Are you in the yachting profession for the love of it, the money or both?

Jun 15, 2015 by Rob Gannon

“The most beautiful fate, the most wonderful good fortune that can happen to any human being, is to be paid for doing that which he passionately loves to do.”  – Abraham H. Maslow

Most of us have heard a variation of Maslow’s quote. Doing what you love is the ultimate work experience. I wanted to lead off with his quote because of how beautifully he states it, but also to set what I hope can be a takeaway from this column. “The most beautiful fate, the most wonderful good fortune” sounds pretty good. Sounds like experiences in life we’d all sign on for.

I find the yachting industry an interesting mix of people; a global variation that have entered the industry from different places and experiences. Some have grown up around boats and the water and were naturally drawn to this life. They have the salt water in their veins.

Some come from other service industries, and some come with no experience at all. There are also those who come from some far-off port cities with little economic opportunities and jump at the chance for life at sea.

Whatever your story, if you have been in this yachting game for a while, you probably know why you’re here and how you feel about it.

Now, if you’re in yachting for the money and can flat out admit that, OK, no problem. The honest self-assessment is good. The conflict set-up in that case, however, can be an issue.

The conflict is: Can your attitude and performance hold up if money is the No. 1 motivator? If you don’t love or at least like what you do, how well will you be able to continue to perform? Will you become a complainer or malcontent who is just counting the days till your time is up? Will you start affecting other crew members’ attitudes? Maybe, but maybe not.

I’m sure there are many out there who can balance attitude and money motivation. Doesn’t making good money help with keeping a good attitude? It does, until it doesn’t. I have heard captains and crew say they didn’t care how much they were getting paid, they just wanted off a particular yacht. Stress, frustration and discomfort will move most of us, eventually. There may be some regret about leaving that money behind but that is usually more than balanced out by a strong sense of relief.

On the other side are those who are in yachting because they are, as Maslow states, “doing what they passionately love to do”. There are professionals in all types of work who really can’t see themselves doing anything else. They love what they do and feel they are right where they belong.

That doesn’t mean every day is a ball of fun, but with the challenges and ups and downs, they roll on, comfortable in their skin and fairly content. If the money wasn’t that good, they would probably still be there. Hopefully, in the middle of it all, they have moments of awareness and appreciation. With these folks, attitude is usually not an issue. You love what you do. Sure, some day-to-day stuff can still briefly upset or annoy, but it doesn’t linger, you know it’s just a small part of the big picture and you like the big picture.

What about those who fall into the “both” category; they love what they do and they are motivated by the money? Well, good for you. You’re in a pretty good place. In fact, you are probably the type to move up in the business. You know you love it and you also would welcome more responsibility and more money. You could be the ambitious type that many employers look for. Carry on.

So if you’re pretty much in this for the money and know it, do some soul searching and then some planning. You probably are not going to be in this profession very long. Think about what is your passion. Think about what you would really like to do. Save as much as you can and go do it.

Again, there is nothing wrong with jumping into this profession to make and save some money, then getting out, as long as your attitude and performance don’t suffer.

If you are in that “both” category, sail on. You will probably do well in this or any industry that you feel the same way about.

And if you are in this because you passionately love what you do, well done. Enjoy and thrive.

No matter which, enjoy the voyage.

Rob Gannon is a 25-year licensed captain and certified life and wellness coach. He offers free sample coaching sessions and can be reached at +1 772-486-5136 or Comments are welcome at