Saturday, February 17, 2007

Burn y'ur cowboy hats...

Kean on getting on a yacht in the Med, I was excited when a friend of mine referred me to a captain that was looking for crew on a yacht already based there. We had exchanged a few emails and at least a phone interview seemed certain. But then, up came an email from the captain with an apology. The owners said, “No Americans”.

Ah, America, the country everyone loves to hate…

This was a striking phenomenon I heard about last season, yachts that would not hire American crew, but I hadn’t experienced it first hand until now. When I arrived in Fort Lauderdale in November about 40% of the job listings said “NO AMERICANS”. I asked around to captains and have gotten various answers:

1) American’s are more expensive to insure because we are prone to suing – some insurance companies, I was told, have clauses that will only allow one American crew member, or none at all.

2) We have a bad work ethic.

3) It’s a personal choice, Americans are loud and obnoxious, tend to be the trouble makers on the crew and don’t live/work well with others.

I’ve heard it first hand from crew that will not work on American yachts because they say the crew are lazy and too much to deal with. And sadly, I have to admit; I’ve been on enough yachts to know, there is some truth to that. It’s a tough nut to swallow, I’ll tell you that; especially for people like me who try and break the mold.

But, in our defense, I do think we are probably scrutinized a little more closely as well; but only because foreigners admire us so much and want to be just like us. So, behavior that may be ok by one nationality, say, like hooliganism by British footballers, long considered a sign of enthusiastic allegiance to their favorite football clubs and widely accepted and appreciated by the British general public – would be considered “loud and obnoxious” and frowned upon if the same behavior were exhibited by Americans. And what about zee French? They’ve practically legalized a poor work ethic with their government sanctioned 35 hour work weeks and a month of holiday a year. And dare we even mention the Spanish and Italians? They take naps in the middle of the afternoon for god sake! What kind of a work ethic is that? Americans have a work ethic; we’ll sacrifice our holidays, vacation, marriage, family, and physical and mental health for our jobs. I know people that wear the fact that they haven’t taken vacation in two years like a badge of honor (sadly, that will never be me. Me, of such weak constitution and poor work ethic). We’ve built a nation where families can’t afford health insurance or to have one parent at home to raise children because we love to work that much! All those European nations, they’re just taking a siesta because we’re doing all the hard work for them… Lazy slogs, I tell ya’. They’re all a bunch a lazy slogs.

And about all that suing; it’s really only because American’s have such a strong work ethic and put such importance on quality of life that we sue people. I mean, come on, if you’d worked a little harder to protect everything so that any and all foreseeable accidents or uncomfortable situations could be avoided, or if we just allowed showdowns and then people could just shoot it out... Or perhaps if we could just shoot all those lawyers and Washington lobbyists... oh wait, never mind.

Ok, well, I will keep my opinions to myself. Life goes on, there are many more yachts out there that are open to me and that are going to the Mediterranean, and this just makes me only want to double my efforts to not fall into the stereotype.

But if anyone with EU citizenship would like to marry me for, say, a nominal fee – I’m available.

UPDATE: After speaking with another captain I learned that it would cost him an additional $10,000.00 to insure one single American crew member just as delivery crew - for 1 week, not even a full time crew member.

1 comment:

sha said...

dont give up yet...
i know nationality plays a role on being hired sometimes

they get filipinos cheap and good work ethic

oh well
i was about to be hired in a boat when the captain said he only wanted an english crew..

grr... hope all is well

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