Have you thought much about next season and what position you’d like to be in? Would you like to move to a different yacht? Maybe you want to take on more responsibility and move up the ranks? Perhaps you’re thinking about a complete career change like moving into a different department and learning something new?
If you’re thinking of making the move, consider these questions:
1. What are your motives for moving?
If you want to move up but you find you’re not coping with the current amount of work or stress, you may need a little more time where you are. Remember that more responsibility can also mean more stress. Before you make the move up, you need to know how to manage your current job with the added pressures of yacht life (crew dynamics, the physicality of the job, the long hours etc.) If you want to switch to a different department, take a careful look at your motives: Do you want a chef’s position because you’d rather be peeling potatoes than making beds? Or do you want to be a chef because food is where your passion lies? Move for the right reasons or you may find the grass was no greener on the other side.
2. What existing skills can you build on? What opportunities exist?
Take a look at your current skill set and identify what you can do to build on this and develop your career. Perhaps you’re a deckhand with an aptitude for engineering – would a sidestep into the engine room take your career further? Perhaps you’re a stewardess with a keen interest in cooking – would you rather be in the galley than waiting on the guests? Or perhaps you’re a Second Stew whose Chief Stew is leaving and you are keen to take over her role. After identifying your skills and interests, take a look at the opportunities to learn and grow in those areas. Figure out what experience you need in order to move into your next position and do your research by talking to other crew members who are already in that position to ensure you fully understand what is involved.
3. What is the reality? (I.e. Certifications and employer expectations)
Each department on board has its own list of qualifications. If you want to move into a different department or a higher position, find out what is required in order to be certified and what courses are available. Some yachts have a budget for crew training; find out if your yacht could shoulder some of the costs. And be sure you can manage the workload and meet expectations in your new role. For example, I worked with a senior stewardess who wanted to move into a position as crew chef/stewardess position on a large yacht. Through my own experience I knew it would be challenging to manage both responsibilities and I advised her accordingly. It was a real eye-opener for her when she realised the extent of the workload and responsibility she would be taking on in that new role.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to step up or step sideways, as long as you stay realistic about what will be expected, what experience is needed and your ability to take on a different role.
Are you thinking about stepping up or sideways? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.