Sunday, November 16, 2008


Job Seeking

I'm still in Ft. Lauderdale and still without a permanent position. But I'm not phased. Tough times for sure. When a trillion dollars disappears off the face of the earth it comes out of someone's pocket. And those are the deep pockets of people who typically own yachts and the first stop loss is to cut out toys or at least put things on hold. With the whole world in recession and the stock markets bottom still not found things are braking hard.The boat show was huge as usual, but the general consensus is that business is way down. Although I spoke with the builder of my last boat and he said they were doing pretty well. They are an Italian though so I guess the dollar strengthening versus the euro allows more wealthy Americans to buy their goods where as a few months ago it was out of the question. It seems though that things will be tight for while until it all stabilizes.

The other factor handicapping crew at the moment is the phenomenal influx of "newbies". For years now the yacht industry has been a "crews market" with not enough good crew to fill the boats. Well word has obviously gotten out and the jig is up. Experienced crew are caught in the Lauderdale Blizzard of '08. The crew agencies we use to find work are completely snowed under the avalanche of new candidates. While 'newbies' aren't necessarily competing for the same jobs as experienced crew, they are clogging up the whole system. At the moment it takes about two weeks just to get a meeting with a crew placement agent. Pretty crazy since crew agencies are springing up like mushrooms. At this rate soon there will be a crew agent for every crew member! A royal pain since in the past you would sign up with a couple of agents and take it from there. Now we all feel obligated to sign up with as many as possible to get better odds. I've had to start a database just to keep track of everything.

So all we can really do is rely on the old tried and true practice of networking. So we frequent the 'yachtie' gatherings and get togethers and repeat for the thousandth time "Do you know of any boats looking for a _____?" The upside is I've met a lot of new unemployed friends. The same faces appear so many times that you feel you've known them all for years.

All we can do is plug away and wait for things to loosen up. People are running out of money, especially the unfortunate 'newbies' who were told and truly thought they would have a glorious new job in a matter of days rather than weeks. People will start giving up and move on. Time is on my side. Truth be told I haven't brought out the big guns yet. I never run with the herd and I definately don't like running against it so I've been bidding my time, putting out the feelers and letting the dust settle. Last Saturday we had a sort of reunion with Gloria's Sun "family" at the China Grill which is a chic restaurant/club. The food was very good (should be for the outrageous price), but the music was too loud. Anyway there was the owner and former captains, stews, engineers, managers and others. A couple of days later Michael called to say if I wanted, to come and stay on the boat. The next day he called and invited me to the club, but I was out with others and apparently he fell asleep anyway. A couple of days later he called to ask me if I wanted to do a trip to the Bahamas with him. So since I'm not doing anything I said yes. He has a new captain who is happy to have someone onboard who knows the boat well since he hasn't taken it out on a real voyage yet. So from Nov 24th- Dec 1st I'll be in the Bahamas.

Tomorrow I'm off to a barbeque (more networking) and next week hopefully I will finally have the opportunity to charm some crew agents face to face.