Never feel like you HAVE TO stay working offshore

I worked for Chouest and Hornbeck from 2012-2020 until covid lead to my being laid off. I worked a mix of 28/14 and 28/28 through all of it and I had no idea how miserable I was until I was forced out. I say forced out but I was about to quit anyway. I was literally an hour away from calling my coordinator and quitting when they called and said I was laid off. Probably the best layoff phone call they had to make lol. I kept thanking them and saying how awesome this way. I got offered my job back a few months later and told them no.

If you dislike working offshore in ANY way I highly suggest you look for a land based job immediately. Especially if you are under 35 (and even if you are older really) you can get into a trades job like plumbing or electrical or HVAC and easily get a job RIGHT NOW. easy. I am 2 years past getting the hell out of offshore work (I was an engineer) and am making 150k+bonuses at a home services company that does really simple repairs. The kicker is though that they didnt give a shit about my engineer license or anything. I could have been an AB for all they cared. they were just impressed by my working offshore.

I wasted years of my life working with people that treated me like absolute shit offshore. stuck on crews with lazy ass chiefs that expected you to kill yourself while they sat on their phones all day. captains that lead through fear and intimidation. I was taken advantage of by companies that slashed benefits left and right, refused to promote from within, cut our damn food budgets. jesus… you know what I am talking about.

we get trapped in these jobs thinking that they pay well and that you couldn’t possibly find a job on land that pays the same. well guess what. I am getting paid better than I ever have, work 8 hour days, get a company vehicle, get weekends off, get my health insurance 100% paid for, and the company takes our physical and mental health seriously to the point where the owner has monthly meetings where all he does is talk about how much he appreciates us, how well we have been performing, and cracks open the books to show us how the company is performing. this is a 150 person company. not a mom and pop shop.

If you actually love your job offshore I respect that and I hope you do well. But I know a lot of you were like me. Trapped. You got these blinders on over the years that make you think “this is it”, that this is your life now. It isn’t. If you are even remotely thinking about quitting I suggest you do the following:

  1. Figure out what you might want to do on land. Don’t laser focus one thing. Really open your eyes to all the possibilities. I suggest maybe writing down a dozen different jobs that you think you would be good at, and don’t sell yourself short. While I was working offshore a lot of people made me feel worthless and like I had no skills. I am now one of the top salesmen at my company. I sell repairs like you wouldn’t believe, not in a sleazy way, I just know how to talk to people and explain their problems in a clear and concise manner. I never knew I was good at dealing with customers and selling stuff until I tried it. Look at everything that interests you and don’t sell yourself short.

  2. Start applying to companies. People are hiring like wild right now and I guarantee you will get a bunch of interviews. Make sure to just be laid back and confident. I have always gotten a job I interviewed for by using one simple trick. In your mind pretend that you are already working there, and that this is just a friendly chat with your manager. Simple and effective.

  3. Quit. You got a new job. Quit. I wouldn’t even bother giving 2 weeks notice. these offshore companies laid me off in 10 seconds when it suited their needs. Take back control of your life and quit. Pack your shit (if you even want it) and walk off that rusty bitch. You will feel absolutely euphoric.

  4. Enjoy your life. It is too short to spend half or more of your life on a boat filled with people you don’t love. Friends, family, social interaction, that is life. Money is not everything, and even if it is, there is more on land than in the sea.

  5. Help others that you see struggling. Maybe you truly enjoy offshore work. But if you see a younger kid, or anyone, that looks sad, tired, frustrated. talk to them. Let them know this life is not for everyone and that there are boundless options open to them. I worked with a lot of scumbags offshore, but I worked with a lot of good people too. My biggest regret is not opening up with them more and talking about this sort of thing. There were so many young men I saw totally depressed and frustrated. If I could have seen the error of my own thinking I could have taken a hitch or two and helped them see the light as well.

and that’s it. that’s really all I have to say. I remembered this forum from back in the day and decided to say my final farewell and shout into the void one last tidbit of advice. I hope you all have pleasant and bountiful lives.

See you on the other side

16 Likes

$150,000 a year, plus company vehicle, excellent benefits, and home every night.

This is good example of how our pay is far too low for the seagoing sacrifices we make, and how badly our benefits suck compared to shoreside jobs that are available.

6 Likes

^^^ this hitch has me thinking about leaving for good…too much bs…Tell me more about that!!

3 Likes

Well working for Chouest or HOS was your first problem. At one unless you went to a maritime school your just filling a spot untill the find someone with a degree to fill it. The other unless you have a U or X in your name you will always be an outsider.

Glad you found something better.

3 Likes

I came ashore a long time ago. My last vessel was easily the worst. Worst vessel, worst crew, worst company. A trifecta. . . Made the transition to shoreside life a bit easier. Well, that and my first shoreside job was very much maritime related.

“It’s better to rule in hell than serve in heaven.”

Everyone’s talking about this now, even some of the real dicks who I would’ve sworn got off on the power trip. I quit offshore to go deep sea and it’s a lot better but 100+ days at a pop is a long trip and everything’s kind of shambolic and unmanageable on a bigger ship if you let it slip for even a second. With random guys from the union hall it’s inevitable the ship will have a bad few months and become a cluster f for a year.

I know a lot of people with office jobs and their big stress is often having to email someone twice because they didn’t respond the first time. From home.

I mean not always, some of those jobs are nightmares, but so many of them it just seems like a very slow operational tempo with very padded manning compared to a huge box ship or an OSV running hard.

2 Likes

Two week notice my ass, I’ll be giving that 2-day notice! I’ll be leaving 2-day! - (Refined)

Loyalty’s out the window post downturn. Everyone’s a number. I was fortunate to stay employed but after 10 years and getting fuc#*d around enough I packed it in a couple months ago. Money and drama wasn’t worth it anymore.

If you are young enough or have enough F.U. money tucked away now’s the time to drag up.

With a little looking I found a 100K 40hr M-F

Little less dough than usual but worth it to see the kids and sleep at home every night.

6 Likes

Another example of $100,000 and home every night.

Seagoing pay needs at least another 25% jump this year.

3 Likes

Our office (USCG HQ) just advertised for a GS-13 with a requirement they hold a merchant mariner officer endorsement for 1,600 GRT or 4,000 HP. minimum pay is $106K (with locality pay), home every night. We only had 2 qualified applicants, both insiders. We may re-advertise.

NMC also has a vacancy at the same pay, also home every night. Also requires a mariner credential.

4 Likes

I would need at least 25% over what I make at sea to hand a job on land. Monday through Friday, 8 hours a day? If hell existed that’s what it would be.

3 Likes

No desire to live in West Virginia? Really?

Yeh I mean who wouldn’t want to go fly a desk in West Virginia?

It doesn’t matter where, I couldn’t do that schedule.

Different types of jobs suit different times of life and different living circumstances. Change is good. No matter what you might be doing, it all gets old after awhile, and a change is nice.

The point is we live in society where a 9-5 and home every night job is the norm.

A seagoing job where you are gone for months at a time should pay at least double what a comparable shoreside job does.

In the 80s, there was a big jump in earnings for going to sea, but now it’s a small jump.

4 Likes

For the last 2 years and the foreseeable future, I have been an Executive, working from home in the maritime industry, with occasional travel here and there. Also earn what I did as Master/OIM back in the good days. Wouldn’t trade it for anything. I get 30 days of vacation, with additional roll-over from previous years, also get US, UK and another countries holidays in my schedule. Doing the math, with weekends, holidays and time off, I work less than 180 days easily.

2 Likes

Remote? No one’s going to go do white collar in person, the cat’s out of the bag on that one.

The job at the NMC says this, though I assume at a minimum you need to live close enough to go in person when necessary.

Not sure how NMC applies that. In our office in CG HQ, we will be required to be in the office one day a week when we resume more normal operations (COVID) next month. I believe each office can set their own policies for telework, but in every case at least one day in the office per two week pay period is required. There also may be some restrictions for new hires, telework eligibility is usually determined by performance evaluations, so new hires may need to work at least one performance review cycle before they are eligible.

The tech industry is basically remote forever at this point with no real ill effects. If you graduated in computer science today you’d probably never see an office if you didn’t want to. I feel like at $106k you’d get bites on that job remote but no one would move for that job.