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Andrea, Chief Stewardess, 38

I promised myself I wouldn’t do another season in yachting, but somehow summer’s practically here and I’ve made no move whatsoever to leave the yacht I’m on. I know yachting doesn’t make me happy anymore—it’s been mostly great but I’m in my late 30’s now and it’s really wearing thin on me and I need a better work-life balance. I don’t know if it’s fear holding me back, as I’ve got some ideas but no solid plan for what I want to do next. I’ve been in yachting fifteen years— I finished university and then fell straight into yachting so I don’t have a professional career behind me. Somedays I think I should just do another year or two for the money, and other days I get frustrated at not taking any action – I’m starting to feel like my life is slipping through my fingers and I don’t have a handle on it. My brain is a constant rollercoaster at the moment as I try and make a decision. Do you have any advice on how to get out of yachting in a way that sets me up professionally for the next stage of my life? 

The Crew Coach

Great question, and one that I think a lot of crew can identify with.

It’s not surprising you’re finding yourself hesitating and agonising over your decision, as you’ve been in the yachting industry the majority of your adult life, which means leaving it will be a big step out of your comfort zone. I’m a great believer in expanding your comfort zone through stretching yourself with new challenges and experiences, and I think the fact you recognise yachting has run its course for you is a clear indicator that change is on the horizon and you are probably more ready for it more than you know. 

When you are feeling a sense of overwhelm around making a decision I would start off by writing a list of pros and cons in relation to choosing to stay and choosing to leave the industry. You may find that after completing your cost-benefit analysis that it’s even possible that the best course of action is to stay in yachting until you have worked through the process of setting up your transition to land.

The questions that you may want to ask yourself when determining the pros are:

  • What are the main benefits of me staying or leaving?
  • What could be a favourable outcome as a result of you making that decision?
  • What could you accomplish once you have made your decision?
  • How will this decision contribute to your career goals?
  • How does it impact others in your life?

Questions you may want to ask yourself when determining the cons

  • What are the risks associated with this decision?
  • What are you giving up or missing out on?
  • What challenges does the position present, and could you overcome them?

You say you’ve got some ideas but no clear plan, which is probably one of the reasons you are reluctant to act. By weighing up your pros and cons you will gain more clarity on what you really want and what will make you the happiest. Our brains are actually hard-wired to protect us from uncertainty and risk, so this is very natural. In order to get some clarity and purpose about your plan to leave yachting, the first step is to try and drill down into what you really want out of life.

If you quit now with no solid plan of what to do next, there’s a good chance you’ll just fritter away the summer, churning through your savings, or perhaps getting into a job you don’t really want because you’re lacking clear direction. I promise you, there’s no quicker way to end up straight back in yachting – but with a sadder looking bank balance! 

1. Brainstorm

What do you value? Why? What do you think will make you happy, and give you a sense of achievement when you look back on your life? What core talents do you have? Take these free VIA strength analysis and 16 personalities test to learn more about yourself.  

In my create a career that you love course, we look at harnessing your strengths and skills into a career that brings you joy and meaning. What we address in the course is to:

  • develop your personal and professional goals as well as a plan for achieving them
  • planning and developing your exit strategy
  • gain a deeper understanding of your capabilities and how you can leverage your strengths to make an impact bringing a deeper sense of fulfilment and purpose in what you do
  • discovering your ‘Why’/ your career purpose
  • feel inspired and confident about your future
  • discover career opportunities that you will love

2. Fit your career to your values.

Once you’ve established your values and core skills, look at the career ideas you already have and see how they fit with those values. If they don’t fit or you don’t even know what your potential career options are, don’t worry this is all figure-outable. I always encourage crew to plan their exit strategy while they have got a stable job, so you have no need to feel rushed or stressed while reaching your decision.

3. Come up with a strategic plan on how you’re going to achieve your new career goals.

  • Develop SMART goals. Goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. 
  • Ask yourself are your goals in line with your values?
  • What’s REALLY important to you as a leader – will this goal help you achieve more of that?
  • Are the goals something YOU truly want, or are they something you think you SHOULD have or SHOULD be doing? If it’s a SHOULD, it may be someone else’s dream…
  • When you think about your goal does it give you a sense of deep contentment or ‘rightness’, happiness and/or excitement? These are good signs that it’s a healthy goal.
  • If you could have the goal RIGHT NOW – would you take it? Identifies potential issues.
  • How does this goal fit into your life/lifestyle? Think time/effort/commitments/who else might be impacted?

4. Consider how your yachting skills can transfer to the ‘real world’.

There is no industry quite like it – working AND living together 24/7. You have a developed a unique set of soft skills that many other employees have yet to develop. Think about how you can translate these attributes into a role that will make you one of a kind!

5. Get your finances in order.

For many, the most frightening aspect of leaving yachting is leaving that lovely disposable income behind. However, we sometimes forget there are plenty of people earning a lot of money on land—and that we can be one of those people if we just plan our careers right. Perhaps you’re actually ok with earning less money, but the key is in knowing how long the money you have now will last, and how to get it to work for you. A discussion with a financial adviser is a great course of action here to feel like you’re in control of your money. It will also help to have a budget you stick to while looking for work or are wanting to start your own business.

6. Have a discussion with a recruiter, career coach or business mentor.

Things start to feel exciting (and possible!) when you talk to qualified people outside yachting about your plans. If you’re planning to enter the workforce, schedule a chat with a professional so you can find out what’s out there, what it will pay, and what you’ll need to do to become a sought-after candidate. If you’re thinking of setting yourself up for success and are looking for the guidance and support from a career coach then this is something I can help you with. If you are interested in learning why more crew are choosing to invest in their professional development please refer to this blog

It would be a pleasure to help you in making the right career decisions that will save your time and money and get you the results that you are looking for. To book your complimentary discovery call, please book a time with me here