Dayworking is not to be taken lightly as many crew have been hired based primarily on their dayworking performance. Despite how fantastic your CV is, we still want to see how you work, get to know your personality and see how you interact with our crew.
Dayworking is basically a long interview. Here is how to be a star and make them want you back again:
1. Be on time. When a dayworker is late, it not only shows a lack of commitment to the position that might be available, it is disrespectful to those doing the hiring and the rest of the crew. If you are going to be late, call well in advance and apologize.
2. Walk in fresh, in appropriate clothing and with a smile. Wear what the chief has specified or khaki skorts or shorts and a plain white T-shirt or polo. Take your shoes off before boarding the boat.
When you walk on board, it’s your defining moment. If you walk in looking messy, harried and lacking a smile, the chief might think that this is how you walk in every day, not a risk the chief is willing to take.
3. Take direction well. Don’t act like you know everything. Let the chief tell you what he/she would like you to do and how to do it. Every boat is different. Talking over the chief stew, captain, first officer or chief engineer is not only disrespectful, it shows a total lack of understanding of your role on board a boat. We want to see that you listen, take direction well and are intelligent enough to ask questions and execute the job easily and efficiently.
4. Show your personality but don’t make a scene. Making jokes, laughing loudly and being the center of attention while dayworking is a sign that you don’t have enough experience or awareness to work in a small space with other crew members.
This is where the crew live and work. Show that you can blend in by assessing the vibe on board and letting your personality shine within that framework.
5. Show respect and commitment. Address all crew with respect and courtesy. Say please and thank you. You are a guest on board, so allow the permanent crew their space and priority over things like the coffee and toaster. If you make a mistake, apologize sincerely right away and move on.
Always, lend a hand to help when the opportunity arises as this shows your character and potentially how you would add value to the crew if you were hired more permanently.
6. Pay attention to details. You need to show that you are detail-oriented person who takes pride in going above and beyond in any task you do. This does not mean taking excessive time to complete a task, however. The chief wants to see that you will be a perfectionist at everything you do because this is the level of quality we demand in this industry.
For example, say you are tasked to clean and organize the crew toiletry and linen cupboard. Someone worth hiring will take everything out of the cupboard, clean the cupboard with the appropriate cleaners, clean all toiletries, line them up neatly, take note of anything that is low in the closet, and fold all linen based on instructions from the chief.
This shows your ability to understand a task, your ability to listen, and the quality of the work you do. Organizing the linen and toiletry cupboard may seem like a small task, but it is a reflection of how you work. Make it count.
If you want to score extra points, straighten a runner when you’re walking by or anything else that shows how you will take care of the boat as if it were your own.
7. At the end of the day, say thank you. Tell the chief you really enjoyed working on board and meeting the crew. Thank the chief for the opportunity with a confident smile and handshake. Make sure to address and thank the captain if you have the opportunity. Follow up with a thank you e-mail later that day or the next day, even if you are not asked to come back.
Treat dayworking as if it were a job interview and show that you will be a pleasure to have on board. Remember, no one wants to work with someone who complains, doesn’t smile, causes drama, or disrespects the crew or the boat.
If you follow these tips, you will have passed the most crucial question the chief wonders: Does he/she have what it takes to be a fantastic, permanent crew member?
Angela Orecchio is a chief stew/purser on a 50m yacht and a health coach. She has a blog (The Yachtie Glow, www.angelaorecchio.com) dedicated to helping yacht crew be happy, healthy and successful on board. This column was edited for space. To read her entire entry, visit her blog. Comments are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.