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Lessons Learned on the High Seas

We can’t believe it’s December already! This year has flown by. Since many of us are about to travel home for the holidays, we figured we’d end the year with a bang and go on an extra special team building adventure. As Sydneysiders, we are incredibly lucky to be surrounded by one of the world’s most beautiful natural harbours, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to hop on a boat and take on a new challenge.

So, what is sailing really like? Does it involve champagne and a perfectly tanned, shirtless Jude Law? Unfortunately not. It was a little rainy when we went out, but we didn’t let that stop us.

Expectations
Reality

We started by splitting into two teams and getting a full tour of the boat and all the trimmings. The lovely people at Pilgrim Sailing immediately put us to work – which is the best way to learn! Here are 5 sailing takeaways that could be applied to real life.  

1) Always be ready to change course.

It may be an obvious one, but it’s true. From my experience, half of sailing is just waiting to see what direction the wind will come from. That’s why it was imperative to have a few team members on each side of the boat ready to work together and start madly pulling ropes at any moment. This sentiment also rings true for ProQuest in the sense that you never what’s coming, and we need to be ready for whatever new technology comes our way.

2) “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.”

What a great quote. Some of the best moments from our sailing experience happened when things felt a little rocky. In those moments everyone is more awake and more aware, doing whatever they can to help out and ensure we get back on track. If things go perfectly smooth all the time, how will you learn and keep growing? It’s okay to make mistakes, try new things and go through rough patches, because that’s when you can really shine and do your best.

3) Every ship needs a captain.

We were lucky to have the fantastic people at Pilgrim guiding us and showing us how to sail. Even if we were very confused at times, we knew we were in good hands. It’s important for every team to be guided by a strong leader who knows where you’re going and has the team’s best interests in mind. I think all of us at ProQuest feel lucky to have Aymeric driving the ship! I recommend checking out his recent blog post for a few handy career tips.

4) You can’t create wind.

This becomes especially clear when you find yourself in a ‘hole’. A hole, in sailing terms, is a dead spot where there is no wind and it becomes virtually in impossible to keep going. In this situation, there’s not much you can do besides sit back, wait and enjoy yourself. This brings to mind our recent office initiative of mindfulness and the importance of taking everything in and being aware of you’re feeling and what has brought you to that moment. So take a deep breath, acknowledge where you are, and keep going.

5) When in doubt, ask for clarification.

When you’re trying something for the first time, it can be a bit overwhelming when new terms and concepts are constantly being thrown at you. Sometimes you need things to be repeated or explained a little more thoroughly. It’s worth mentioning that if you ever feel unsure or confused, ask. There truly are no stupid questions and it’s better to ask and do it right than guess and end up sinking the ship.


We ended off the night with our annual ETHIC awards – which we conducted on the boat!

Congratulations to this year’s winners:

EXCELLENCE: Deepti
TEAMWORK: Jaffer
HONESTY: Giovanna
INNOVATION: Chad (Kate accepted on his behalf!)
CUSTOMER CENTRIC: Laura

Do you want to be a sailor too?! Or, at least consider joining our team? We’re hiring! Check out our career page to view our current openings.

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