Rosie Spencer’s career took off at just the age of nineteen when she was hired as a sole stewardess on a yacht. She spent seven years of her life as a yachtie, during which she worked her way up to the role of Chief Stewardess. Now, for the past couple of years, she’s been working on land at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. In Season 3, Episode 4 of Life in Private Staffing, she talks about her yachting experiences, as well as her transition from sea to land. 

Working on yachts develops multiple transferable skills, including managerial and disciplinary skills, that are critical for the role that Rosie finds herself in now. 

Starting off 

Rosie starts us off at a dock in Southern France, where she’s out looking for work at nineteen years old. She explains that starting as a yachtie requires you to be an adaptable and confident person who is ready to approach crew or owners and make connections. Dock walking and not giving up are key, she says. 

Alongside this, Rosie also discusses the importance of a CV, one that is neat and eye-catching. When it comes to CVs, she mentions that a cluttered CV will simply be glanced at and discarded. When there are hundreds of applicants, the CV needs to give a general overview, which is why you should save the discussion for the interview. She also mentions that including a photo is essential, since a role in this industry relies heavily upon presentation. 

Rosie’s prior experience in hospitality as well as putting herself out there helped her land her first yachting job in France. She immediately jumped at the opportunity, taking a position that most nineteen-year-olds would skip out on, and became a sole stewardess. Such a role allowed her to prove her adaptability as she handled everything on her own without any prior knowledge. She explains that being confident enough to jump in with two feet and learn as you go is vital to garner experience, especially in such an industry. 

Having guidance from a mentor is also critical for one to grow within the role. As her second yachting role, Rosie landed another stewardess role. In the three weeks she spent under the wing of her Chief Stew, Rosie learned and garnered more experience than she had in her previous position, especially when it came to experiencing various service styles and adapting to different cultures.

Leaving Yachting 

A job as a yachtie brings to the table a lot of variety, and for the avid traveller, the opportunity to explore new locations. Rosie travelled around the world during her seven years of yachting experience, visiting places such as Asia, Australia, and even crossing the Pacific Ocean! 

Having done everything she wanted to, Rosie decided to go back home to England to settle down as she got older. When talking about her job search back on land, Rosie discusses one of the major difficulties a yachtie might find. She mentions that recruiters are blinded by the job title of yachtie who do not see yachting as relevant experience. 

Yet, yachting is not as straightforward as one might think, especially the role of Chief Stewardess. Rosie mentions that the role is not simply service-focused but also has multiple responsibilities, such as handling the travel itinerary and acting as a PA to the captain or owners. The skills accrued through such a role are transferable to other positions, such as being a PA or a household manager, a role that Rosie currently holds.= 

Transitioning to Land 

Rosie stresses again that contacts play a massive role in this industry. She mentions that she managed to transition to a land-based role through her yachting connections. Through her reaching out to some of her previous clients, she managed to land her current role at Blenheim Palace. 

Working in a private residence requires a level-headed and malleable type of person. Rosie explains this as she talks about the two years she has spent so far in this role. For her, the ability to adapt to change is necessary, and this is what she looks for in her staff. People working in private households require a can-do attitude, meaning that they must be willing to take on new challenges and step out of their comfort zone for the job. Rosie, for example, even learned how to raise chickens and keep bees for her role! 

From the beginning, Rosie took the reins in her new role, with her career progressing incredibly quickly. She started in Blenheim Palace, where she built a team from the ground up consisting of a full-time staff of eight. There aren’t any fixed roles; the staff adapts to the changing circumstances within the life of the household. She also hired a team of contractors to renovate the residence. Rosie didn’t stop there. She did it all over again at a second residence in Monaco. 

Currently, Rosie manages these two residences and her staff, including their rotas, payroll, and any HR issues that may arise. She also works as a PA, where she is in charge of multiple accounts, the calendar, holidays, and events, including charters. A busy bee indeed!

Rosie leaves us with a few difficulties that come along with the job. The biggest challenge is keeping everyone happy. Everyone deserves a good work-life balance, but it can be challenging to juggle the needs of the staff with those of the client. On the more bizarre side, Rosie talks about a night at the nightclub gone wrong, and her challenge in having to fly over a specific type of drink from across the world. 

Rosie was a fantastic guest to have on the podcast, offering her insights on the yachtie lifestyle as well as the life of a PA. 

Listen to the full episode 

Hear all of our insights into the domestic sector in the Season 3, Episode 4 of Life in Private Staffing. Click below to listen to the podcast:


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