Growing up on Bainbridge Island, WA, a majority of recent High School grads either went off to college, or worked in the maritime industry, typically fishing in Alaska. I decided to try both. Much to my surprise, life at sea pulled harder and I spent the next decade 'living the life', as we would say.
I worked hard, harder than I thought I could. My job was to help process the thousands of pounds of fish the boat caught daily, trasferring product from live caught to the freezer hold for eventual offload/sale. Should you actually know enough about the industry to talk about what I did specifically, feel free to ask.
Over the decade, I was privileged to visit many places reminiscent of earlier centuries. Places like Adak, Cold Bay, Unalaska & Dutch Harbor (which finally paved their runway during my tenure). We took a trip south and fished off of New Zealand and Antarctica in 1992, while spending time in Lyttelton & Christchurch.What I Learned
So many life lessons were driven home with no encouragement other than truth. An example includes judging others exclusively on their work ethic. Fishing boats are loaded with crew from every corner of the world and many former walks-of-life. Stereotypes are put aside, there are no excuses on a fishing boat, you work or you go home. You are not sick unless you are bleeding.
You learn that you can push the physical limits of your body much farther than you thought. You learn the value of a focused team with a mutual goal. We were paid by percentage, not hours/salary, further bonding co-workers, galvanizing morale and creating a collective, community atmosphere.
Why Aren't I Still Working There?
The easy answer is that I turned thirty and the daily handfuls of Advil it took to finish contracts wasn't worth it. I had rediscovered computers the past few years during time off and this new thing called the Internet looked like it might not just be a fad. I was intrigued.