When you signed off for the last time and came ashore .... - Ships Nostalgia
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When you signed off for the last time and came ashore ....

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  #1  
Old 18th April 2008, 09:59
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When you signed off for the last time and came ashore ....

When you signed off for the last time and came ashore .......What did you do regarding employment?
I know a few ex R/Os who did well for themselves when they came ashore. So I was curious about others. Did you stay in the Radio/Electronics field? Or did you start a whole new career?
I finished college in 1980 with my MRGC and DoT Radar. Needless to say I couldn't get to sea as an R/O, no one was hiring juniors. I spent a year applying to radio and shipping companies with no result. But I then got a job with Decca Survey as a field engineer, next best thing to an R/O, got to travel doing a lot of offshore work in the oil industry. I packed that in after 5 years and got a job back home in Ireland installing and maintaining point of sale equipment. But due to the economic climate (mid 80s) the company went bust and I was unemployed again.
So I took myself off to New York, along with half the 18-40 age group population of Ireland. I undertook a wide selection of jobs during my 6 years in NYC, none of them in radio/electronics as they were too poorly paid, I even drove one of those horse and carriages in Central Park for a few months .
I returned to Ireland in early 90s and worked for Gateway computers for a year and then joined Dictaphone installing and maintaining communication recorders.
After Dictaphone I got a job with An Garda Síochána (Irish Police) as a Telecoms Tech, and that is where I am today, along with a few ex R/Os.
I must add that I didn't undertake any further study and I got all these jobs on the strength of the MRGC and DoT Radar. Of course I did a lot of in-house courses with the companies that employed me, in order to keep up with technology, but I found that employers in the electronics industry here recognised R/O qualifications and had a lot of respect for them.
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Old 18th April 2008, 10:16
kottemann kottemann is offline  
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Hello Shannoner

Fortunately I missed most of the dark 80s and early 90s because I was at sea. When I left the sea I did my cert in maintenance technology in Bolton Street, and like yourself ended up working in what was known as Quinnsworth now Tesco installing point of sale equiptment and computer systems. I worked for a security company after that installing 2 way radio systems. I started with IBM in 1998 doing component level debug on circuit boards and quicly after that became obsolete I was moved to their server divison as a field technician, but alas its been about 8 years since I have lifted a soldering iron or a multimeter. I still build the odd kit at home and have a big VHF that I liberated from one of my old ships that I like to tinker with. I also have a sideline repairing and installing sattelite systems and in car entertainment.
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Old 18th April 2008, 10:24
non descript non descript is offline
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Originally Posted by Shannoner View Post
When you signed off for the last time and came ashore .......What did you do regarding employment?
I went from the Sea Staff to the Chartering Department and started all over again as a trainee, with a cut in salary of 79.2per cent - which was a little awkward for a newly married man with a mortgage.
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Old 18th April 2008, 10:53
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Hi Robbie and Tonga,

From your profiles I gather you were both Deck Officers. I assumed it was easier for R/Os and Engineers to find shore employment. But I often wondered what the Deck lads did, although I am sure anyone with a Masters ticket would be very employable in some kind of management role.
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Old 18th April 2008, 11:13
Dave Wilson Dave Wilson is offline  
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I think your assumption was shared by most although I often wonder what ex Radio Operators did. The obvious choice for ex Deck men was pilotage either abroard or in Europe (depending on batchelor status etc). Ship management was also a natural progression. Ship Management is probably more important now than ever as the system since the ISM has produced a new style of 'Officer'. The older generation are still in demand.
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Old 18th April 2008, 12:01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Wilson View Post
I think your assumption was shared by most although I often wonder what ex Radio Operators did. The obvious choice for ex Deck men was pilotage either abroard or in Europe (depending on batchelor status etc). Ship management was also a natural progression. Ship Management is probably more important now than ever as the system since the ISM has produced a new style of 'Officer'. The older generation are still in demand.
Uh oh Dave you may have caused offence in here .
Radio Operators??? better read this thread http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/showthread.php?t=17110

Regards
Mick
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Old 18th April 2008, 12:15
Dave Wilson Dave Wilson is offline  
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Mick,
Don't read anything into it. You will find that those who take offence at a little thing like that a few. Experience is invarsely proportion to sensitivity!
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Old 18th April 2008, 12:31
BA204259 BA204259 is offline  
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Mick,
Don't read anything into it. You will find that those who take offence at a little thing like that a few. Experience is invarsely proportion to sensitivity!
Phew!! Well that's OK then, Skipper..
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Old 18th April 2008, 13:17
Dave Wilson Dave Wilson is offline  
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Phew!! Well that's OK then, Skipper..

Thanks for that.......Sparkie!
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  #10  
Old 18th April 2008, 14:12
Chouan Chouan is offline  
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Did my penultimate trip with Maersk, which I thoroughly enjoyed, great crowd, 2 brilliant "dads", then did my first year as an undergraduate, then did what turned out to be my last trip with Maersk as a vacation job. First part was fine, then got an absolute b*****d as an old man, who reminded me of everything I didn't like about being at sea, which made my decision easier.
Because I was going back to university I could handle it, besides, what could he do? sack me? and what for? It was a strange feeling!
I went back to university, was offered work there, and never looked back; sort of.
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Old 18th April 2008, 15:19
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After 15 years in MN I came ashore in 1963. Started as a progress chaser and assistant buyer in an engineering stock holding company, went on to become the buyer and eventually becoming an exacutive director in 1977. When company was bought out by Multi-National in 1984 I retired at the age of 52 and have been retired ever since. Contrary to populay belief, the average ship's officer had much to offer an employer, the willingness to accept responsibility on his own back, the ability to get things done and not pass the buck and eventually to become, dare I say it, nearly indispensable.
In my time in industry I came across several ex ship's officers holding down very responsible positions in non maritime concerns, we all had one thing in common, we left the MN at about 30 and had all been 1st Mate. Perhaps another factor that influenced my advancement in the company was that I married the bosses daughter
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Old 18th April 2008, 16:01
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Ex steward waiter, first shore job in a factory, decent pay, home for every Christmas, weekends free to go to the match, but after a couple of years got itchy feet, luckily I got a job with British Rail (as was), as a dining car steward, more like the life I was used to and stayed until I was made redundant (virgin Trains) for 32 years
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Old 18th April 2008, 16:18
Jim Harris Jim Harris is offline  
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[quote=Shannoner;209477]When you signed off for the last time and came ashore .......What did you do regarding employment?



After leaving the M.N. I emigrated to Australia.

The Power of the Pussy.

I got in with a bad crowd and sank pretty low, only just
avoiding 'skid row'.

From door-to-door selling to Sales Director, I had a roller-coaster
career....and after 45 years in the workforce I returned to what
I was trained to do in the first place.... a Fitter and Turner!!

Regards,

Jim.
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Old 18th April 2008, 16:18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonga View Post
I went from the Sea Staff to the Chartering Department and started all over again as a trainee, with a cut in salary of 79.2per cent - which was a little awkward for a newly married man with a mortgage.
I didn't take near that cut, but it was still painful when I came ashore!!
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Old 18th April 2008, 16:21
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On the 18th January 1987 I walked ashore at Tranmere from my last ship 'Serenia' and took the chance to collect redundancy payment as Shell were re-flagging at the time.
With my redundancy payment I started up a new company called 'Highland Analogue' retailing high-end hi-fi equipment, I ran the company as a sole trader for 12 years. After that I officially retired and got involved with local and hospital radio. After studying to be an SQA Assessor for the 'Certificate in Local Radio' I co-presented a live two hour jazz programme broadcasting every week for five years on 'Moray Firth Radio' along with my wife whilst also presenting programmes on Inverness Hospital Radio. I also do PA and sound reinforcement for bands
I was voted chairman of 'The Highlands & Islands Community Broadcasting Federation' for the last two years which I've now stood down from to concentrate on building a Community Radio station for Inverness, I was awarded a Community Radio licence for Inverness by Ofcom last year and I hope we should be on-air by October, www.nessfm.org. Lastly, I hope not finally! as if my retirement wasn't busy enough, at 64 years of age I'm learning to fly to earn the PPL..so watch out above you if you're in the north of Scotland.... your life is at risk

Last edited by mikeg : 19th April 2008 at 11:44. Reason: URL wasn't working - now it is
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Old 18th April 2008, 16:22
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David, I was very impressed with your post and I thought "Here is a guy who has done very well for himself after coming ashore."
Then you ruined it all by giving the real reason for your success......
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Perhaps another factor that influenced my advancement in the company was that I married the bosses daughter
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Old 18th April 2008, 16:35
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I didn't take near that cut, but it was still painful when I came ashore!!
Yes JoK, it was painful - for apart from the frightening drop in salary, the other unfortunate bit was going (on the Friday night) from being able to do a job with (possibly) a reasonable level of ability and at least knowing what I was doing, to start on the Monday morning, knowing absolutely nothing about the job and knowing that if and when my phone rang, it would either be a wrong number, or a question I could not answer. Mind you this last bit is still valid today..
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Old 18th April 2008, 17:13
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After 8 years at sea as an RO, I could see the way the British shipping industry was headed, so I left my last ship at Singapore in July 1981 and got a job working on computerised scanning equipment used in the printing industry. In 1984 I moved into the IT industry, and that's where I am today, working first as a field engineer, and nowadays as a remote support engineer for Sun Microsystems.
I don't regret leaving the sea when I did, but I absolutely don't regret the time I spent at sea, it was defining period in my life.
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Old 18th April 2008, 18:28
JoK JoK is offline  
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Yes JoK, it was painful - for apart from the frightening drop in salary, the other unfortunate bit was going (on the Friday night) from being able to do a job with (possibly) a reasonable level of ability and at least knowing what I was doing, to start on the Monday morning, knowing absolutely nothing about the job and knowing that if and when my phone rang, it would either be a wrong number, or a question I could not answer. Mind you this last bit is still valid today..
LOL, I hear you on the phone thing!!
My Boss always used to say before he retired: that something would happen on the ship, everyone would gather around in a huddle, the Chief, the Regulatory fellows, the Contracting guy and when they stopped discussing the problem, they would look to us, the lowest paid people in the group for an answer
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Old 18th April 2008, 19:28
IAINT IAINT is offline  
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Hi Shannoner

Made redundant in 1981 after 18 years with Marconi, then went to the oil rigs for the next 19 years. Now retired.

Regards
Iain T
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Old 18th April 2008, 19:42
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AB.
Married in 1971 and stayed on at sea on the coast or did delivery jobs, but decided to follow follow my wife's career and become a primary school teacher. They were looking for men from non-academic backgrounds to enhance the primary teaching pool at that time and were offering enhanced grants.

Needed Highers (A Levels) so took job as a builder's labourer/dumper driver so that I could attend evening classes to gain required qualifications. Much lower pay than as an AB, and with young family by that time.

Managed to get into teacher training college in Dundee, and after 3 years on a grant (even lower income!) graduated as a primary teacher. I've done a variety of things in education in both primary and secondary and special needs here and in Zambia. Wife and I both interested in ICT and now I work from home part-time for secure web site for young children. I now get small teacher's pension (now I'm over 60) and wife is on part-time as well. We are "comfortable".
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Old 19th April 2008, 11:39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Wilson View Post
I think your assumption was shared by most although I often wonder what ex Radio Operators did. The obvious choice for ex Deck men was pilotage either abroard or in Europe (depending on batchelor status etc). Ship management was also a natural progression. Ship Management is probably more important now than ever as the system since the ISM has produced a new style of 'Officer'. The older generation are still in demand.
I was always given to think that ex Deck men would go ashore and sell insurance. Well that was the line of thought doing the rounds when I swallowed the anchor.

Steve.
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Old 19th April 2008, 12:57
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I left after getting my Master's in 1964 ,not because I could foresee what was coming in the 70's & 80's but because my Dad was critically ill. I was on 'unpaid leave without loss of seniority' so looked for something to pay the bills.

IBM advertised for Deck Officers under 30 with at least 1st Mates to train as Systems Analysts. Remembering that in 1965 I had heard of ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles) but not of IBM I applied half-heartedly. So did 140 others! Two of us got accepted after a gruelling all day interview and aptitude session. I queried the value of the tests and was told that they only took people who scored more than something or the other and the company was growing at 80% compound p.a. I said 'You don't know how you would grow with other people' and have always suspected I was the sample idiot they tried.

Commercial computing was in its infancy in 1965 and expandingly rapidly. IBM analysed their existing systems and programming workforce. There were three main groups: Accountants, graduates of any flavour and navigators (some ex-short service commission but mainly ex MN)

Computing kept me happily employed for rest of my working life. The name of the game changed from Machine Accounts to Data Processing to Information Technology over the decades but the same old mistakes keep being made.
Ian
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Old 19th April 2008, 13:59
K urgess K urgess is offline
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Came ashore in 1977 for various reasons but one of the main ones was there was nowhere to go.
Sparkie's don't get promoted.
Went to work for SAIT (Belgian radio company) as a shoreside tech for a couple of years but got fed up with doing the jobs sparkies can't be bothered to do.
Went on a government computer course down Oxford Street in London that was a great waste of time (open book exams) and I left to get a job as field engineer for a company installing new electronic POS (cash register) systems, bar code readers, and the first laser scanners.
Managed to commute that into a job as a computer field service engineer with Digico and lasted through a load of takeovers until they finally went belly up after eleven years and several name changes.
Started a field service company with another redundant engineer from the same company which we ended up selling to another computer company that we went to work for.
All this before PCs.
Mostly mini computers the size of your average chest of drawers.
Got into PCs when they first came out then went into machinery automation on chocolate bar wrapping machines.
Another redundancy saw me wangle a job as Autocad designer for one of the partner firms which slowly changed into more machinery control and starting another company when redundancy loomed again.
All the redundancies were generated by companies going bust in the Thatcher years.
Got dropped in it by a customer going bust (story of my life) so I got a job as electrical engineering manager for a HVAC firm doing a lot of offshore work.
Lasted three years before I decided I'd rather live to draw my pension than earn megabucks.
May also have something to do with trying to design the controls/PLC program for a ventilation system for safely changing the nuclear fuel rods in HM submarines.
Managed to get a job doing simple controls for car park barriers and rising pavements which I decided last year was just getting too bound up with Eurolegislation.
Now I work for the Memsahib. Doing carpentry on her houses.
About as non-technical as you can get.
I guess us sparkies were reasonably lucky in the 80s and 90s with the boom in consumer electronics and the developments in technology.
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  #25  
Old 19th April 2008, 16:57
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Quote:
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IBM advertised for Deck Officers under 30 with at least 1st Mates to train as Systems Analysts.
Thats interesting Ian. I am curious as to what attributes IBM thought that 1st Mates or Masters had, that would make them good Systems Analysts?

Mick
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