What do you want to be when you grow up? - A Rock Star!

I wanna be a rock star when i grow up!

This is a conversation I had with Wifebuddy the other evening; inspired by my recent(ish) decision that I would like a different job. At the ripe old age of 35 and 10 years of dedicated service, I have decided driving a truck is getting boring.

My job is non-stressful, but does require working night shift, lifting heavy stuff, it’s not particularly well paid, other truckers are morons, and it’s bloody repetitive.

Kerri’s job is the complete opposite; standard hours, doesn’t lift heavy stuff, is really stressful and gets paid lots.

Kerri may argue she doesn’t get paid enough, but that’s an entirely different debate. Thankfully it’s adequate to take me on frequent global diving holidays.

When I was at school we had a “careers tutor”; a terribly unapproachable woman you had to converse with regarding a possible career path.

We called her Fugly.

I attempted to explain to Fugly on numerous occasions that I wanted to be rock star, and was working ferociously on my songs.

Fugly was less than supportive and explained, in no uncertain terms, I would become a loser when I grew up; and should focus on accountancy, or apply for a job in the bank. My main concern was that every bloke in my year received the same advice; and I wasn’t convinced the world needed just so many accountants or bank tellers;

oh, the irony…

At no point did Fugly encourage me to do anything exciting with my life; cowboy, astronaut, stunt man, rock icon, porn star, reality TV celebrity or race car driver; none of them were on the ‘pathway to success’ poster in the careers room.

One final omission was The Scuba Instructor.

I imagine every diver, that becomes properly obsessed with scuba, considers becoming a professional scuba diving instructor. It's inevitable.

Upon completion of our PADI Advanced Open Water course, Wifebuddy and I continued to hang out with our instructor, helping with the diving school in return for free diving.

Looking back we got quite good value from it; free boat diving, free air, free tank rental and any gear we needed. All we had to do was show up at the pool once a week, tag along on the weekend dives to help kit-up the students and so forth.

Kerri demonstrating skills in the pool

This was splendid for a period of a few months, until the school finally imploded.

Without the dive centre we were left all alone in the big, bad scuba world, and opted to just go diving lots rather than continue training. For the next 2 years that’s exactly what we did. Perhaps if the school hadn’t disintegrated we may have progressed up the PADI Pro ladder; alas, we will never know.

Back to the here and now; I am still considering my career prospects.

In defiance of Fugly, I continue to play in a band [Honey For Christ], do some gigs, write and record music; generally enjoying the heavy metal life.

That said; 13 years in, my band is not particularly famous and I do need a ‘normal’ job to finance it.

Perhaps Fugly was right after all.

Drunk on roof of motor home - not a loser!

As Kerri and I pondered my job prospects I began to think about the scuba instructor thing once again.

Would I like to be a scuba instructor?

I have become friends with a number of instructors of many different levels. I can clearly see the work involved, and the personal qualities essential to becoming successful in a very competitive field.

Initially, the lifestyle of the full time instructor appears amazing; simply donning a wet suit now and again, perhaps teaching hot chicks a thing or two about surviving the deep blue, all placed against the back drop of a sun soaked paradise.

The reality seems quite different.

Scuba instructors never stop.

The phenomenon of social networking allows me to keep track of all my instructor chums every single move; it is mind boggling.

My facebook feed is littered with scuba instructors from all agencies; TDI, GUE, IANTD, PADI, BSAC; and from every corner of the globe.

Their status updates and tweets are all identical.

I don’t think i have what it takes, well, apart from the drunk bit; i have that in spades.

The lifestyle, the top brass of the scuba instruction world adhere to, is insane.

I am fully aware they get to travel to really cool countries and get to experience amazing dives, but the price is just too high for me.

I also couldn't cope with the stress.

Me? Stressed?

I listened to Clare Wilders (aka Divebunnie - an instructor in Egypt) explain a scenario where she had to aid a diver plummeting over a drop off in The Red Sea, when the elbow of his BCD separated.

I know a technical instructor who had to deal with a diver attempting to bolt to the surface from 100m.

These types of incidents can have fatal results if not managed correctly. Instructors are responsible for keeping people alive while they learn, and providing them with the necessary tools to ‘not die’ once on their own.

Why I can’t be a scuba instructor

  • I couldn’t cope with being away from Kerri, the cats or home on a regular basis
  • I don’t like airport food
  • I couldn't cope with being responsible for a divers life
  • The hours worked per week are crazy
  • Every time I don my drysuit it eats another few locks of hair - I'm too vain to be bald

Ultimately I have the utmost respect for scuba diving instructors, but I just don’t think I could do it.

When I really think about it; I’m too selfish. Scuba diving is mine. I want my diving to centre on Kerri and I; that’s when I enjoy it most. I would be too afraid of the apathy setting in if I did it for a living.

In conclusion I will not be training to be a scuba instructor, so all the future divers are safe for a little longer yet.

Now, where are the keys to my truck anyway?


  1. We don't do it for the money that's for sure - but 95% of the time, I am definitely doing it for the love of scuba and the love of teaching.
    The bolters, the herding of cats, the criers .. they don't come along all that often. When they do, there is something pretty special about being able to build their confidence and turn them into a better diver before the end of a weekend.
    Still .... there are some days when I just want to jump overboard with my camera and a stage and disappear behind a rock so they can't find me!

  2. No way! - All you dive instructors have loads of cash; i've seen your Tec 3 regs! :D

    I think it's one of those things you're drawn to. I enjoyed helping out at the pool and stuff, but ultimately i wasn't responsible and i did it when it pleased me.

    I don't like the idea of having to dive when i wasn't in the mood; although i can't imagine that ever happening!

    You guys have a tough job, and i'm glad you do it - otherwise there would be no divers out there.

    All hail the scuba instructor!

  3. Points one and two of "Why I Can't Be A Scuba Instructor" would surely also apply if the band became successful?

  4. Ah,

    I see where you're coming from, but you don't appreciate just HOW famous i shall become!

    I will be excessively rich and famous, therefore owning my very personal, private jet. As a result i shall simply bring Kerri along.

    I will also have a personal chef; no food problem.

    I'll get over missing the cats...



Thanks for commenting, I appreciate it!

Safe diving buddy.