Accounting is my chosen profession, while many would consider it a safe and boring career it has many times throughout the year that are quite hectic. The most obvious being tax time. While not all accountants are in the tax field, demanding timelines and the need for accurate figures is pretty consistent across the accounting field. Many jobs require meeting deadlines and meeting client expectations – all things that can cause a whole lot of workplace stress. So how does scuba diving factor into improving your career and deadlines at work?
A few of the obvious benefits of scuba diving are exploring nature, new hobby with new friends, and incredible experiences. Scuba diving can be a very rewarding experience as long as you know what you are doing. Well, it wasn’t until I started taking my PADI open water diver certification courses that I realized the unexpected benefits of scuba diving. There are three things that I believe scuba diving can do to benefit your career.
- Stress Management – I believe scuba diving can help improve your stress management to help you make better decisions under pressure especially when those dreaded timelines are knocking on the door. To become a certified open water diver you need to complete classroom training as well as closed water training (in a pool). In the closed water training, you go over your scuba skills such as clearing a flooded mask, switching air sources (regulators), as well as taking gear on and off. The skills I just mentioned are practiced at the bottom of a pool and then tested a final time in an open body of water such as a quarry or reef. However, the final testing is done in deeper water, 20-30ft. These skills are taught in case you run into a worst case scenario or you just simply need to clear out your mask so you can see and enjoy the beautiful reef. Since some of these skills are taught to deal with worst case scenarios such as running out of air it is important to test your ability in a more controlled environment. When practicing a scenario where you run out of air, let me tell you from experience it requires a calm and concentrated mind to take your air source out of your mouth at 30 feet below the surface and then wait on your diving buddy to swap their air sources and give you air before you can breathe again. I remember first hand as we were demonstrating this skill to our instructor another student did not remember to clear their diving buddy’s air source (regulator) being given to them before breathing through it and took in a mouth full of water. Taking this water in their mouth caused them to panic and flail while attempting to surface too quickly. Luckily, the instructor was able to slow the diver down to make a safe ascent and provide the diver with an air source. The step missed by the diver was simply to press a button that cleared the regulator of water which would have taken only a second to complete, however, it was a necessary step in the process.
The reason I bring this story up is because while you are diving it is important to remain calm and concentrated. Completing the open water diver course taught me a ton about remaining calm under pressure because it forces you to be calm and collected as well as focus on the task at hand while you are under pressure. A lot of this boils down to controlling your breathing just with scuba diving being the environment that you learn this skill. While diving you need to regulate your breathing to be nice and relaxed just as you would out of the water. Breathing too shallow will affect the oxygen to your brain and can cause a situation to be more intense than it needs to be. Quick shallow breathing can also affect your buoyancy within the water, putting you too close to the surface or the bottom. It can also shorten your dive time as you will go through your air quickly.
This controlled “scuba” breathing is a tool I use when the deadlines are knocking and the pressure is mounting. It has helped me regulate my stress in the workplace which has allowed me to make better decisions when the pressure is mounting. I think scuba diving is a great environment to develop controlled breathing.
- Networking – Scuba diving is a great chance to network with people. From talking to people on the boat ride to the dive spots to meals on live aboard dive trips to the people in your certification classes. There is an opportunity on almost every dive trip to meet someone and bonding over diving builds a lot of rapport. This kind of networking can help you find new clients or even your next job.
- New Hobby, New Side Hustle, or New Retirement Plan? – Scuba diving can be versatile unlike other extracurricular activities. Scuba diving can be a hobby that you look forward to, that makes working those two Saturdays last month bearable. It can be a form of new income by becoming a certified instructor and teaching classes at night or on the weekend. It can even be a way to retire a little earlier from your 9 – 5 job by working a few years into retirement doing something you love.
Scuba diving is not a cure all for improving your 9 – 5 career lifestyle, but it certainly can make it better. From stress management to networking to supplementing your income – it can add value to your life. I highly encourage you to give it a try. Most local dive shops offer an extremely reasonable discover scuba one time intro class that lets you get a taste of what scuba diving is. Give scuba diving a chance to improve your 9 -5.