The Dog Ate My Homework

Tim Clarke gives his take on honesty among yacht crew –


This is a slightly controversial post which people won’t like but every single Captain and Head of Department will agree with me. I’m probably turning into a bitter, twisted cynic in my old age too but something which has irritated me for a while is crew lying. This seems to be far more prevalent in junior crew than senior crew obviously.

Specifically I am referring to lying about a situation at home to reject a job offer, to leave a yacht for another job or just generally get out of an awkward situation. I’ve got a family emergency at home is the yachting equivalent of the dog ate my homework. Whilst undoubtedly true at times, the vast majority of the time it is a porkie told to remove said yachtie from an uncomfortable situation. To clarify, I have spoken to lots of crew who I have no doubt are telling the truth about this and have had to deal with some awful situations. But just as many are stretching the truth.

I understand you don’t want to tell a yacht that you are leaving mid season because you have been offered a job on your partners boat. I understand telling a yacht you’ve been offered a better job is hard, or that you will get 200 euros a month more, there is rotation, it’s a busy charter or whatever the reason may be. But you will get far more respect by owning this honestly than lying. Be sure your sins will find you out….

The ‘family emergency’ excuse is suitably vague and carries connotations that means you won’t be called out on it. Some are more specific and name the dead / dying / seriously ill family member. Who is going to accuse you of lying when it may be true? No one. However I guarantee you that your Captain or HOD is going to have a significant seed of doubt as they will have seen it multiple times before. Often when they’ve seen it before they will have found out the real truth later down the line. And the real truth doesn’t match the story that was peddled to them 3 months previously.

I could give you dozens of examples but a recent one was ‘I have to go home and look after my dad, he is seriously ill’ when turning down a job of mine. Sounds terrible, best of luck with your dad. I actually believed this one as it was fairly specific and it would be an awful lie to make up. 2 months later I get an updated CV. The updated CV contains a temp job for 6 weeks which started a few days after you turned down my job to tend to your ill father. Now you look like a pretty poor candidate to me.  I don’t think anyone would be shocked to hear I won’t deal with that candidate again.

Tim’s Suggestion:

I would suggest to crew only use the seriously ill / deceased family member story if it’s true. Otherwise man up and tell the truth about why you are leaving or why you aren’t accepting the job.
Not only that, but why tempt fate?  

Last point, this happens in all walks of life as memorably demonstrated in the following link. If you want to read a humorous example of how not to do it then then click below….

The Guardian: Stephen Ireland’s ‘dead’ grannies and Roy Keane

 

From 2006 to 2007 Tim was lucky enough to spend two years as a deckhand on MY Sai Ram and MY Leander, two excellent charter yachts. Quay Crew was formed in 2013 and is proving to be a great success: Tim covers the deck department predominantly working on Captain and Officer roles.

+44 (0) 7760 202610 | +33 7810 12245 | tim@quaycrew.com

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