Sunday, April 4, 2021

weekend update

 I'm still here. Just killing it. 

      I'm not inspired to write much at the moment, as I've noted. I'm in the doldrums, work-wise. The challenges at work for me are not what they were. My greatest challenges used to be involved with finding ways to creatively get things done in a safe and efficient manner- load planning, creating and improving maintenance schedules aboard, etc.  Well, with time, that stuff becomes oh so de la mode, so to speak. 

      I remember reading in someone's memoirs that no matter your passion for a job, eventually it becomes just a job, regardless of whether the sense of fulfillment endures. On top of that, we lose the opportunity to do the things we most love to do at the job as we advance in experience and our responsibilities change. 

 I spent about 45 minutes yesterday doing paperwork for a cargo fixed for a new charterer. Like any company from places other than the developed world, they have a particularly onerous paperwork trail that for some reason is far more complicated and unnecessarily repetitive. This is not to say that we are ungrateful for their business- far from it, it's a good opportunity and growth is never to be despised.   But the truth is that the companies we work with here on the HQ are mostly western, and while all have individual differences in their reporting and documentation, all share a good deal of common traits... and our new charterer does share many of these things... and then has an equal or greater amount of unfamiliar in-house paperwork that I don't relish dealing with. This makes me suspect that most of our suppliers have an in-house staff that handles some of these issues, and companies that operate in less-developed economies simply do not.  What a good shoreside example? Go visit Customs in a couple of countries. The US has a process that if not always nice is usually straightforward, even when it's not. *cough cough USDA inspector aboard, throw out your canned food!* Now go visit customs, in, say Brazil. There are 12 stamps from 5 offices here. There are supposed to be 13 from 4. You need another stamp, but the guy with the stamp is not in this week, and next week is the week-long feast of St. Whoozits, patron saint of left-handed dentists, so he won't be in until... 6 weeks from now, but only between 4 and 4:16 pm, and also not here, but in another city. 

      So that's sort of where my headspace is at with this stuff. Now, the real giggle is that I'm just the guy who gives the customer $10 in unleaded and a pack of Marbs. I don't actually wash the windows, but the simile is solid. This stuff is above my pay grade... except when it isn't, because I fill out a form incorrectly because somehow when a paperwork process that normally takes 10 minutes takes 45, scanning for errors becomes exponentially harder, especially when there's an unusually high percentage of copying involved from page to page, but not always rote copying... in an age when computers are a thing.  I should ask Supply for an abacus. It might help. 

      Well, howsomever the differences, the money made from these transactions is green, and it behooves me to keep that tap in the on position as long as I can by trying to do things the right way. The only reward on here for doing a good job is that no one calls to complain. Given the way things are, that has to be good enough, and if cash is green and black oil is black, silence is still golden. 

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