What are some of the signs it's time to move on from a company?

I’ve been at my current employer for over 20 years, but lately things just seem off. We are going through a change in management, but having been institutionalized here it’s difficult to differentiate if it’s me or the company . So what are some red/yellow flags you look for?

1 Like

For me personally?

It was about the time I stopped being enthusiastic about the job and started dreading it- and not the normal case of the screw it’s but just the almost pure depression that would sweep over me a few days before I was due back to the boat.

That’s when I knew it was time to move on.


I’m not a company loyalist by any means, but I also haven’t done anything for 20 years, so take it worth a grain of salt.

From what I have noticed from a lot of old salts, given the lifespan of a company is not terribly long, the folks who have been around for 20 years are loyal to a Ship of Theseus of sorts, just because they survived several rebrands, sales and mergers. It is unlikely that you’re employer would be loyal to you.

That being said, my red flags are:

  1. How likely is it I’m going to get shot at if I stay here.
  2. Is Safety culture on the downturn
  3. Are the ships getting sent on dumb ass missions that they weren’t when I joined.
  4. Can they retain anyone/ stay crewed, I did not get in this business to work over.
  5. Is this becoming more of a shitshow than normal.

The yellow flags and warning lights I look at are a lot like what @Reduxalicious said, Once I start dreading a job it’s time to move on. I’m pretty in tune with my emotions, I track everything religiously, so I actually have empirical data to tell if this is occurring or if I’m just having a bad day. The simplest form of this would be keeping a tally at the end of the day, with two options, “I want to be here” and “I don’t want to be here.” Or tracking good v bad days. If your data starts to show it’s time to move on, it may be. But you’re more likely to remember the bad day, so if you’re actually finding that 1 in 5 days are bad, you might be able to stick it out.

That being said, I have met people who made changes after a number of years, and they are twitching after being set in their ways and having to learn a new system. I’ve also seen folks handle it very well, so your milage may vary.


Maybe its just you? Bored? Tired of the same old stuff? Looking for a change of scenery or pace? Or a better boat? Or more money?

Unless you are locked into a defined benefit company pension, there is little reason not to consider a change.

Red flags are kind of personal. What might be a red flag to one guy, might not be to another guy.

Red flags for me: bad attitude toward crews, micromanagement, excessive paperwork, food budgets, travel budgets, hiring low quality people, hiring unskilled people, low wages, junk equipment, cannot pay bills on time, angry vendors and customers, etc.

Sometimes I’m just ready for a change.

1 Like

I know people that have to wait a month or two for their paychecks and stay.

People stayed at Bouchard until the very end, despite the company imploding.


Yeah, it’s nothing like that. Micromanagement and a lack of vision or poor messaging to the fleet are the main things right now.

Asking “What are some of the signs it’s time to move on from a company?”


Agree with Mr Cavo.

In retrospect only because I’ve more than once failed to realize it: when I’ve thought to myself “maybe I should start looking” it was usually 3-6 months after I should have started looking.

It’s like the line in most standing orders

“Wonder if you should call me? You should have already made the call.”


I’d agree with that view, although there are a few companies hanging in there with no changes (in some ways good, but in a lot of ways bad).

I’ve been with the same company 18 years now, with no changes at the executive level in that entire time. Unfortunately, I’m wearing the golden handcuffs now and though I think about going elsewhere at least every week, I don’t want to start over somewhere else.

Complicating matters further, I’m on a vessel that requires some specialized training to run, so it’d take a damn miracle from on high to get transferred to a different boat in the fleet where I’d probably be a lot happier.


The thing that seems to be biting everyone right now is that the last generation of managers with any seagoing experience seems to have finally retired. That absence of institutional knowledge and a voice of reason in the office is starting to become readily apparent.

OP, if it makes you feel any better, we are all in the same boat and it does not appear there are any other good boats (companies) left.


When you notice people smarter than you leaving the company.


This right here… though I might just say f*ck it all and run off to the Caribbean to run fishing charters for $100 a day once I finish paying my soul crushing levels of alimony in November.

1 Like

When you step in the galley and see people you really don’t want to see.


These are all different ways of saying: When you are no longer happy, it time to leave.

That’s more or less my policy.


When on the way to work you start kinda hoping your plane goes down.


I couldn’t agree with this statement any more.

The offices have failed the vessels. Any swinging dick can be a port engineer or port captain with less days at sea then my work boots.

All the good companies are gone. The marketplace has squeezed every operating company to cut costs and defer maintenance to the point that the ships are in just as bad if not worse shape then after WW2. Our fore fathers at least had the benefit of larger crews with a higher skilled crew to offset their issues. Now we have less crew, with less inherent knowledge of the job on a more complex vessel.

Ted Kaczynski was right. The fall of civilization was the Industrial Revolution.


Thanks for sharing such insights mate.

When your boss is named Morty


I think it’s best said when you stop being enthusiastic about going to work, or you show signs of real stress and anxiety about going to work. This is why I think a job on the vessel is about much more than money. Do you enjoy the crew? Does the rotation work for you, etc. also, how does the company respond to you during your toughest moments, like when a family member dies and you need to be home. Do you get phone calls every five minutes to return? Does the company nickel and dime the vessel? Do they create needless busywork? Do they have open communication with the office? Can you talk Frankly? It’s definitely a tough business running a maritime transportation company. So it goes both ways. Would your supervisors report that you are lazy and avoid work. Are you on your phone when you are on watch? In my experience it’s the little things that will tell you a lot more about the bigger things regarding companies and people like.


Those little things come down to the company’s attitude toward mariners.

Does the office view mariners as a boat trash that is a necessary evil, or as the guys who get the job done, and as peers?