A seafarer’s life is an ultimate game itself, it is composed of multiple waiting periods. The greater patience you have, the higher chance of being a successful mariner. What are these waiting periods a mariner should face?
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- Newbie Period. This period is experienced prior to your first onboard ship experience. It is the time when you are undergoing trainings or busy accomplishing your documents needed for joining the ship. Waiting on this period is somewhat exciting, you may or may not experience boredom since you are busy attending trainings. You are also full of excitement during this stage imagining what will you experience onboard.
- Onboard Period. Congratulations! You are already onboard the ship. You are looking forward to learning new things and most especially receiving your salary. But this satisfaction fades as months pass by. You are getting home sick and your mind is out of focus. Your only wish for now is to go home but you can’t because you have a contract to finish. So the waiting game starts around 3 months before your contract expires. By that time you think that your saved money is enough for you for the time being so your main goal for now is to go home especially during important celebrations like Christmas, family birthdays, and more. This period is experienced mostly by seafarers with enough savings already. Money is not that important anymore because they already have it.
- Sign-off Period. Vacation time! The best part of being a seafarer is to be with their loved ones during vacation. Who doesn’t want that anyway? This is the period where spending here and there is usually unavoidable for some. It feels like your money is unlimited and besides you tell yourself that you need to relax after that long and hard working period. Unless you are a disciplined money saver, seafarers with that kind of lifestyle end up a beggar by the time he realizes everything. Then that started another waiting period. Over spending seafarers tend to experience this kind of period much earlier than those who knows how to budget their money. Knowing that they don’t have enough money left, over spenders ask their agencies for their next sign-on date. If they are lucky, they can join within weeks or days. But what if it will take months? So the waiting game begins again. It’s a very depressing period for a seafarer not having enough money for the family just because of over spending. As the wait takes longer, the anxiety builds up faster.
These periods, except the Newbie Period, cycles the life of a seafarer unless he counters it with a good discipline. We can overcome Onboard Period by focusing on the job and defining a clear goal for your family to keep you on track. Define a specific project for your loved ones, it maybe a house, a business, a college fund, or anything for them. By this method you can tell yourself that you need to focus on your job in order to provide what’s best for them.
To avoid early stage of Sign-off Period, the best thing you can do is to educate yourself about financial matters. If you are a great spender, read books that teach you how to save. If you want to have another source of income, learn to start your own business. Don’t just rely on your salary, be optimistic about the possibilities in the future.
Self discipline is the best tool for the problems you have. If you want to avoid the unpleasant effects of the waiting game, discipline yourself first. A seafarer’s job is a difficult job. But remember that every job is a difficult one. You can only make it easier if you practice self discipline in all aspects.