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Captains Reserve

Optimize Blog - August 4, 2010 - 0 comments

Regular readers of Zeitgeist will be familiar with our interest in the Discovery Channel’s series entitled “Deadliest Catch” and its vibrant portrayal of one of the world’s toughest jobs – crab fishing in the Baring Sea.
We have used it on occasion to provide context around determination, highlighting the fact that your job is probably not that bad when compared to deep water crab fishing. The series also pointedly demonstrates the importance of team work to get things done.
Earlier this year one of the main protagonists, Captain Phil Harris died at the age of 53 and this week saw the TV show producers air a tribute episode to a quite remarkable man.
Phil Harris started fishing on a crab boat with his dad after the passing of his mother when he was just 8 years old. At 17 he convinced another captain to let him work on a boat for free – he simply pestered the captain into submission which was a clear sign of his determination to succeed which remained with him throughout his life. At 21 he became captain of his own ship – even by fisherman’s tales a remarkable achievement.
Crab boat earnings in those early years allowed a great deal of scope to enjoy what the world had to offer and with money in his pocket Phil played hard to compensate for the working hard. Phil was into all things fast and furious – 3 Harley Davidson’s and a Corvette the tangible evidence.
The hard living, hard playing captain continued to live his life to the full but with scant regard for his health. A chain smoker and someone who would rely on caffeine to keep him awake for a 72 hour stretch, he knew he was pushing his luck. A final rewarding chapter opened up in his life as both his sons joined him on his boat, the Cornelia Marie. Phil was the epitome of a proud father and was genuinely overjoyed to have the opportunity to work with his sons and pass on some of his knowledge and skills.
During the sixth Opilio crab season of Deadliest Catch, Harris suffered a massive stroke on January 29, 2010 while harbored in St. Paul Island, Alaska. He was flown to Anchorage for surgery, and was placed in an induced coma. He awoke from the coma after his condition had improved but died from an intracranial hemorrhage on February 9, 2010.
Phil’s on-screen portrayal was littered with little sound bites of wisdom that we can all learn from and after all, if you can succeed in one of the harshest careers in the world, there are inevitably things we can learn, adopt and apply to our perhaps more mundane work experience.
We’re going to sign off this blog with our favorite, passed on to Phil from his father:
“You can let things happen…
You can make things happen…
Or you can wonder what the bloody hell happened…”

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