Follow the leader; be a team player; learn every day – and all of those types of things, right? Right.
In my nearly 40-year journey as a chef and hospitality specialist, I followed the encouraging nudge of a trusted friend to move into the megayacht industry. As a newbie, I paid my dues, starting at the bottom and under the authority and tutelage of people more than half my age.
I dove right in, eagerly listening, watching, learning and following the instruction of these young, hardworking professional yachties. There have been occasions when, with my years of experience, I have been called upon to offer advice or suggestions, but mostly I listen and I learn.
I had a brief encounter with a young lady named Melanie Smith. She was a stew on a yacht for which I had been called to come detail the galley. I did not know it at the time, but this yacht was for sale. It took me three days to detail and reorganize the galley. From day one, I learned that Melanie knew where things were located on the boat and I could depend on her for a quick reliable answer, if needed. I finished the job and 10 days later was called back by the captain and asked to come on board full-time to assist as second stew.
Sadly, Melanie had moved on to the owners’ new yacht, but her professional and impeccable ethics left a scent to follow. There had been a few hands in the cabinets between Melanie’s and mine, but I was able to undo the dismantling of Melanie’s efforts and recapture the lines. Although I will be 53 in August and Melanie cannot be a day over 20, I am following the lead of this young lady.
Follow the leader. It serves us greatly when we submit to authority, even if that person may not know how to do everything just right. I say help out and fill in the gaps. Be a team player. Meanwhile search for the best leader to follow, even in their absence. Stay respectful to authority. Everyone has some things they are very good at. Find/choose the right person, or people, to emulate and learn from. Be kind, and stay in integrity. Everything will work out for the best.
Thank you, Miss Melanie, for inspiring me to write this little message. I hope it helps someone out there who may be starting over or those who find themselves in a difficult spot. Make it work out for the best. It doesn’t have to be difficult. Only you can make that choice for yourself. It can be fun. Appreciate the people around you!
Victoria Wieszkowiak is a chef and spa technician who recently began work on yachts. Comments are welcome below.