Blind from Dreaming of Living the Dream
It sucks balls.
We dream about living the dream but once we leave the training center after our divemaster or instructor course reality kicks in.
The job market is not for the faint-hearted and there is nobody anymore who gives us the teaching approach of praise, improve, praise. Nobody tells us every day how great we are doing like in the GoPro trainings.
Funny thing is that most new dive pros want to get started so badly that some take any dive job desperate as they are without looking deeper into the workplace they put themselves into.
What is happening
I read posts and get personal messages about situations where girls get fired because they refused a threesome with a dive shop manager, standards are not even a topic and a dive company has dozens of instructors as staff-turnover in a single season.
Instructors get forced to teach courses from associations they are not certified for, promised accommodations turn out to be a shack of plywood and tin roof and no wifi but sharing a bathroom with ten others.
This is a short summary of what I get to hear every month through my website and Facebook Group.
Most of us are blind from dreaming of living the dream.
We have seen thousands of stunning underwater videos and images which make it seem like our daily life will look like this. In the training centers we sit in fancy classrooms with flat screens and everybody takes care of us.
It can possibly create a completely twisted expectation from working in diving. Don’t get me wrong, if I would be an instructor trainer I would want to have my trainees in the best possible teaching environment as well.
There is nothing wrong living in a plywood shack and sharing the toilet with ten others either IF we know that before we relocate to this workplace and start living there.
But if we don’t even talk about it (that’s what mostly happens) and have the wrong expectations disappointment kicks in. And not just a bit in most cases.
Don’t expect help
What about the cases of getting fired because of refused sexual activities, getting forced to teaching courses we are not certified for?
What many are not aware about is that most of us take a dive job in tropical areas. In this areas there are often no or not many laws in place which protect foreign workers.
On top of that many dive jobs are illegal for many reasons.
In case of troubles with an employer guess what is reality:
The (mostly) new dive pro is new to that country, the language and probably does not know many people locally.
The dive shop is there since much longer, knows the local law better, is maybe even a buddy with the local police officer and has many friends around.
Guess who gets the short end of the deal at the end if you are in dispute?
The new dive pro can do mostly little to nothing even if all seems obviously unfair, unsafe or even outrageous.
What to do
Ask the right questions to the right people BEFORE you agree to a dive job.
If you are a new dive pro you probably think now:
How the hell should I know what to ask for? I have never been working as a dive pro. Let alone that I have never been working in foreign country.
Skip your daily YouTube and Facebook dopamine kick for a bit and focus on your own safety for a moment.
Learn all the in’s and out’s on how to identify a fair dive job in a foreign country.
You can ask more experienced instructors how they ended up with dodgy employers and learn from it. Ask many other divemaster and instructor what to ask for in detail.
The six main topics I always suggest to ask about are
- the dive shop
- the customers
- your responsibilities
- staff/working conditions
- visas and other paperwork
Invest some time into that research because later on you will be very happy to not be the one at the dinner table talking about your horrible experiences.
Very often it is also simply about having the right expectations towards a dive job. Some details about working/living conditions are not that bad if we know those details before agreeing to a dive job.
Stop day dreaming and realize that any diving association (PADI, SSI, …) is a training organization, not a workers union or anything alike.
There is no governing body, association or organization out there that helps you in case of trouble. But you can be self sufficient knowing the right bits and pieces about a dive job and a company before you go for it.
I do really care about your safety. That is one of the main reasons why Scubacareer.net exists. I want to equip you guys with the right knowledge to land a fair and safe dive job right out of your GoPro training.
You should have fun actually living the dream.
I am burning to hear your question or experience in the comments below!