I imagine that with many jobs these days, companies have a social media policy where you aren’t allowed to tweet, post or blog about stuff that happens at work. That’s all fine and dandy, I hate talking about work-related subjects when I could be talking about something far more interesting. This is also why I generally avoid asking people what they do for work because I find that it’s a conversation killer, unless the person does something particularly interesting like work as a stripper or astronaut.
However, when you work on a cruise ship, the separation from work and play is heavily blurred. You eat, drink and live with your workmates. You are assimilated into an ecosystem where everything revolves around ship life. Therefore, not being able to comment about what you are doing on the ship is like telling someone that they need to cease contact with the outside world for 6 months.
Fortunately for me, my job description does not include any Black Ops. So I think it’s safe to say that the logic behind this policy is more about avoiding liability than suppressing freedom of speech. Just in case, I’ve been reasonably careful about neither using my real full name (yes, Marvelous is my stage name), the names of my friends nor the name of my employer on this blog. Of course, I know that online privacy is a misnomer and anyone with half a brain will be able to find out my “real identity” and the identity of my employer but the reality is that I’m not that interesting for most people to bother. Plus, there are lots of people who apparently don’t have half a brain, judging by the number of people who email me going “do you really work on a cruise ship?”. (If I was going to lie about my job, I think I could come up with something a bit more interesting. You know like working as a stripper. Or astronaut.)
Still, I think I’ve been quite selective over the stories I tell, leaving anything too risqué unpublished (and saved for a later time, perhaps). End of the day, blogging is a fairly egocentric activity so it’s all about my life anyway.
Therefore I was caught off-guard a while ago, when HR called me into their office. Apparently they knew off my blog. Fuck. Without going into too much detail, someone I know saw me go to my blog and then ran to the authorities like a dirty rat. To be fair, this person wasn’t ever a friend of mine. He’s the kind of person who’d need to have a completely different personality for me to want to acknowledge his existence.
So anyway he snitched on me and HR had read my blog. At that moment in the office, I was convinced that I was going to be fired. (Which I would have definitely blogged about.) But it was quite the opposite. Apparently they liked my drawings and wanted me to illustrate some characters for a crew event. I mumbled “sure” – still in shock and left the office.
I was furious that someone could be so douchey to snitch on me like that. Like seriously, that’s pathetic. It’s like that time in grade school when I got into trouble for drawing pictures in Math class, when I should have been learning about fractions instead.
But then I realized that he had done me a favour. Now that HR was aware of my blog and gave their implicit approval, I felt relieved that I wasn’t doing anything wrong. Before this episode, I was very cautious about even telling my shipmates about my blog – which almost felt like I was hiding something from them.
Coincidentally, soon after I finished these illustrations, there happened to be a crew contest to win an iPad. The criteria was simply to submit a creative project. Seeing that the work was already done, I forwarded my prior illustrations as my entry for the contest. And, I won! Now, I’m not one to assume that I’m exceptionally creative – there are many more people onboard with the ability to submit amazing music, video, photography, or art projects. But they didn’t – in fact, very few people entered the contest. My guess is that for most people, getting drunk in the crew bar sounded like a more interesting proposition than entering a contest. And why not? At least in the crew bar, you are always guaranteed the reward of intoxication.
The actions of a frenemy inadvertently led to me entering a contest I probably wouldn’t have entered, and then winning an iPad. Funny how life turns out.