. As Deckie, if you move ashore without your Masters ticket, you'll always be the failed second mate who went ashore and will be overstepped by classmates who wait a few years and get the Masters ticket. For engineers its much much easier to move ashore at an earlier stage.
                  That being said, I think the Deckies have a much better life onboard.... But thats just my opinion :-)


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