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Yawn, Stretch, Fighting Work Boredom


There are many criticisms that seafaring is not as exciting as it used to be. Given that it may have involved historically involved keel hauling that may not be a bad thing. But how can work be more fun and battle back against boredom?


List of boring jobs

List of boring jobs

A list of the world’s most boring professions has been compiled, and good news…seafaring does not register a mention. It seems for real soul crushing boredom, you need to look at people who work in offices, not ships.

According to the report, legal professions have been ranked the dullest, followed by roles in project management, support functions and finance control. Other yawn-inducing careers include those in consulting and accounting, banking, engineering and sales. While marketing and communications, and IT completed the top 10 humdrum jobs.

More than eight out of 10 legal workers admitted their work doesn’t get them excited, which has been put down to the amount of time employees are bogged down in case research.

People working in the United Arab Emirates are apparently the most bored, with 83 per cent saying they find work uninspiring. Try not to get trapped in a lift with a lawyer from Sharjah would be our advice.


So, things could be worse. How do you feel about seafaring though? Working at sea is a bit like a relationship, so what are the warning signs that you are falling out of love with a life on the ocean wave? Well…here are some red flags that may be flying, and we don’t mean because you are bunkering!

  • You can’t remember the last time you did something adventurous while you were away at sea.
  • You look at recruitment adverts and feel pangs of excitement about working for another company…or (whisper it), working ashore.
  • You are constantly reminiscing on better times or bringing up the past. Remember that time you were alongside for weeks, or that party in the bar. Ah, happier times.
  • Your daily schedule is getting you down. You go on watch at the same time, eat the same. You’ve forgotten how to be spontaneous or how to rise to a challenge.
  • You have a gut feeling deep inside this job probably isn’t something you’ll be doing long term or you have a feeling you’re not in the right role. If you have to ask yourself if the job is right, chances are you already know the answer.
  • You miss being ashore and envy your friends. It always seems like they’re having so much more fun without you.
  • Join the Merchant Navy and see the world…hmm, see all the pipelines attached to all the ports of the world more like.
  • You avoid talking about the future. Whereas you once loved dreaming about being Captain or Chief, now you’re not really interested in making those kinds of tentative plans anymore. The fun has gone, the dream has died.
  • You get into arguments for stupid reasons and find yourself becoming annoyed or irritated at minor things.
  • You don’t care about impressing your bosses anymore. It’s not that you’ve given up, it’s just that putting in the extra effort just seems like a waste of time.
  • Your friends ask you about life at sea, and you don’t really have anything to say. You’re no longer enthused, you would prefer to talk about something, anything, else.
  • Things you once loved about seagoing have now become huge liabilities. When you started at sea it all felt so exciting, not now. Packing your bag is painful, thinking of time away is sad and you are in a rut.
  • You’ve started thinking more about what you might like to do if you weren’t at sea. You start considering how many more things you could do if you didn’t have to worry about a heading off to the ship.




Ok, so there may be a few from the list above that are making you ponder how you feel about work. That is normal, don’t panic. We can get this relationship back on track.

Of all the motivational problems at sea, the biggest may simply be getting through the day, and then getting through the whole trip. Psychologists have a great deal to say about the problem of boredom and offer useful clues about how to cope with boredom.

The biggest cause of boredom is easily identified. It concerns how work is measured – in units of time, rather than in units of production, or accomplishment. You are on watch for hours, at sea for weeks, and on the ship, perhaps, for months. Time is the enemy. Watching a clock is bad enough, but staring at a calendar is very bad news indeed.

Boredom is partly due to insufficient stimulation and that problem is largely resolved by focusing on tasks rather than time. What needs to be achieved in that watch period? Get back to some basics, crunch some numbers, take some sights, do that compass error. Just don’t forget to avoid the other ships.


Fight Back

Fight back

Worrying about the passage of time and lack of events and stimulation to fill that time are not the only issue involved in boredom. With increased mechanisation and automation, seafarers can feel remote from the actual workings of the vessel.

This is a mistake, so – get involved. Learn about not just what something does, but how it does it. Time taken to learn should never be boring. By learning about, say the ECDIS or Dynamic Positioning system, you could be doing something genuinely useful for others. Become an expert and help others to learn.

Breaking down the time at sea is important – just focus on your watch and then your time off. Don’t look too far ahead. Allow yourself to think of the next port or task. Then all of a sudden the days will have gone and you will be closer to home.

Staying busy is important, but there is a subtle difference between that and working too hard. So strike the right balance. Have pride in work, in appearance and of being on time. These can all be little building blocks that help to tackle boredom.

What do you think about boredom at sea? Do you have access to content such as movies or news to help you cope? What are the tips and tricks you would share with us? We look forward to hearing from