Posted on: November 21, 2010 Posted by: Cole Ruth Comments: 2

Organizational Management
On the morning after we left Bermuda, it was quiet when I woke up. It took me a minute to realize why. No generator. Usually, my life revolves around the generator. Also fondly called the Jinny. The Jinny is habitually turned on at 6:30 am and runs until noon. The stove runs off the generator, so during this time I make breakfast and lunch and try to think ahead about ingredients for dinner that might need a lot of prep – like baking a butternut squash, which I did that day. Then the generator is turned on again an hour before dinner, which during transit, is 5:30 pm. Apparently the captain realized the day we left Bermuda that he had less diesel than he thought, so we ran the engine and the generator as little as possible during the trip to the island. That’s why it was quiet. Quiet also meant that we were sailing. I couldn’t wait to get on deck.

But I jotted down a few notes on management before I did so. I’ve been thinking a lot about the way the boat is managed and how people talk about the way we are to behave (don’t ask the captains about internet, Zeke said to me; they’re touchy about some things like that since they see it as a privilege). What else do they see as a privilege? Kakan needed a mirror to put in her contacts but found out that the one that disappeared from the bathroom was Captain Might’s. She did not go and ask him to use it. On the day we left Boston we were told no more electronic devices, no music, during the transit, since we might not hear someone scream or an alarm in case of an emergency. I dared to ask Captain Wright if I might turn on the radio in the kitchen to listen to my old This American Life programs and he said yes. My thinking was that I would of course hear an emergency over the voice – I mean, how different was that from people talking around me? But he just said yes and I didn’t have to explain my reasoning. The kids have been dying for me to turn on music though, and pestering me to ask the captains for permission because they have been sure I would receive it. Yesterday Sugarbelle asked and I received.

But what is this all about really? This form of management? A hundreds-of-year old ship management style… Who maintains it? The military, perhaps a few other tall ships. But other than knowing that the captain is in charge of the vessel – isn’t it high time that this organization did some thinking about modern day management? It seems crazy to me that I would be deterred, discouraged, from asking questions of my superiors. One crew member told me that since he got on board he had not received one word of encouragement or affirmation. Has anyone here even looked at a management book lately? It’s interesting to consider the balance – how much of the old could be thrown out and how much new leadership ideas could be tested and incorporated without losing the basic structure that is required to keep the ship afloat and ready for any potential situation.

I makes me think of the movie, White Squall.

Okay. Time to make the oatmeal. Then later today, samosas from the freezer with Indian Dahl and for dinner, either pita bread pockets – homemade – with feta and lettuce or pizza… I’m thinking pizza. Poor Captain Might didn’t get much to eat last night because we caught a Mahi-Mahi and guess who made fish tacos?

I also made homemade butterscotch pudding with salt on top and grated chocolate for pretty (inspired by a similar version that I ate with Beth and Marc in Venice before my departure). In the morning there were two left over– and I know who at least one of the non-eaters was. But no matter; that just required someone to eat them this morning! Yummmmmy!

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