My office today is at 32 000ft, on an AirSeychelles plane, heading out to do some work for a few days in – you guessed it – the Seychelles. Travelling today made me think of all the people heading over to Europe for the first time, looking for work on their first yacht. Each person will have their reasons, hopes and goals that they carry with them. Some will get a job in days while others will struggle. I have the privilege of helping some of them prepare through my training, and I hope that I have in some small way prepared them for what is to come and instilled in them the correct mind-set for the industry.
Saying that, is there really such a thing as a perfect “anything” in life? To me, it all comes down to your take on life and circumstances – how you act and react to things. Where am I going with this, you ask?
Make sure you have the right one when it comes to working on board a yacht.
I recently interacted with a young lady who is going over to work; her parents were not sure if it was the right choice for her and so asked my advice on the situation. They all came to see me, as is often the case, to discuss what this “yachting thing” is all about. So, they all arrived, and we began. I gave an outline of what would be involved, courses, looking for work, what actual work would involve, etc. I then always make a point of asking the person why they want to get into the industry and what their goals are regarding it. She came across as confident, yet humble, with her head screwed on straight. Mom and dad were nervous about the monetary side of things and the fact that a job is not guaranteed. So, they decided to send her on my course to get the basics down.
To begin with, I thought my initial assessment was correct. Until the 2nd morning, when she arrived late with no apology, even after the 45 minutes we had spent discussing why being punctual is so important, especially in yachting. When I brought it up with her later, she was very defensive and argued with me that she was not late. I gently explained to her that according to my watch she was late, and that on board a yacht it is the watch of the person who is running things that counts. I suggested that once she boards a yacht, she sets her time set to that of her Chief Stews. And in any case, to always aim to be 5 minutes early. After that, I felt like I had a sullen teenager (she is in her twenties) in the course for the rest of the week. She wouldn’t answer questions, put no effort into the practical assignments, and complained constantly about how tired she was!
Safe to say, I didn’t award her her certificates. She was shocked when I told her! Funnily enough – or maybe unsurprisingly – her parents weren’t. She would have to come back to do some more training before I would, at no extra cost of course, my aim is to help people succeed in this exciting industry so I will do everything I can to achieve this with them. She did achieve her certificates I am happy to say and she is now day working successful with a few interviews lined up.
But this is a typical attitude that is seen among a lot of the people coming into yachting. I regularly hear complaints from senior crew about it. Ladies and gentlemen, you have to walk the walk when it comes to this industry, there is no place for people who are “too tired” to do their job properly, or “can’t be asked” to do it in the first place. Please make sure that if you are going to go yachting that you have the RIGHT attitude towards what you will be doing, and that you don’t have “an attitude”. It is HARD work with a capital H, you are going to be told when to eat, sleep, work and be allowed out. So, if you have a problem with being told what to do and when, then this is probably not going to be for you.
When contemplating your work ethic, ask yourself – would you like to work with someone like you? Would YOU give you a job? Think hard about what kind of image you are putting out there, because no-one HAS to give you a job. You have to prove you are worth giving a job too, and you still then have to work extra hard to prove that they made the right decision. You are your product – you need to make sure that people are not going to have buyer’s regret when they hire you.
This message may seem tough, but it is merely REALITY. The job IS tough. Be prepared for it. And on that note, I hope all the new, recently certified crew heading over are successful in your searches.
Good luck, go out there and be the crew member that a boat can’t afford to not have working onboard.