Too Close for Comfort?

Jan 6th 11
By Lucie Ferrer

Whether or not you’ve had a rough season guest-wise, we all love it when we get a friendly bunch on board. You can hear a collective sigh of relief; this week we aren’t dealing with high-maintenance lunatics, but apparently normal, friendly, reasonable human beings. The question is: is there a limit to how close you can safely get before you enter the dangerous grey area between guest and crew?

When guests want to know all the inside scoop about what goes on in crew life, it can be flattering, but ends up becoming an invasion of what very little privacy crew have – at the best of times. When the Facebook friend requests start to come in, crewmembers can feel there’s nowhere left to hide. Even though the owner’s or guest’s intentions might be good, this could open a can of worms, not to mention all of your photos and personal details on their computer screens.

By the same token, most crew wouldn’t want to risk offending guests or owners by ignoring them. It’s the proverbial: rock meet hard place. Luckily, there are privacy settings on Facebook and other social networking sites that allow you to add people to groups and set privacy settings for said group: the people who aren’t allowed to see everything.

Of course, it’s great to have a good relationship with guests and owners. Often, they can open doors outside the yachting world for crew, if and when they ever decide to leave it. However, it warrants remembering that things can get a little awkward when the usual divisions are wiped away and crew are treated as equals. When boundaries between owner/guest and crew blur it can be easier to lose sight of the usual hierarchical norms and unintentionally overstep the mark.

One crewmember told the tale of how the charter guests insisted on treating the crew like members of their family. They ate every meal together and the family took an interest in all of the crewmembers, promoting the “we’re all family here” vibe. However, the relationships went down in flames and the guests became the guests from hell when one crewmember made a joke that fell flat and offended one guest, albeit unintentionally. Being put firmly back in your place and demoted from “family status” to “barely fit to serve” is a hard fall to take.

As unnatural as it may seem at the time, crew can’t afford to forget the fact that no matter what the owners or guests may say, we will never be at their level. We’re the crew, they’re the guests. At the end of the day they’ll always be the ones wearing the trousers. If you get too close and the relationship turns sour it could cost you your job.

Moral of the story: make the most of having friendly guests, but don’t lose sight of the line or there’s a chance you’ll cross it.

 

Related Topics:

Staying Sane with Kids on Board

Tears, Tantrums and Flying Crockery

Alcoholics on board






Rating  Average 5 out of 5

1 Comments
  • The FB issue has finally started to show its face (pardon the pun). As Lucie mentioned, depending on your pictures etc, you may want to stay away from giving your FB info out. Crew generally may want to think twice about posting alcohol related comments or pictures on FB with their workplace (yacht) in the background. Time flies and that can all to soon come back and bite you.

    If guests really want to stay in touch, think about exchanging e-mail addresses, twitter or linkedin AC info. "We are all Family here" maybe fine, but understand, how their family grew up, may well be a galaxy away from how yours did. Try looking at this (family approach) like meeting the in-laws for the first time, you want to make a good impression, not become the star.

    Also you may consider as a crew in taking the time to understand each other’s personalities a bit more. This way you can help each other out if one of you gets singled out as “a friend” by a guest, or see the writing on the wall before another crew member makes the mistake of telling the “joke that fell flat”!

    Keep relationships professional, after a second charter or second week with the same people, go with your instincts, being a little cautious and guarded is not a bad thing, remember they are paying your wages, and they are on vacation, not you. It may be your home but when you are paying in the 100’s of thousands it is hard to feel anything is out of bounds.

    As far as "we will never be at their level" don't get this wrong, to truly understand anybody entirely, and see what they see, can take a lifetime or more. Owners and guests are no different to you, other than perceiving things differently. It is not about level, it is about perception and judgment.

    One of my top clients that has been with me for 6 years now, was the guest of an owner 25 years ago, long before I had thoughts of moving ashore. So try not to burn bridges, and don't build quick flimsy ones either, they won't la
    Posted by simongb-N2 06/01/2011 23:26:13

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