I recently received word from a former AB/Deckhand of mine that he is now the newest Captain in our fleet. He used the above header in a thank you note for my pushing him to go for his license. The “kick in the ass” (as the phrase is coined) is the advice given someone with recognized talent to do what’s necessary to move up off the deck and into the pilothouse.
All of us, no matter how long we’ve been in the industry have been given (mostly unsolicited) advice on how we should either advance or abandon our ambitions. Some folks are suited for the work a tugboat demands and some are better off staying ashore and getting into the regular “nine to five” lifestyle. For those who adapt and excel at the job it’s not unusual for the older men to start encouraging, cajoling or insisting the deckhands with obvious talent “go for their license”. I was subject to this “kick in the ass” and have kicked a few myself.
Some guys procrastinate while others take the bull by the horns and get it done. The motivation for advancing is usually monetary, why work on a boat and not make the most money you can? You’re here anyway, you might as well pull down the big bucks. I’d like to think it’s more than the motivation of what collecting a few more “Benjamins” brings, I’d hope it’s also the sense of accomplishment that follows a determined effort to advance one’s career..
After hearing it enough, he did. He studied, passed, practiced and excelled. I had no doubt that he would. He’s one of those people who “get’s it”. After having him as my senior deckhand for so long I was glad to see him move on to bigger and better. I didn’t want to lose him as my senior guy on deck, but you gotta let’em go…
He put in his time as a tug mate on various tugs and was recommended for promotion by no less than three tug masters.
I have to say that I’ve taken a good deal of pride in the fact that I was part of his process. I have no doubt he’ll be kicking some ass of his own.
Congratulations Mike. To quote Michael Stipe of R.E.M., “Welcome to the deep end”.