A Day in the Life of a Dive Instructor Vs A Day in the Life of an Office Worker

Reading this from the office, I wouldn’t blame you for seething with jealousy at the thought of how different your day is compared to the life of a dive instructor in Thailand!

Waking up to bright blue skies, turquoise waters and a day of teaching wide-eyed backpackers to discover a whole new world… is this the job of dreams?

So what is it really like getting paid to live in paradise? Here, we compare a regular day in the life of a Western office worker alongside a regular day in the life of Ludo, a dive instructor at Big Blue Diving, Koh Tao, Thailand…


7:00 Hit alarm snooze just enough times to promote mild panic when realising the time. Prise self out from under warm duvet and into cold bathroom – can see breath. Let cat in.
7:00 Woken by the sound of the ocean hitting the rocks below the cliffs where the bungalow sits. Leap out of bed, excited to see the sea! Greeted by beige dog.

7:15 Iron shirt, put on grey suit, rub a bit of mud off work shoes with kitchen paper.
7:15 Grab boardies and search for teeshirt with least sun-markings. Set off barefoot.

8:20 Fight with wind for right to keep umbrella from going inside out.
8:20 Fight with dog for space on moped.

9:10 Late again – after 45 minute commute and long queue in coffee shop – boss tapped his watch on way past, got my review this week. Put broken brolly in bin. Met by 62 unread emails and an empty stapler.
9:10 Bang on time! Five minute commute including stop off for iced coffee. Honk moped horn at mate, meeting him for dinner later. Pick up today’s dive pupils. Met by six smiling faces eager to learn.

10:00 Team meeting in boardroom. Spend whole time staring out the window at the poor weather wishing I was on holiday – today is a debrief from a recent marketing project.
10:00 Teaching academics in outdoor beachside restaurant area. Students start their exam – today is safe diving, the under water world, dive tables and computers.

CourseStudents learning in outside beachside restaurant area

11:00 Elevensies at my desk of a cereal bar from the machine in the corridor whilst checking Facebook and avoiding eye contact with my manager.
11.00 Quick lunch from the noodle soup hawker stand outside the dive school, while preparing boats and equipment and chatting to co-workers about dive conditions.

12:30 Collect lunch from M&S, kill 30 minutes mosying at sweaters in Next before returning to desk. Take detour via tradesman’s lift to avoid going past boss’ office. Take new intern to security office for her pass – nervous small talk.
12:30 Afternoon boat leaves, equipment set-up, dive briefings conducted in the sun overlooking stunning scenery. Coffee, fresh fruit and sun-bathing while boat tours around island. First time students have experience of real diving – much excitement!

WhalesharkSwimming with a whaleshark

17:00 Back in boardroom – boss grabs me in corridor – wants to meet with me and new intern. Coffee is cold when I return to my desk.
17:00 Back on land. Wash equipment, meeting back in the restaurant to log our dives and talk about day. Cold beer with students to celebrate their success.

18:00 Go to collect dry-cleaning but can’t find ticket, have to return tomorrow with elusive ticket.
18:00 Go to collect washing – can’t change 1,000 baht, will pay them double next week.

19:00 Remove tie and head out to Wetherspoons for curry club and game of pool. Spend 20 minutes finding empty table and grabbing enough chairs for mates.
19:00 Nip home to throw on clean shorts and teeshirt. Catch sunset on balcony before heading out to MOOV to meet mates for tapas and table tennis.

22:30 Bed time – check all doors and windows are locked. Knackered after full day at my desk. Thank goodness it’s Saturday tomorrow – really need some time off to clean the house and go to the supermarket.
22.30 Bed time – push doors and windows fully open for cool breeze. Knackered after full day of working and diving. Early rise tomorrow for morning dives – tomorrow is Saturday but on Koh Tao ”weekend” doesn’t exist – you don’t really need days off when your work is your hobby!

If you feel inspired to start your diving journey? Check out the Big Blue Diving Website here.

Big Blue Diving Staff (& beige dog!)Big Blue Diving Staff (& beige dog!)

This article contains sponsored links.

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3 thoughts on “A Day in the Life of a Dive Instructor Vs A Day in the Life of an Office Worker

  1. Ken says:

    I read this with rolling eyes and here is why. I spent a week on Koh Tao interviewing local dive shop owners and environmentalist and the island is toxic. Koh Tao is so small and so polluted its easy to get bored. Its easy to now want to swim when raw sewage is discharged into the ocean as well as the cigarette butts of young tourist (mostly French and British). There is much less marine life too! I snorkeled around the entire island and only saw a few species of fish. In fact, many divers living on Koh Tao don’t even like swimming there because its like a public swimming pool… an empty mass of water with a white film of sweat, piss, and debris on top. The island is corrupt politically and the people working (80% illegally employed Burmese and ~10% responsibility apathetic Westerners) there only care about making money to extend their permanent vacation there. I say this because as tourist, we need to put our trash in trash cans and quit smoking cigarettes. Everything ends up in the ocean and I’m sure you don’t want to spend $2000 to swim in a tropical toilet.

  2. Mumun says:

    I love this comparison. It’s so different to the usual type of yapping on how good life can be as a dive instructor. Brr.. I can see my breath just imagining the cold mornings. I live in Indonesia and I don’t like cold days.
    Hey, just a thought, ever thought of writing the downs of being a dive instructor, if any?

    • Ken says:

      Maybe a lack of purpose. Not to be cynical, but the novelty of island life can fade quick and can be compared to living in the country side with no malls, no street lights, no other cities to visit. Its just you and that tiny island… think of it like house arrest. That’s how I felt when I stayed there and I’ve lived in Thailand for over a year. I prefer to live in a small town that is near the big city ( bangkok) for weekend retreats. oh! you also have to deal with rude ass European tourist! what’s worst are the male tourist who freak out during their dive training and get mad at the instructor to save face. lol.

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