Why It's Important to Get Along with Your Fellow Crew
July 30th is the International Day of Friendship (also sometimes called World Friendship Day) so we thought for this blog post it would be a nice idea to take a look at why it’s important to get along in a friendly manner with your fellow crew members onboard your vessel.
Of course, this applies whether you’re working in a job at sea or on land, but when you’re living for months at a time and spending long hours on a ship with the same few faces, we think making an effort to get on with people is especially important.
But why is it so important to get on well with the people you work alongside in a seafarer job? For the same reasons why it’s important in any job - and then some!
And before you say it, yes we know that in any given workplace, not everyone is always going to be the best of friends. You might work with someone who is constantly complaining or being negative or you could have very strong differences in political beliefs with someone.
But hear us out as to why at least trying to be friendly with your crew mates is a win-win situation for everyone. Especially you!
Why it’s important to get along with your fellow crew mates
There are many benefits to getting along with the crew mates you work with on a ship. Here are just a few of them:
You’ll be happier
It’s not rocket science: when you work with people you like and get along with, even the dullest day at work becomes more enjoyable. The knock on effect of this is a naturally more favorable outlook on your job - which in turn will make you happier overall.
And like we’ve already said, not everyone is going to be your best mate while you’re working at sea, but even if you don't become Best Friends Forever with everyone onboard, when you make the effort to get along with people you’ll be contributing to a more positive and productive working environment for everyone. (And you might make some long-lasting friendships after all!)
You’ll get greater job satisfaction
This links to the above point but let’s look at it in a little more depth. When you have pleasant relationships with the people you work with, you're more likely to be satisfied with your job overall.
And when you and your crew mates get along with each other, you’re all more likely to be helpful and supportive of one another. This results in stronger teamwork and better communication and collaboration - which can ultimately improve performance and safety onboard.
You’ll have better opportunities for advancement
Sure, you can take all the seafarer exams you want to, but if you’re not liked and/or respected by your fellow crew - particularly your senior officers or Head of Department - chances are you’re not going to be recommended for promotion.
It goes without saying that people want to work with and support someone they like and trust. And especially in the microcosm that is a vessel, if you’re hard to work with your post-contract assessments aren’t going to be great. Even worse, that crew manager might not want to hire you for any more positions either.
You’ll reduce your stress levels
There can’t be many people out there who actively enjoy working in a negative environment. And when you’re working in a seafarer job, which can often be stressful and physically demanding anyway, dealing with a toxic workplace can negatively impact your physical and mental health.
Having positive relationships with your coworkers can help to reduce stress levels and create a nicer and more pleasant workplace for everyone. After all, you need to be focused on your daily tasks onboard - not on dealing with skyrocketing stress.
So that's why it’s important to get along with your fellow crew mates. But the million dollar question is - how?
If you’re not naturally a people person and you’d rather keep yourself to yourself and hunker down in your cabin after your shift has ended, give our reasons on why getting on with everyone (or at least most people!) onboard is beneficial another read through.
And if you feel like you do need a few pointers for getting along with your crew mates better, keep on reading.
Tips for getting on better with your crew mates onboard
- Be respectful of everyone, regardless of their position or rank. From the youngest Deck Cadet to the Chief Engineer and Master, everyone is working with the same goal in mind.
- Be friendly and approachable. Greet your fellow crew with a cheery smile and a good morning - or a good afternoon or evening, depending on which watch you’re on!
- Be open to feedback, especially from your higher ranking coworkers. Becoming defensive in the face of, even mild criticism is a no-no and, at the end of the day, it won’t help you progress up the maritime career ladder either.
- Be willing to help out when needed. If you’re known as someone who is ready to lend a hand, it will make your working relationships so much better. You might learn something useful too!
- Be positive and upbeat. Life on a merchant ship isn’t always plain sailing - literally. But when the seas are rough, mechanical issues arise, or the Chief Cook serves up the same meal three days in a row, plastering a smile on your face is always going to have a better outcome than moaning and whining.
So in the spirit of the International Day of Friendship, we’ll finish by saying that we know it can sometimes be easier said than done when it comes to getting along with absolutely everyone onboard your vessel, but making the effort can lead to a number of positive benefits for both you and your career at sea.
Eve is Martide's content writer and publishes regular posts on everything from our maritime recruitment and crew planning software to life at sea.