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  • Having Doubts

    Great site here, glad I found it. I'll use the anonymous forum for my first question though.

    Basically I have a place on container ships sorted but have not signed the contract yet. I am due to start in Warsash in september this years. I have been thinking about the career for a while now but have only really got a good idea about what it involves after my interview. Since then I have been having some serious doubts if this is the right thing for me or not. I am mainly worried about if I will like and adapt to life on boxboats where there are only a small number of crew. I worry that I might miss my friends and family who I am very close too. The lifestyle and living conditions are also far removed from how my life is at the moment. The massive amount of time away (8 months first phase and nearly a year in year 3) during training are a bit daunting to say the least.

    It's not the job side of it that worries me at all, it's more the lifestyle and fitting in on a ship.

    I just don't know what to do. I would ideally like another year to think about it and make sure I am doing it for the right reasons but would this effect things with my company if I kind of defered the place by a year? Is this even possible? Basically I have a good position with a good company but I wonder if starting the training with some serious doubts is the best thing to do.

    Any advice?

  • #2
    Re: Having Doubts

    Believe me, your concerns are that of nearly every cadet I know, including myself. I was worrying about the same things before I went to sea for the first time.

    Working at sea is not just a job, it is a lifestyle choice. If you are really interested and want to do this job there is no reason why you can't go far and become a really good Officer. During your first trip there will almost certainly be a time where you feel that the job isn't right for you and you want to go home. This is very common and I don't actually know a person who didn't have this. If you keep on going until the end of your first sea trip you will most probably have loved the time and be certain this is the job for you. If you still think, at that point, that you don't want to do it then fine, at least you gave it your best shot and there's no shame in that it's not for everyone.

    I wasn't sure when I first started, I wanted to come home on my first trip. I'm now about to leave on my last trip and will be qualifying in the new year and I would not swap this job for anything. It is worth it in the long run mate, just give it a chance. Stay until the end of your first trip before you make any rash decisions. That was the advice I was given

    To boldly go.....
    Forum Administrator
    OfficerCadet.com

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    • #3
      Re: Having Doubts

      The only person who can make this decision is you, however I will try to fill in a few blanks.
      Originally posted by The Anonymous 1
      Great site here, glad I found it. I'll use the anonymous forum for my first question though.

      Basically I have a place on container ships sorted but have not signed the contract yet. I am due to start in Warsash in september this years. I have been thinking about the career for a while now but have only really got a good idea about what it involves after my interview. Since then I have been having some serious doubts if this is the right thing for me or not. I am mainly worried about if I will like and adapt to life on boxboats where there are only a small number of crew.
      All commercial vessels apart from Cruise Liners have tiny crews, containers are no exception. Provided you are not the only cadet on board, it isn't too bad.
      Originally posted by The Anonymous 1
      I worry that I might miss my friends and family who I am very close too.
      Every ship out there has a satellite phone which you will have access to for personal calls, and most ships have facilities for crew to use email to keep in touch with friends. At portstops there will often be seafarers' missions with internet access and cheap phones, and if you get shore leave there are internet cafes. You're going on a ship, not going to jail.
      Originally posted by The Anonymous 1
      The lifestyle and living conditions are also far removed from how my life is at the moment. The massive amount of time away (8 months first phase and nearly a year in year 3) during training are a bit daunting to say the least.

      It's not the job side of it that worries me at all, it's more the lifestyle and fitting in on a ship.
      At college you will be living and learning alongside a squad of people just like you; first time away from home. After the first week you will be wondering what you were worrying about. If you do have concerns, the college and your training company have personnel who are there to help with the emotional as much as the practical problems. You just need to ask. At sea, things are a little less straightforward, but your training company is still only a phonecall away. Personally I was so busy for the first month at sea, I didn't have time to worry about much else.
      Originally posted by The Anonymous 1
      I just don't know what to do. I would ideally like another year to think about it and make sure I am doing it for the right reasons but would this effect things with my company if I kind of defered the place by a year? Is this even possible? Basically I have a good position with a good company but I wonder if starting the training with some serious doubts is the best thing to do.

      Any advice?
      Not sure I can help with this. The best advice would be to phone the training Co. and ask about it. More generally, have a serious think about what will have changed in your life in a year that will make leaving home any easier. It will be a big wrench whenever it happens.
      '... English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't
      just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages
      down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for
      new vocabulary.' - James Davis Nicoll

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      • #4
        Re: Having Doubts

        Have you watched the Scottish TV documentary on the Merchant Navy?
        I found it really informative, as it followed the lives of several cadets at the various nautical colleges, both during the college phases and the sea phases of their cadetship.

        Here's the link to it:

        http://video.stv.tv/bc/Programmes/progr ... chantnavy/

        (There are two documentaries on there:
        The first one is a six-part documentary, which started on Oct 13th & ended on Nov 17th
        The second one is a "Special", which is basically a shorter version, and aired on Feb 23rd.)

        When considering changing your lifestyle to something as dramatic as the Merchant Navy, it takes a certain amount of risk. It's certainly a risk I'm willing to take as I think the pros of such a career will far outweigh any cons. (I bloody hope so anyway!)
        I Aear c?n ven na mar. (Elvish)
        Ee eye-are kahn vehn nah mar. (Pronunciation)
        The Sea calls us home. (English translation)

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        • #5
          Re: Having Doubts

          Yeah I have some off these concerns aswell. One thing though is it not kinda good that the crew is small a mean if your on a ship for about 8 months working and living with a small crew then your gonna get to know them pretty well and get along with them kinda like a family, dont see why shipping companies would employ unfriendly people that will no talk to you, also does anyone know if theirs always going to be at least one other cadet with you when you are at sea what are the chances that you could be on your own?

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          • #6
            Re: Having Doubts

            You won't be at sea on the same ship continuously for 8 months, it'll be more like two trips/ships of 4 months duration.
            Shipping companies will quite happily employ particularly unfriendly, if not downright unpleasant people on their ships simply because they are able to do the job - as long as that job is done, their perceived personality is irrelevant.
            Remember that shipping companies are not benevolent organisations who will go out of their way to make life good for you - they are a private corporation whose bottom line is to make money by any and all means possible, and are no different to the likes of Microsoft, Ryanair, Tescos etc.
            Contrary to popular belief, shipping companies are not out of pocket by training cadets, they actually make money by training you through the benefits from the Tonnage Tax and the SMART scheme, and at the end of the day if they choose to employ you after qualifying then that'll be another vacancy they won't have to fill. Every little favour or nicety thrown in your direction is done for a reason, for what you might call a return at the end of the day, just make sure you get your moneys-worth too!
            This may all sound a tad cynical and perhaps even bitter, but I've become too much of an old cat at this game and witnessed far too many betrayals and lies from shipping companies to have anything less than a healthy mistrust of the same.
            There can be no guarantee as to whether you'll go with another cadet, it all depends about available numbers and available berths on the ships themselves. Most companies will at least try and send you away with a fellow first tripper or maybe a more Senior cadet, but be prepared to go on your own - many of my contemporaries did.
            Regarding small crews, that's fine as long as you get on with them and all remains pleasant. If not then it can rapidly become a personal hell for those of a fragile psychological nature.
            I've always preferred ships with larger crews myself, it's generally much more sociable.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Having Doubts

              As I understand it Clyde do their best to have at least 2 cadets on a ship at any time(my last 2 ships there were 3 and 2 other cadets on board), I imagine the other training companies will do the same. As for time on board; with Clyde at least you aren't likely to be spending more than 3 months on any one ship unless you specifically request it. I was on my last ship as a cadet for 4.5 months(I wanted to stay on longer but they wouldn't let me!), another cadet stayed on that ship for 5.5 months because he got on well with the captain and was getting loads of portfolio done. If you are having a bad time on a ship(i.e. you are being pinged with chipping and painting EVERY day, or getting no time or opportunity to meet portfolio/training needs) and you get no joy out of your designated STO(usually the Captain or Chief, but sometimes the 1/O or 1/E), phone the training company; they will do their best to get you off the ship and onto an alternative.
              '... English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't
              just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages
              down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for
              new vocabulary.' - James Davis Nicoll

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Having Doubts

                Originally posted by penfold
                As I understand it Clyde do their best to have at least 2 cadets on a ship at any time(my last 2 ships there were 3 and 2 other cadets on board), I imagine the other training companies will do the same. As for time on board; with Clyde at least you aren't likely to be spending more than 3 months on any one ship unless you specifically request it. I was on my last ship as a cadet for 4.5 months(I wanted to stay on longer but they wouldn't let me!), another cadet stayed on that ship for 5.5 months because he got on well with the captain and was getting loads of portfolio done. If you are having a bad time on a ship(i.e. you are being pinged with chipping and painting EVERY day, or getting no time or opportunity to meet portfolio/training needs) and you get no joy out of your designated STO(usually the Captain or Chief, but sometimes the 1/O or 1/E), phone the training company; they will do their best to get you off the ship and onto an alternative.
                kl I'am with Clyde marine so this helps thanks

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                • #9
                  Re: Having Doubts

                  Thanks for the comments.

                  I'm not really sure how to put this without sounding like a complete snob or whatever but here goes;
                  One of the major things I am worried about is, like I said above, am I the right person to fit in at sea. I have a big interest in the job but my lifestyle and social scene are totally removed from the impression I get of what a lot of cadets and mariers is. I am very much used to a good comfortable house and mainly like the quiet times in my free time. Big crazy, boozy parties are about as far from what I am in to as you can get. I get the impression that life at training college is all about party after party and that I would just not fit in if I am not one for that kind of thing.
                  A quiet pint or two of real ale is my scene, lol.
                  I also get the impression that at sea lots of people are of the rough and tough type. I am just not this type at all.

                  I enjoy fun times but I don't enjoy the "laddish" things I get the impression goes on a lot in training/at sea.

                  I hope I don't come across as a total tw*t but I am an older cadet and I really have some genuine concerns about what I am getting into.

                  ...and my company is ****** (boxboats) I think you can guess it without me being to obvious in case company people are looking at these forums )

                  [You were being completely obvious/ Rip]

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                  • #10
                    Re: Having Doubts

                    Originally posted by The Anonymous 1
                    One of the major things I am worried about is, like I said above, am I the right person to fit in at sea. I have a big interest in the job but my lifestyle and social scene are totally removed from the impression I get of what a lot of cadets and mariers is. I am very much used to a good comfortable house and mainly like the quiet times in my free time. Big crazy, boozy parties are about as far from what I am in to as you can get. I get the impression that life at training college is all about party after party and that I would just not fit in if I am not one for that kind of thing.
                    I think you might have only seen one side of the coin. Yes, there will be a lot of people like that - the younger cadets, first time away from home etc etc... But at the same time, no matter which college you go to and no matter what company there will be older cadets too. Just stick with the group you feel more comfortable with and laugh at the young'uns when they come in with hangovers in the morning.

                    Originally posted by The Anonymous 1
                    I also get the impression that at sea lots of people are of the rough and tough type. I am just not this type at all.
                    Well if that's the case I'm a bit scared myself, I'm about as far from rough and tough as you can get! Then again, I've picked cruise ships so yeah, a bit of hard labour, but not as much as other trypes of ship.
                    sigpic
                    Hello! I'm Chris. I'm away a lot so I'm sorry if it takes me a while to reply to messages, but I promise I'll get back to everyone. If it's urgent, please email me directly at [email protected].

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                    • #11
                      Re: Having Doubts

                      Suck it and see, if you don't like it, leave! If you don't try it, you'll always wonder...

                      Size4riggerboots

                      Moderator
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                      • #12
                        Re: Having Doubts

                        Originally posted by size4riggerboots
                        Suck it and see, if you don't like it, leave! If you don't try it, you'll always wonder...
                        my philosophy entirely xD

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                        • #13
                          Re: Having Doubts

                          suckers.
                          Emeritus Admin & Founding Member

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                          • #14
                            Re: Having Doubts

                            A quiet pint or two of real ale is my scene, lol.
                            If you happen to be at Warsash, I recommend the Ferryman or the one down at the Marina (the name escapes me at present) as the perfect pubs.

                            I also get the impression that at sea lots of people are of the rough and tough type. I am just not this type at all.
                            I am probably the furthest from this stereotype thats possible - and so far most people I have came across seem to be. (I absolutely hate getting covered in dirt - so they all thought it was hilarious when I had to inspect a sewage tank during dry dock and could hear me bitching constantly over the radio)

                            I enjoy fun times but I don't enjoy the "laddish" things I get the impression goes on a lot in training/at sea.
                            I cant speak for other types of ships - but if your on a pax ship it is all "professional" (well for the passengers anyway), I am not saying practical jokes / etc. don't go on behind the scenes - so a sense of humour helps.

                            I hope I don't come across as a total tw*t but I am an older cadet and I really have some genuine concerns about what I am getting into.
                            If you are starting in September, depending upon college there will be several older cadets there with you - just hang around with those you feel comfortable with.

                            As everyone else has said... everyone is nervous to start with - the same will happen before you join your first ship. But unfortunately it is something you won't know if you will love or hate until after you have experienced it. My only piece of advice would be stick with it until the end of your first sea phase before making a decision. As you will have good and bad days - but the good days for me definitely outweigh the bad.
                            ?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
                              Re: Having Doubts

                              I think the suck it and see idea is ok but the problem with that is being older I have finances to take into serious consideration. It would be much easier if I was fresh out of school or college but those day are some way behind me now. :P

                              @ alistairuk - I think looking back on it cruise would be far better for me. Although I guess pax can be annoying at times I do like some contact with people. Containers might just be too isolated an existance.
                              The only problem is that I never heard anything back from Princess or Viking and Carnival turned me down. Maybe I should postpone my cadetship until next year and try again with the cruise companies?

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