The Price of a High Stress Job

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Regardless of how The Oscars go this weekend, you will likely be hearing about the Maersk Alabama – but not because of its connection to the film “Captain Phillips”.

Earlier this week, two members of the staff of the container ship were found dead on board. It almost seemed like lighting hard struck twice in one place, especially considering that not even five years had passed since the 500-foot ship was hijacked by Somali pirates (as documented in “Captain Phillips”). This time, however, the staff members were not victims of a pirate hijack, rather victims of drug overdoses.

Jeffrey Reynolds and Mark Kennedy were found dead on board the ship as it was making its way through the Seychelles. Drug and needles were found alongside the men, both 44 years old and both former Navy SEALs, indicating a likely overdose.

Autopsies for the men are still in the works, and no official causes of death have been announced. However, speculation of the deaths have already sparked conversation, particularly about the price of a high stress job.

Careers and Drugs

There are hundreds of career paths available that are increasingly more stressful than your typical 9-5. While it can be hard to determine just why these two ship members were abusing drugs, many might speculate that the stress of working on a container ship could have contributed to it.

For example, those who work out on the ocean, whether it is for fishing purposes or cargo purposes, are often unable to see their families, friends, and loved ones. Not only that, but they are also removed from the normalcy of everyday life, and frequently put in situations where lives can be threatened (especially traveling through pirate-ridden waters and trying to manage unpredictable weather scenarios). Some might argue that the best way to get through these challenges of working at sea is to use drugs, especially if it helps numb the depression, fear and instability that they might be experiencing.

It is always important to know that regardless of the stressors that your job might bring, using drugs is never the answer – especially if you are working in a high stress environment where things such as communication and attention are frequently required. Therefore, if you are currently engaged in a high stress job, it is critical that you seek the proper therapy to help guide you through it, as well as develop a strong skills set that will keep you from utilizing drugs when the chips are down.

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