The Perfect Pair

28 January 2010 By Louisa Cowan

Finding that perfect working relationship sometimes seems like a pipe dream. But when it happens, it can revolutionize the way you work and make life easier. Having someone by your side that you rely on and trust is very important and means that you not only are happier in your work environment, but also you often are able to do your own job better. So when you find a partnership that works, why not stay together and become a team to be reckoned with?

“Team positions, people working together without being in a relationship, is something I have come across on a few occasions,” says Blue Water Yachting crew agent Louisa. She goes on to say, “I was looking for two stewardesses for the same boat last year and the chief stew I found for the role specifically said she wanted a friend for the other role. [In this case] the advantage was that you know that part, if not most, of your interior team already get on with each other.”

But are there really advantages of being part of a team and if so, how do you make these long-term partnerships work?

Chief Stewardess Amanda says, “I have been in the yachting industry for nearly ten years now and in that time I have worked with some people who, let’s say, have a different work ethic to mine. Don’t get me wrong, there have been some excellent ones, too, but when you get an excellent colleague, who also becomes an excellent friend, it just makes sense to hang on to one another. When I moved jobs, I was seriously sad to leave Jo [a fellow stewardess] behind, but within just a few weeks I found myself looking for a new stew so I was straight on the phone. Jo was as keen as I was that we continue working together.”

So why does it make sense to stick together? “We just click,” says Amanda. “When you are working at full pace and you know that you have someone by your side who you can rely on, it makes such a difference.”

Often one of the “team” is in a more senior position than the other and usually results in a mentor/mentee relationship.

“This is the third boat that Gabriel and I have worked on together,” says First Mate Angus. “We have worked our way up the ranks together. Originally, I was bosun and he was a deckie, now he is my bosun! He knows my standards and I know his. I can trust that he completely understands what I expect of him and he trusts that I will do everything I can to help him in his role. Keeping a professional working relationship is really important. The lines of communication must remain open and [the working pair] must always be honest and upfront with each other.”

Deckhand Gabriel says, “Having worked with Angus for several years now, we know exactly how the other one likes to do things. This saves so much time with not having to go through tedious explanations; it’s just so much simpler.”

Knowing your crew also can be a time and money saver for the boat. “Recruiting new people is a hard task,” Capt. Nick says. “You try and make an informed decision, but there is always an element of luck that you are going to choose the right person. It isn’t just about qualifications, but also how they will fit in and how they will be able to work with you.” He says, “When I was offered a new job last year, it was an integral part of our negotiations that I was able to bring my chief engineer with me. We have worked together for over four years now and he is my right hand man. I run and drive the boat, he keeps it going!”

Keeping those you work well with close at hand appears to have some real rewards, but is it realistic? Are owners willing to employ teams? Crew agent Louisa says, “When friends or colleagues register [and] wish to work together, I always tell them that it is more difficult to find work in this way, but certainly not impossible.”