Saturday, April 13, 2013

Do as I say ...

There's a right way to do most things, and a wrong way, and sometimes the right way both feels right and pays off in the long run.

Sometimes the wrong way costs some money but makes you feel a little better anyhow and doesn't do any long-term damage.

That's the hope, anyway.

Those of you who are paying close attention, all one of you, will realize that my photo essay post includes a clue; namely, that my crew change is Tuesday night, not mid-day Monday.

Long story short: I walked off the boat. The call to the port captain was anti-climactic: Me: "I'm fixin' to put my sh*t on the dock and walk off the boat." Him: "(Sigh) I guess you gotta do what you gotta do. I appreciate you calling me."

He did ask me why.

"Because (his name rhymes with "Dick") is a jackass." And I elaborated. Which I won't do here.

He's gotten this call, or maybe been notified after the fact, six or seven times in the past twelve months alone. So I guess it wasn't a huge surprise.

Confession: I was making a point. Fact is, I had already decided to put in my trip notice. In fact, I already had another job -- the one I wanted almost two years ago -- lined-up. I had planned to at least see the current boat through the trip up the Atchafalaya River and the Coast Guard inspection.

I now report for my physical and drug test at the new place Monday.

The friend I came to this company -- this boat - to work with, had already given his notice. The lead captain on the boat had dangled "second" in front of him for the better part of the last year, and then told him and me that I would be the relief master because he was "too young."

That wasn't the reason he gave in his exit interview -- he talked about wanting to upgrade his license, move to bigger boats, having learned what he needed to learn there, etc., etc. All true. And he was going to ride another two weeks, give them time to find a replacement.

I don't think he minded working for me, though he knew the boat and job better than I did and had busted his butt for nearly a year. And as far as that goes, I didn't mind working for him though I helped train him on twin-screws a couple of years ago.

It was an integrity thing ... a social contract broken.

Anyway, with my buddy on the way out, I had zero incentive to stay on a boat with a lead captain with the personality of wet cardboard and a Napoleon complex to boot.

At least the boat didn't beat me. I was putting her in the slip and taking her out in clutch, holding her just fine at the rigs ... as I think I wrote before, she was very different from my previous boat -- reportedly the "hardest boat in the Gulf" (I kinda doubt it), but by no means impossible.

I have to say, it was a nice feeling, sitting under a pavilion at the marina next to our dock, drinking a cold beer while waiting on the Enterprise Rent-a-Car pickup driver to arrive.

It was, I judged, even worth the $250 drop fee for a one-way rental back to Texas.

I solved the problem of how to retrieve the truck four hours distant from the house by loading up the wife and kids in the rental.

I solved the problem of not having my truck key with me upon arrival there by calling a locksmith.

The sleep deprivation ... we're all still dealing with that.

And my buddy on the boat, well, for at least the next two weeks he's the highest-paid captain in the company; will his resolve to move on survive the bribes and blandishments to stay on? Time will tell.

It's funny, I actually called him and said: "Do as I say, not as I do." But of course he already had. One of the many reasons I'm proud of my friend, my colleague, half my age.

It was a good learning experience -- the boat, supporting three drilling rigs, the crew ... as I acknowledged to one of my cousins the other day -- he's a former USCG-licensed master -- one can learn as much from the bad examples as the good examples ...

At any rate, I'm excited about the new gig. Great boat, great company, great benefits, good schedule.

That's the assessment from the outside, going-in. If I change my mind later, well, maybe it's just my problem and it may be time to reconsider this career change adventure.

But man, I do love the work. And the view from the office.

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