A Kinder, Genteel world we live (work) in

Realizing I’m getting old(Er) I have noticed a new trend in last 6 months or so. Without sounding too trite; what do Ya’ll think of it?

In last six months or so my company has been putting out monthly Emails, monthly safety bulletins and reminders that we must take our crews ‘feelings’ into account. We must refrain from using ‘negative feedback’ (I.e. criticism) and instead use positive reinforcement and reward good behavior from our crew.

In this months Safety bulletin some anon Captain wrote: “will try to make more of an effort to positively compliment the crew when I see them making safe decisions and/or choices.”

Pardon me. But I thought this ‘reward’ was called a ‘Paycheck’!

We’re being specifically instructed to NOT reprimand. Not put down rules ( like any company SMS is all encompassing) and not speak up to the crew.

Now I know why kids soccer teams are handing out ‘participation trophies’ and everyone’s a winner.

I just never thought psyche (psycho) would apply to the Merchant crew!

Anyone else having these issues, or am I the last one to the table to have a helping of ‘nice’?


I have had a fair share of (deserved) criticism and I had a word for the guy that gave me nothing but that - asshole. What I learned from and respected was the guy who tempered it with occasional recognition of what I did right, combined with constructive feedback on what I did wrong and how to improve it. As I progressed, I tried to model those guys, and not be the asshole. Later, when I learned some training and instruction methodology, I came to know it as serving a sh* t sandwich, give the negative between two bits of positive reinforcement.


If you are “Old School” the new snowflake mentality is hard to understand.

Better to be nice to people. Then when you have a spot open, you can contact good engineers/mates. They will want to come work with you. Stock your crew up with good people by being nice to good performers.

Train your best performers for their next role (promotion). Poor performers can get ignored. If they can’t be fired they should just be given tasks they can accomplish. Not going to waste time telling them how fucked up they are.


The original question was more pointed to: Are other companies introducing this touchy feely nice nice official company policy? Wondering if my company is slow/last to introduce it, or is it everywhere?

Generally I don’t have crew turnover. So its not pointed at a problem I’m having, just an observation of changes in the industry. Nothing like doing drills and watching such BS videos enforcing Snowflake coddling.

Pointedly, one of the videos referenced crew receiving ‘bad news’ from home, and how it ‘may effect’ his work performance. So we have to ‘make allowances’ for crews personal issues, behavior, and problems.
Gee… I think last time this happened a guy ran over a ‘duck boat’ because of ‘personal problems’ which precluded crew from doing the job. Now were told we have to ‘custom tailor’ discussions so we don’t offend the crew who is supposed to be doing the job of a ‘seaman’. As one of my peers says: “I am NOT a kindergarden teacher, and I won’t talk like this to my crew”. Another says: “I am an Adult DayCare supervisor.”
It’s like the realization that the problems we are trying to ‘correct’ are being overshadowed by the solutions. BUT, someone in the office is full time employed overseeing it. To what end?


Haven’t seen it at the big orange “Cajun Navy” yet… though I suppose that would probably mean management would have to at least provide the aforementioned “shit sandwiches” for the BOHICA factor we get in the fleet… and get some of the managers to play nicer with their Captains too.

Seriously though, it’ll probably never happen here until they can get the “Old Oilfield Dinosaurs” to retire.

Twenty years ago we went into tanks without respirators. The old timers said to shake off the headaches. We went aloft without fall protection. We worked without hearing protection. These days we recognize that the old timers were wrong. (I have hearing loss and tinnitus from all that.) Mental health is the new respirator or ear plug that the new old timers don’t appreciate.

Sad, angry or disgruntled people aren’t as productive and cost a company money. They walk off, malinger or just do shit work. Maybe your company recognizes that?

Anything can be taken too far. Hearing protection around loud equipment is good. Hearing protection anytime you step out of your berthing is stupid. Same goes for dealing with people. Avoiding ripping a guy a new one for his inexperience? Good. Tiptoeing around a lazy dirtbag? Bad.


In a nutshell, i blame the millenials…

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Ahh, my pet peeve is rearing its ugly head. This is one of the reasons why I chose to self proletarize. I’ve settled so deep in the trenches that I can still call out a lazy dog fucker without sugar coating it, but I hear boots in the corridor, and know well that the day is drawing near when I will be walking on egg shells.

Of course people work better when they feel good about themselves. This has been well understood since the first draconian asshole lost control of his crew. However, I feel better about myself when I’m driven to perform, and sometimes a bit of external drive is in order.

The idea that all criticism is bad represents a particularly baffling bit of pop psychological bullshit that has somehow gained universal acceptance. It is spreading from corporate culture into society in general, and is gradually being mandated by law.

If true happiness lays in never feeling discomfort, why aren’t we all on heroin?


I was trained by an “old slat” who had nothing but confidence in me. He was incredibly hard on me but at the same time was able to tell me when I was wrong.

I believe you should be able to be hard on the people that are training but at the same time, being able to know that he’s going to help you when you are down.

Just my thought.

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You fool! Don’t you realize that if a millennial reads your post, he/she/it/to-be-determined/unsure/conflicted will be scarred for life.


From what I’m seeing such a recipient wouldn’t ‘feel’ this post applied to them in any way! Matter of fact, I’ve been asked “why it takes so long to ‘move up’ since I already have my license?”


Jesus, the most delicate egos I’ve ever encountered at sea was the blowhard captain’s and chiefs. When I worked in Alaska if I saw something the captain missed I’d say something. That was the big lesson I learned on the deep-sea ships, better to not say anything least the captain be offended.

How many ships is there a constant on-going war between deck and engine? I’d say 1/3 to 1/2, maybe more. What’s that about? Likely at some point he chief wasn’t sufficiently obsequious and the captain never recovered.


The delicate egos don’t survive in an environment such as I was used to where if you joined a new company you started at the bottom again. On one vessel as C/M, the second and third mates both had unlimited tickets and experience in command as had I.
Oil and water became an emulsion on an anchor handler.


I see older guys with more beefs and gripes than millennials. A lot of millennials are in their 30s, plenty of millennial firsts and chief mates out there. Being an asshole is a liability with rotary shipping, a miserable ship won’t get good guys and so it gets both miserable and run down fast especially if it can’t keep permanents around either. If you have a guy who isn’t working out, follow the process to get rid of him, it’s just business.


Actually, millennials are now in middle age. GenZ is the latest and greatest.

Meh, I would rather have the unvarnished truth about how I am doing. . . maybe it is because of the crap I dealt with way back when in School. . . yeah, you know which one. . . trust me, I know when I am screwing up and when I am not. . . I don’t know that I ever needed to be coddled for just doing my job. . . I mean, we used to have performance evaluations to work from. . . In SO many ways, I am glad that I don’t sail. . . and at least in our office, we are a fairly tight knit bunch who all, uh, have some “age”. . . even a couple of us have considerable time at sea. . . .

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Old men in 1929: All these Jazz Agers suck. All the care about is flappers and bathtub gin. Worthless. None of 'em could shoe a horse in a blizzard.

Old men in 1939: All these jitterbuggers suck. All they care about is Tommy Dorsey and cutting a rug. Can’t get any of them to work. None of 'em could change a tire in a blizzard.

Intermission for WW2.

Old men in 1969: All these filthy hippies suck. All they care about is rock ‘n’ roll and pot. None of 'em could fight a Commie in a blizzard.

Old men in 2019: All these lazy millennials suck. All they care about is smartphones and lattes. None of them could hook up a woofer and a tweeter to a Blaupunkt amplifier in a blizzard.


The ‘me me me’ millenials! I have a big license, on my first issue, a four year degree and have only been out of school two years! Why am I not running this boat and making 6 figures yet???!!?!!


Narcissism is on the rise in modern Western societies and scientists are trying to figure out why. Some hypothesize that individual narcissism follows from the culture someone lives in: the more individualistic the culture, the more narcissistic people tend to be.

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