Archive for October, 2013

Now then chaps and chappesses.

For too long now I think I’ve taken to long term planning….everything.

I’ve always needed to know where things are going, how things should be, needed to know if it was worth it, whether there was any point to my current actions to warrant me doing something and carrying on for something. Living in the “now” was something other people did, other people who could obviously manage themselves better and were abel to have a good time, so I wanted and tried to plan like that.

To the point where enjoying myself went out the window quite frankly. I couldn’t relax in anything, without knowing, a full plan, a full sequence of events, whether the decision I was making now, would be worth it in the long run. (we aren’t talking red wire/blue wire stuff here by the way, I mean social, relationship, nights out, entertainment, non work type stuff)

Which is strange frankly, as when I’m at work, the unknown is what I deal with, and going ashore in the badlands of bizarre shithole ports is a speciality subject of mine, the aftermath of which is usually reserved for sharing with select company, over select drink, in hushed tones of revered reverence.

But I suspect – in fact know, that things have come to a head. I’ve let this overwhelming concern for my longterm future in minuscule aspects of my life, ruin, sometimes, parts that really should have been fun and stuff.

So now……now stuff has happened – which through spending near enough all my life on twitter for the last 4.5 years, I have learnt is none of your concern, I need secrets, I need a private life, regardless of what it is about – something has happened that’s made me realise, living for now, taking something at face value, and just enjoying the moment, is good, damn it it’s even healthy.

I get caught up in the details, caught up in wondering if a badly pronounced word is enough to ruin an entire night. If cough in the middle of someones conversation will give off the impression I am not interested.

I need to, want to, and finally am I think, becoming someone who can enjoy himself in a moment in time. Without looking for cause for concern. Without being so worried about the future, that the future is killed off.

Because that’s just suicide of the soul, just one tiny slice at a time.



I’ve been using the term “College is not an environment I thrive in” quite a bit recently.

It’s true, even though all we are doing is talking about the job, OK in some deep detail, but still, it’s ALL job. It’s not an environment I like or feel comfortable in, I’ve struggled through every day of academic life I ever found myself placed in.

I’m still surprised I have a Class 2 Certificate of Competency, with full Chief Exemptions. I am not the worlds most intelligent guy. I struggle with 95% of the things I do. It physically hurts for me to write for more than 25 minutes. I have the ability to recall injection pressures of fuel injectors I set up 10 years, but ask me to draw the circuit diagram of an AVR I practised half an hour ago? Then its a whole new kettle of fish.

However in all honesty, I am in the happiest place work-wise, I have been for years. I’m at the rank I’ve wanted for just over 12 years now, I’m working on engines people don’t believe the size of, which I strangely like. The size of the job still impresses me, the fact I physically climb into engines for a living.  


(AJ in a cylinder of main engine from Maersk Chennai)


As much as I do want my Chiefs Ticket, it wouldn’t be the end of the world for me if I didn’t get it. Being Chief involves mainly paperwork, getting dangerously stressed, and not that much dirty hands. I enjoy being hands on, I enjoy being the go to man onboard for issues, I enjoy being a bit of a dick downstairs and being in charge. I am a Second Engineer and there is no getting away from that, I’m just not sure if being a Chief is for me at present.


I think being a Second with A Chief Engineer ticket is good, and really how it should be, however, if I fail to achieve it this time I’m not going to be that gutted. It’s not like failing my 2nds, I’m already a 2nd, I’m already where I want to be.


To be honest also, since going 2nd a lot of stuff has ironed it self out mentally for me. I am in a better place in my head, still having wobbles, but this a) just one of those things, b) is also partly due to being at college I suspect. Which brings us back to why it’s an environment I don’t thrive in.


I’m better when I’m doing, rather than when I’m being told. I’m quite an animated person at work, I swear, take the piss, liable to throw something, usually a shifter when I’m annoyed, tell people in no uncertain terms when I’m right and they are wrong. I am comfortable with how I work and how things work onboard. I am confident in my work, and confident in making sure other’s work, and woe betide the engineer who regularly falls below my slackest efforts.


On board, I’m “The Man”. I’m the engine room character, I’m the source of tales of nights ashore and drinking onboard. I can relied upon to belittle someone humorously, find suitable jobs for suitably abled people. I have control over a close knit bunch of lads, I enjoy it and relish it. I almost look forward to it every day. 


But back at college, I’m back to being a nobody. Back to trying to make my voice heard amongst many others. Back to being just another face that ultimately doesn’t really matter. I suddenly have mental blocks on how to describe kit from the ship I’ve just come off of. I suddenly find myself unable to recall even basic knowledge that I know in myself I intuitively know.


It’s a bind to say the least, and it depresses me. Greatly. I’m good at my job, I’m not going to lie. It sounds arrogant, but I am, and I believe you need a certain amount of arrogance in this job to have the confidence in your actions, as an engineer, to know that what you are going to do is the right actions.


And college does not encourage that. I feel like a fish out of water there. I try my best, I think I’m doing enough work, without overwhelming myself, which is very easy to do.


I’d like my Chiefs, really I would, but its not the end of the world, thats for sure.