April, 2006 – Editor`s Page

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From the Editor`s Desk

Everybody has different agenda. Customer needs quality products and services, employees want better compensation, recognition or career opportunities, while companies want greater profits and a better market share. The best solutions are those that embrace people`s differences. Encourage focused and insightful observation of the right people – people who are naturally creative or those who do things a little differently. Observe them in motion, in their natural settings.

Combine careful watching with occasional well chosen questions. Such people often have the ability to inadvertently spark off brilliant ideas or solutions in an offhand manner, sometimes even without realizing their value. Inspiration often comes from seeing, hearing, feeling and being there. Sensory immersion is a powerful source of innovation, so, makes sure that you keep close, to where the action is. Make brainstorming a religion, practice it everyday and weave it into the cultural fabric of your organization. Cross functional collaboration, exchange of ideas, concept creation and sharing of knowledge, virtually at every level of the organization are needed to manage and fully harness the potential of inspiration and creativity. In fact, free flow of ideas should be encouraged not only within the organization but also between the organization and other companies and businesses as well. Make cross-pollination of ideas an integral part of your workplace.

Preparedness of the selected fresh trainees, at the respective Maritime Trg. institutions, for a minimum accepted quality benchmark, prior to inducting them for work out at sea. Owing to a profession of constraints filled life, it is essential to instill discipline, adequate subject knowledge, safety consciousness with the requisite model code of professional ethics, thereby build confidence, developing a mindset to achieve excellence, on shipboard duties, being dutiful and obedient to seniors. At the initial stage, it is not for the employing shipping company to expect too much from the prospective employee but to meet the basic essential needs of willingness to work. It is not just knowing, but the will to work that matters most, which every Chief Engineer and Master Mariner will agree with me. Thereon, the ongoing up-gradation of professional knowledge and requisite maritime business management techniques with enrichment in allied associated field, will keep mariners in a competent track. Hiring the wrong people, can prove to be a costly affair for shipping companies, it matters to find a way to get rid of such employees, thereby start the recruitment process all over again, to take new people onboard.Mariners in the faculty staff of the DG Shipping approved Maritime Institutions need to prepare the candidates for a complete sea life, with the pros and cons giving a clear picture disseminating values, help them to adjust with living and eating habits, take care of their emotional well-being and personality development towards competitive life and foresee their complete life. `Pragmatism, not opportunism` as Seafarers can`t imagine getting together and achieving their legitimate rights unlike the unions and associations in shore-based establishments, as the recent pension hike announcement by the Honorable Finance Minister P Chidambaram, which is a quantum of 40~50% of the last pay drawn as pension, comes to the most privileged sections of the salaried class,(employees of the State Bank of India),enjoying handsome pay packets and generous perks, utilizing their massive strength in the banking sector. Why not a fair look, towards its own citizen, in a wider perspective angle? Rather than our government blindly yield under pressurized group (unions/associations).

National Maritime Administration need to be more sensitive to the social problems of helpless seamen already worked/ working out at sea, instead of turning a blind eye, to their plight. Politicised Bureaucrats, has time and again proved to be working without a conscience, despite exposition of defects and deficiencies. Equally important is to ensure seamen`s proper resettlement and rehabilitation of seamen`s families; who had earned precious foreign exchange to the country, during their service period. Casualties/Accidents caused to seafarers out at sea needs to be investigated in a fair and just manner and reported, for timely corrective actions, thus to avoid further incurrence of repetitive nature, instead of playing with the human lives. Devotion to duty, is not a sacrifice, it is a justification to one`s existence. Clear mind and clear thoughts gives the day a good start. Every job done is a self-portrait of the person who did it. Autograph your work with excellence in the path of perfection.

We are identified by the job we do. The different jobs and occupations one handles, define his career. It is difficult to make a career choice when you are a novice. This is because careers evolve! Job-hopping is no longer a taboo. It is euphemistically termed `career-transitioning` now and helps individuals blend the variety of skills and experiences with élan in their new jobs. You could afford to be a little hazy about your long term goals initially but you must invariably be crystal clear about your immediate and short term goals. In general, what matters to an individual varies. Is it money alone? Or do I want to work on something that interests me, even if I get paid pittance? In simple words, what are my values? Do I need to take risks or sacrifice, a challenging job and career to pay off my family in their uplift for better living or make one`s future, for the risks and sacrifice of leisure time undertaken? A seaman`s job is challenging, which is not everyone`s bread, he/she needs to be mentally and physically strong. This needs to be let known in the first instance, prior to admittance into Maritime Institutions. Calls for the required talent, skill, potential living with all constraints, while living and working in hazardous conditions. One should `Know you first` an ability to absorb requisite skills, innate skills and Personality skills. Unrealistic downsizing of workforce onboard meant longer working hours, resulting to stress, Sailor`s mind-set / mental disturbances. Loneliness, forces of darkness. Forgiveness, Sincere efforts, hard work and long hours of work when required. One should recognize the signs of time. Cordial, peaceful, congenial living and working conditions, Duty, Dignity and Discipline.

Shipping Company needs to hone the skills of their floating officers and ratings through a knowledge and concept based teaching by eminent and well qualified trainers. Develop a team of their own for performance consistency, with a constant check on their pulse reading, attending to reasonable welfare measures instilling fairness. Operational research would yield better methods and practices thereby keeping to the times. Guidance and counseling for evolving better strategies aimed at securing better performance without any bottlenecks, in critical and functional shipboard operations. Research, Design and Development to work, keeping abreast, with updates of the world maritime scenario and thereby viewing innovation such creativity would be the sustainable growth engine of India`s future.

Dr. Chandran Peechulli,
Ph.D; MBA; D.Sc; FIE(India), PgDIMS(UK), PgTED; FIIPE; MSEI; MSNAME(USA),
Ex.Chief Engineer(Marine), G.M.(Tech) Crossworld Shipping.
Managing Editor & Publisher-“MARINE WAVES” International Maritime Newsletter.

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