This is part one in a series of interviews I’ll be doing for a new segment on Budget and the Beach called Cool Careers. You always hear how you should follow your passion and do what you love. I happen to know a few people who I think are doing just that. Maybe you’ll get some inspiration for your own career.
I’d like to introduce you to my friend Megan. Megan is also the co-founder of the food blog Beauties & the Feast.
Megan and I met about five years ago (ish) through beach volleyball. She is super bubbly, fun, and has thick curly blonde locks that I’ve always been incredibly envious of. She is also one of the most adventurous people I’ve ever met.
Several years ago Megan did what a lot of people would probably love to do, but don’t have the guts to follow through. She quit her regular job and embarked on an adventure to find meaningful and fun work, while getting paid to travel and live in unique places.
What is your job right now?
Chief Stewardess on a motor yacht
What or how do you get paid?
Typically a monthly salary with an annual contract. The reason you can save money yachting is you don’t pay for rent, food, basic toiletries, or uniforms.
How did you get your current job?
I had lots of experience working in fine dining & dude ranches. I have always loved hospitality and literally have had jobs in the industry (waitressing, cooking, entertaining, bartending, etc.) since I was 15. I was really unhappy at my sales job and wanted to quit, so I researched jobs that would provide travel. My cousin is a Captain on yachts and took the time to send me an in-depth e-mail on how to get started. It took me a year and half after the e-mail to actually pursue it. I booked a one-way plane ticket, the class I needed to get started, and left for Fort Lauderdale.
What kind of training does your job require?
It requires a class called STCW (The Standards of Training, Certification, & Watchkeeping). It is essentially a safety class needed to work on yachts. You do have to have experience as a Chief Stewardess in serving, bartending, and housekeeping. Depending on the yacht, you may need additional certifications. For example, I have a Powerboat Level II certification so I can drive the tender (small boat that is on the big boat).
I had worked in technology sales in LA for almost 9 years. I moved to Hermosa Beach (in California) after college and worked for Xerox for almost 3 years. From there, I worked at two other companies selling a variety of technology products. I had been a “weekend warrior” for a long time and was ready for change!
What made you decide to take this leap?
I lost my job and had my “thrisis.” *editors note: in case you wondered what thrisis is it’s “thirties crisis.” I decided to travel/work for a year while I figured out what I wanted to do next. My terms for my year “off” was not to make decisions based on money or advancement. I did have to “work” because living in LA I was unable to save much, but made a point of not looking at salaries at jobs. I wanted enough to cover basic bills but was going to set aside my long term goals for that year. I worked in Montana and Wyoming at guest ranches. The Montana guest ranch was owned by the Nature Conservancy and was in the mountains away from everything. The one in Wyoming was a snowmobile lodge in the winter when I worked. My year expired and I had to decide to either go back to the “real” world, or keep trying for something different. I flew out to Fort Lauderdale to make it work. I have been working on yachts for over 2 years.
What is the best part of your job?
Travel (while I work crazy hours that nobody believes :)). *editor’s note: she’s referring to how much crap I give her for seeing all her leisure pictures on FB. It is pretty amazing to wake up each morning and being someplace you have never been before. I love docking and coming into a new port and not knowing anything about it.
What is the worst part of your job?
Not working a typical schedule and being “on call.” This makes it very hard for friends & family as well as scheduling any personal traveling.
I keep waffling! I do really enjoy it and it is a great fit for my personality and skill set, but I want a dog! You live with the people you work with and my current accommodations are TINY. I do think eventually I will be ready to have a “normal” schedule and have a house, dog, & garden. I just have to figure out what kind of job I will do when I am done.
Any funny/crazy stories you want to share about something you’ve experienced with the line of work you’re in?
We had dogs on board and we would wipe their feet with baby wipes when they come on board, which I know if you’re not in the yachting world this seems extreme, but we don’t wear shoes (or they have to be boat shoes), and all the details of the interior are usually very expensive and have to be perfect. We got a new First Mate and we were super busy, so I handed him the dogs to take out and the baby wipes. We leave the baby wipes by the stairs to get on so they don’t track anything on. The Captain comes in and says “I just saw the First Mate walking down the dock with the two dogs and baby wipes down the dock.” He thought he had to “wipe” the dogs! I still laugh so hard because it was a very busy event and the only grass was across from the beer tent. I am sure all these people thought, “they wipe their dog’s butt?” Pretty funny.
Have you ever had a job where you got paid to travel? If you could travel anywhere for work, where would you want to go?