Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Is "pirate" a viable career choice? On balance, yes.

I simply entered "pirate" into the AI Blog Post Image Generator and it returned this. I'm a fan.

(NOTE: I wrote this post in 2013. There have been several posts over the years that have made me laugh and no one else, and this is one of them. It's still probably not nearly as funny as I think it is, but it's Wednesday and I needed material, so...we're bringing this one back.)

The downside of being a pirate

  • The hours. It seems like sailing the seven seas is a hard job and requires a lot of long hours. Not a problem if you really love the work, but still...
  • Inordinate risk of on-the-job injury or death. There are a million ways to get hurt or get dead when you're a pirate. Like, for instance, when you try to take over another ship, you could get a sword through the gut. Or the captain could make you walk the plank. And then there's the apparently ever-present risk of scurvy. I'm in corporate communications and have never known one of my colleagues to die of scurvy, so score one for my side.
  • Surly co-workers. If the movies and television are any indication, pirates as a group aren't the friendliest lot. The experts will tell you that workplace relationships are important, but I just don't see Black Bart standing around the water cooler talking about last night's ball game.
  • High chance of alcohol poisoning. If you're not on duty on a pirate ship, you're drinking. And usually you're drinking rum. I had a bad experience with rum more than 30 years ago and have tried to avoid it ever since. No way I make it even a week if I'm forced to drink rum.
  • Little chance for advancement. I'm not sure how the org chart looks on a typical pirate ship, but it seems that any position besides captain or first mate is less than desirable. There's just no potential for promotion for most of the crew.

The upside of being a pirate

  • The travel. You get to see a lot of Caribbean islands if you're a pirate. And if you break the ship's rules, you'll get to know one particular island really well when they strand you there. But seriously, no endless days at a desk for you, me bucko!
  • The potential payoff. If there's one thing pirates live for more than rum, it's gold. And they tend to find it at an uncanny rate. Assuming your captain is a fair man who evenly distributes the booty once it has been claimed, you're in for a handsome salary. Note, however, that income equity is still not a notable feature of many pirate ships.
  • The wenches. There are, of course, virtually no women on pirate ships. But when you hit one of those exotic ports of call to patronize a local watering hole, you will almost certainly be waited upon by a busty server in an off-the-shoulder white top. And after months at sea, this will not be an unwelcome sight.
  • The status. Pirates are much cooler than, say, accountants. Or corporate communicators, for that matter. For all the risk of death and dismemberment, there is a certain cachet in being able to say offhandedly at a party, "Yeah, I'm a pirate." And you don't have to look like Johnny Depp to enjoy this little social perk.
  • The movie rights. Speaking of Johnny Depp, being a pirate means there's an excellent chance some Hollywood producer is going to want to make a movie about you, or at least he'll want to cast you in a movie, which is just as good. Pirate movies never go out of style.


If you can endure the constant specter of death and the poor hygiene of your shipmates, then being a pirate is a solid and even admirable career choice. You'll need to make sure you have no moral qualms about killing innocent seaman on passing merchant vessels in order to steal their worldly possessions. But really, once you get past that, everything else is cream cheese.

No comments:

Post a Comment