This is a first. Seating on a plane and writing a blog post, or actually finishing it since it was already a work in progress. The last few days have been hectic with the packing and all the preparations but all good and on my way now. Where am I going? Back to work! What will I do starting this weekend? Not clubbing for sure. Besides what we already discussed in my previous post, here’s part II and the last one of The Green Stripes.
So we talked about the Bridge and Engine duties but when I am not there you can usually find me in my office doing what we all love to do, paperwork and e-mails. Surprisingly, and I am sure you all agree with me, this task takes us always so much time than it should onboard. No matter how experienced you are or how fast your fingers on the keyboard are, you are still stuck at the desk for hours. These hours vary depending if it is the end of the cruise, month, quarter or year. Luckily for me, I tend to be organized in my own chaos.
I am also responsible for the crew training and familiarization with our Environmental program that takes place within the first days of coming onboard usually. This one is always a fun task to do. To see the different faces in the crowd, the confused new hires taking notes, the sleepy ones still jet lag, the rebel ones, the “it’s a lady officer” ones looking at me in shock. Yep, fun stuff. I have enjoyed teaching ever since my university years. Back then I had the chance to teach last year undergraduates in Sustainable Development and Human Habitat Ecology. I would always come up with different group projects and brainstorming. They loved it and the experience helped me very much later on in my job.
What else remains to fill the day. Although in other cruise lines the Environmental Officer might resume his/ her job to environmental compliance only, I get to be involved with other duties too. From Public Health responsibilities, chemical management, spill response and training, safety related matters or even saving birds and bats (yes bats!); who you gonna call!? And let me tell you I have a very soft spot for the little vampires. I think this has something to do with the fact that I am Romanian and you know, Dracula Transylvania and all; almost “paesanos” (ship language don’t google it).
And when I am not out there rescuing my little fanged almost relatives, I get to attend all these fancy cocktail parties and guest events or, do guest tours and presentations. When you work on a cruise ship, expect to have to socialize A LOT! Sometimes you get to meet people that fill you up with good energy for the rest of the day, other times you might feel a bit awkward and you wish others would approach you first. If there are any cruisers reading this, no matter on which cruise line you sail, please go ahead and approach us officers. We love it when you are the ones starting the conversation.
To conclude, this job of mine includes many areas and many responsibilities. Sure, things might be different from one cruise line to the other and this is just a general view of my main duties without going too much into details.
To those who consider becoming an Environmental Officer one day, my advice would be, same as other jobs, get informed and go for it only if you really want it and you are really passionate about it. Although it is a very pleasant job, it is not an easy one and the responsibilities are huge. The 3 gold and green stripes come with a price to pay, same as all 3 stripes or above positions. There will be nights that will keep you up thinking and there can be small mistakes that will roll back to you as snowballs.
Hope you enjoyed this article. I will continue sipping my tea here at 36001 ft altitude and with 6078km distance remaining until Miami.