Around the new year I was really struggling with whether to stay here on the Puerto Rico run – I wanted a job on the west coast so I could be closer to home and not travel so much for work. I could work in Valdez, or go to the ATBs and live on a nice big boat and have my crew change right there in Martinez every month. I had all these ideas about what I could do to be happier at my work and was coming up with reasons to leave, none of them very compelling and most of them conveniently crafted to serve my discontent.
Then one day I read this great little piece on relationships by Wendy Strgar that talked about having one foot out the door; how people, when they are unhappy with their current situation, come up with reasons to leave and constantly focus on an “escape hatch”, this sort of “I could be much happier if…” mentality that takes their focus away from the present and robs them of the chance to grow by fully committing to making the best of what they have. It hit me then that the same concept could easily apply to a career. And I was that person with one foot out the door – I wanted out, and my job performance and attitude were suffering because I was never fully focused on the present moment; I was always thinking about how I could get away from this and move on to something better.
Suddenly it became clear that I would be happier if I made the conscious decision to stay and commit to excelling in my current position. As soon as I came to that conclusion, it was as if a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I stopped complaining and emerged from the depressed only-half-here twilight I’d been living for months. This decision changed everything. I could work on a newer boat and enjoy more comfort and updated amenities, but the truth is I really like towing; it works for me. And even though they’re old, I love these boats – they’re powerful and sturdy, and everyone knows them. I have friends in their fifties who worked on these Invader class tugs for Crowley thirty years ago, and I’m really proud to be part of that legacy. So for now I’ve got both feet planted firmly in the present and I’ll do great things with what I’ve got.