I got the call Friday evening just after 7pm. A call like this is never at a good time, but the timing of this call for me was particularly bad.
Since Wednesday, I was back in the UK sitting a personal training course. The course thus far had been very intensive, with lots of information covered at fast pace, and 3 or 4 hours of homework each evening after an 8 hour day in the class room. By Friday the pace of the course was picking up, and my head was hurting from the constant barrage of information. The course was by far the hardest my brain has had to process information since recovering from my brain injury and I could feel the strain.
After Friday’s lesson, my head was suffering from information over load so bad, that I was actually looking forward to chilling out on the tube ride back to Jess’s apartment. I’d not long sat down to start tackling my homework, when my phone rang. I saw it was a +33 (French dialing code) number on my phone’s display and I thought to myself this isn’t good. It was my captain calling to tell me a decision had been made to cancel my contract. The reasoning behind this was because the management had decided that all deck crew are now required to hold a yachtmaster and more experience than I can offer. I was told that it was nothing to do with my work ethic or attitude and that it was a decision that it was out of the captain’s hands.
Even though I’d prepared myself for bad news after seeing the French number on my phone display, I was still taken a back and shocked by the news. Thoughts rushed trough my head, analyzing the news from different angles, and I experienced various emotions. Worst of all, I knew I was facing another 3 or 4 hours of home work, with another 2 days of the course still to run, so I tried to calm my mind and just focus on my homework and the remainder of the course.
I was hugely disappointed because I was really looking forward to the season, but could understand the decision – Clifford is a very nice boat and it is only right they have experienced, qualified crew looking after her. Over the winter they had also brought a new Van Dutch tender, which needed an experienced driver to operate it.
I was given the option of returning to France and working my notice period, or leaving the boat and using holiday to cover my notice period. Staying in the UK was never an option for me. I knew that after my notice was up, boats would soon be looking for crew and I wanted to be in France before the influx of job hunters arrived. I also had food and accommodation onboard, so it made sense financially to work my notice period.
When I got the job on Clifford, I thought my future in yachting was sorted, and I would never be facing unemployment again. I didn’t expect to be on Clifford forever, but I am sensible enough to have a job lined up before I handed in my notice. I was disappointed but thought to myself the decision was out of my control - I couldn’t sit my yachtmaster as I haven’t accumulated enough sea miles and I need time in the industry to gain experience. I told myself that I needed to stay positive, and work hard to find a new job. I’m now in a far better position, than when I first arrived in Antibes - I have more money, more contacts and more importantly more experience.
I was back in self discipline mode - until I found a new job, work came before pleasure and I had to knuckle down and get things sorted. I needed to tie up lose ends, visit all the agencies and start dock walking again. One major stumbling block was my personal training exam, which had to be completed and sent of within 30 days of finishing the curse. I arrived back in France on Monday, so the plan was to amend my CV, and visit all the agencies by Friday, then spend the weekend studying and completing the majority of the exam.
My plan worked out perfectly. I arrived back in Antibes on 20th February, had a trail on a boat on the 23rd, which I decided the job wasn’t for me, and was day working from the 29th right up until I was offered a job on a yacht called Fathom, on the 12th March. Obviously I could have down without the stress of finding a new job, but I made good of a negative situation. The day work meant that I didn’t have to touch my savings, and the job offer meant I can still look forward to the up and coming season, and continue my career in yachting.