Management Lessons Learned From Watching "Deadliest Catch"

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I became of a fan of Discovery Channel's "Deadliest Catch" a few years ago and it is one of the few shows I plan on watching (I'm still to cheap to buy a DVR).  I'm continually amazed at the management styles displayed by the captains.  Apparently, to successfully run a crab boat, this is what you need to do:

  1. Work your crew for 48 hours or more straight.
  2. Belittle, demean, yell and terrorize everyone beneath you.
  3. Constantly smoke cigarettes - both you and your crew.
  4. Keep your crew on deck in 24 foot seas and beyond.

The deck boss and more senior deck hands then apply those rules to how they "supervise" those below them in rank.

Seriously, this show seems to show working conditions from another era.  Last night's episode showed one of the captains tearing apart a deck hand for what to me seemed like a break down in communication.  After that incident, another deck hand said something like "Good thing it is 2009, because if it was 1709 and that happened someone would have been thrown overboard."  That isn't exactly what was said but you get the idea.

First, I can't believe working conditions like that are allowed to exist.  I'm guessing OSHA has no power on a crab boat fishing 200 miles away from a port.

Second, I can't imagine running my business like that.  Period.  Because if I did, I'm sure our staff would think it is time to look for a new place to ply their trade.

That being said, I look forward to next week's episode.


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