How to Handle Long Waiting Period
Merchant navy is presently one of the most sought-after professions in the country. Thousands of students every year appear for the IMUCET exam in order to pursue a successful career at sea. Unfortunately, the job opportunities in good shipping companies are really less compared to the number of students completing their pre-sea courses every year. Over the years this has led to a flooding of candidates at the junior ranks in the shipping industry. As a result of which candidates have to face long waiting periods before joining their first ship.
The ongoing pandemic and travel restrictions have further added more problems to the timely sign-on and sign-off of seafarers. As a result of which waiting period for some of the best shipping companies has also increased in the last 2 – 3 years. The waiting period for a fresh cadet joining a vessel for the first time can be as less as 3 months after course completion to as much as 2 years after course completion.
The length of the waiting period depends on the shipping company that you are sponsored by. Usually, good shipping companies with a large fleet of vessels have a less waiting period. Hence, it is really important to start your career with a good shipping company. It can determine the course of your entire career. However, no matter how good a shipping company you are sponsored by on average most cadets have to wait for at least 6 months before joining their first vessel. In this blog, we’re going to list some of the ways by which you can utilize your long waiting period productively.
1. Find a Suitable Job
One of the most productive ways of utilizing your waiting period is to find a suitable job and start working. Finding appropriate jobs is not that difficult for students who have pursued Graduate Marine Engineering (GME) or B.tech in Marine Engineering. As they have a mechanical engineering degree, they can find suitable jobs at shore easily. This is a bigger challenge for Diploma in Nautical Science (DNS) students. As they are only 12th pass and have no degree. Although the task is difficult but not impossible.
Working a part-time job before joining ship exposes you to the work culture of a professional environment. Apart from this, you learn time management as there are various submissions or targets to complete within a particular timeline. Hence getting an experience of a professional setup before joining ship will help you a lot in adjusting to the work culture onboard. The best part is that you will become financially independent and you can use that money according to your own convenience.
2. Engage in Physical Activities
It is really important to be physically fit when you board a vessel. Working on the ship can be really physically exhausting at times. Hence, you should possess a certain level of stamina and physical strength before you join a vessel. Try to engage in a lot of physical activities while at home. Being at home for a long period of time can make a person lazy and slack. If you develop these qualities at home you are going to find yourself in a lot of trouble while onboard.
Hence, the best practice is to set a routine for yourself and follow that diligently at home so that you don’t face any problems when you are exposed to the hectic work schedule onboard. Play any kind of outdoor sports, join a gymnasium, or go for running. Do anything that you like to keep yourself in shape.
3. Socialize and Travel
Try to utilize this long vacation as much as you can by going out on treks, trying new adventure sports, discovering new places, meeting new people, etc. As we all know that seafarers have almost negligible social life when they are onboard. Hence try to utilize this opportunity as much as you can because you may not get this long a vacation again. Don’t just sit at home binge-watching tv – shows, go outside, meet new people, and travel places, this will help you a lot in developing your personality and self-confidence.
4. Study Regularly
Studying regularly is also very important during your waiting period. You need to be absolutely upto date with at least your theoretical knowledge when you join a vessel. Your seniors onboard will have a good first impression of yours if you are able to answer most of their questions. They will think of you as a sincere cadet and will take interest in teaching you their respective jobs onboard. On the other hand, if your seniors think that you have no knowledge at all they will never take any interest in teaching you anything onboard and you will be stuck with doing menial jobs such as brooming, mopping, painting, etc. Hence, utilize your time well and study regularly so that you do not have to face many difficulties onboard.
5. Prepare yourself mentally
When you are at home watch youtube videos showcasing the life onboard. You can find many content creators who regularly showcase their life onboard on social media. Try to prepare yourself according to the environment of a ship. Talk to your seniors who have sailed on board and ask them about the nature of work onboard. Enquire about the expectations that people have onboard from a first-time cadet. If you are able to gather all this information before you join a vessel, it will help you a lot in adjusting to the work culture onboard.
Waiting period is one of the most difficult phases in the life of a seafarer. Especially first-time joiners are questioned regularly by their friends and family regarding their joining. Unfortunately, this is a situation that they have absolutely no control over. However, what you can do is try to utilize this time as productively as possible. And just have patience, don’t get discouraged by the constant tantrums from relatives and friends. Just remember that your time too shall come, but when that time comes you have to be absolutely ready to make the most out of that opportunity. So, work hard, have faith, and prove the naysayers wrong.
“Be somebody nobody thought you could be.”– William Chapman