Drones, worker bees, and beasts of burden are just a few of the names we give ourselves as we trudge through one dreary day after another at the office. Our world at work is so antiseptic and cold that our cubes might as well be cells. Too often, we ask ourselves, after all of the education, the training and the careerism, ‘is this really what I signed up for’? Maybe that’s why psychiatrists encourage us to have a vivid and healthy fantasy life. True, it may only be an ersatz escape, but hey-it’s better than nothing.
I don’t know about your fantasies, but I do know that you should definitely have them. As for me, I day dream about living in an endless summer, of sailing into sunlit waters, having new adventures and seeing those parts of the world that most people just dream about. So, and unless you’re very rich (but then you wouldn’t be in a cube) how do you go about pursuing such a dream, to make it a reality while you’re still young enough to enjoy it? If you’ve ever been on a cruise, you know the drill. As a passenger, you get pampered, over-fed and over-served while being seamlessly transported from one port to another, in the midst of a blizzard of self-indulgence.
Cruising the world started as a fantasy, soon became an epiphany and then graduated to an obsession for me. I decided to quit my career and take a job, any job, on any cruise ship that would have me. Having zero nautical skills and not knowing fore from aft, becoming a ships officer just wasn’t going to happen. Yet there were jobs that I could do. So what if I was over-qualified for most of them, like busing tables, being a cabin steward or a buffet line server. Worst case, I could clean swimming pools or maybe work in a gift shop. The benefits would sure outweigh the deficits…or so I thought. So I trolled the internet, made some calls and even spoke to people who work in the cruise line industry. Here’s a summary of the five best and five worst reasons to work on a cruise ship:
Five Best Reasons
1. Room and meals are all paid for
2. No laundry, dry cleaning, medical, utility or insurance bills
3. Free travel and no daily commuting hassles
4. Meeting lots of people from many different places
5. Forced savings
Five Worst Reasons
1. Long hours and no days off, esp. for galley and cabin work
2. Constant and rigorous supervision, military style discipline
3. Living in tight quarters with three strangers
4. Required to stay away from all public bars and even elevators when off duty
5. Being away from home for ten month contract period (a plus and a minus)
So, and even after all my due diligence, I’m still awash in ambivalence. The contract sits in front of me. Do I sign up for a sea change in my life? Would you?
This post was written by regular Jobacle contributor Victor Kipling.