Having a team that is keenly interested in the job is vital for healthy running of a ship!
But it is challenged these days and can not be taken for granted !!
Not until a few years ago the sea career brought a ‘special’ status for those who worked at sea! Times changed very fast – at a speed that probably has been unprecedented and that equations changed! The social media and being ‘connected’ playing a major role in that …. the mindsets of the younger generations joining the sea being the next important factor, employment and recruitment styles so also the business objectives having changed drastically … a sum total effect being the way a seafarer thinks, lives and relates these days! What was once considered as wise became stupid and what was considered as nonsensical became smart !!
The effect of all this is not just on the mindsets of the seafarers alone but also their relatives, life partners, friends and the dependents … it’s a revolution of sorts ….
Both sides of the sea career – the part that the seafarer plays himself at work and his life partner/s play in running their life together in his/her absence is the other … both these are the very practical jobs !! they are way beyond, way deeper than just typing words in a smartphone …
Under these circumstances the challenge is far more pronounced to maintain the life & work balance for the seafarers. In recent times, as much as i have come across happier seafarers by being in ‘touch’ through social media, e-mails etc. so also I have come across an increased number of seafarers who have neglected their jobs by being obsessed with the electronic media, facing depressions caused by misunderstandings caused by shallow communication and even an increased instances of suicides or attempted ones …
Impositions at sea in the modern era that increasingly thwart the traditional entertainment of the seamen but keep them ‘disconnected’ in relationships …. increased number of women not being ready for alliances with the seafarers makes them isolated and disconnected … and those who are lucky to have alliances becoming desperate to keep the marriage intact by being irrationally ignorant about the jobs on occasions …and chasing the goals that are best suited for the shore based careers ! (in short having less chances of succeeding in them!)
There is no conclusion for this write up today, nor is any distress and definitely no solutions… because traditionally the lives of the seafarers have been unique and unique they will be …. one thing being very obvious though that those who manage to strike this balance and lead happier and content lives have enormous support and contribution from their partners and families ashore … the modern day seafarer is a family man and heavily dependent on the family for his shore based survival – perhaps except for the monetary part but that too not always!
And this very human aspect is hard to plan, predict or regulate! often not accounted for, yet one that matters in the way a ship is operated !
What matters is how a Master and Chief Engineer and other senior officers quickly adopt the skills and sensitivity to best handle their modern day work force so that they continue to remain interested int heir jobs !