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“Abandon hope all Ye who enter here….”

This is far from an exhaustive list but I’m sure all your Chief Stews out there will recognise some if not all of the crimes on this list. If you are just entering the industry then bear the following in mind to keep your CS sweet!

+ “Be sure your sins will find you out”

Don’t lie – much like your parents and God / Buddah / Kanye West / insert religious preference here – we will know. There is very little that can be kept from people living, working and sleeping within several metres of each other. Once a lie is discovered, all credibility is lost.  If you don’t know the answer, or haven’t had time to complete something, that is fine – just be honest!

+ “Knowledge is power!”

Don’t think you know best – You don’t. You might one day, but right now you don’t.
As much as the interior is not a dictatorship (it is a dictatorship) your Chief stew knows best, which is why she is the Chief. Listen to her. I always said to my girls that I am open to suggestions, after all as a Chief Stew you only ever want a job done the best and most efficient way. It may be that you suggest something that has already been trialled, and at least then you know the answer – equally you could win yourself some MAJOR brownie points by inventing a new procedure. Happy days all round!

Just bear in mind that as a junior stew you don’t understand the bigger picture, and all the other contributing factors. I once had a junior stew ask me for my work list, despite being given her own daily and weekly work list. She thought she would work better when she understood the entire list so she could then re prioritise her list. My work list of constant additions and morphing priorities is for no one else’s eyes but mine (and maybe the Captain). There is no way with such little experience that this list would ever have been understood by a junior stew.

+ “FAQs”

There are no stupid questions – ask questions, constantly.. but listen to the answers and try not to ask the same question again. Take ‘on board’ (no pun intended) the answers and advice given to you, don’t then do the opposite.

+ “(Not so) Common sense”

Think for yourself  – whilst a conflicting idea to the above statement, you can take some initiative… we don’t want to be hand holding the ENTIRE time, and we delegate for a reason. Use your (not so) common sense, and if you don’t have any – run for the hills

+ ”Swan like”

Don’t rush and ruin something – Whilst trading war stories, a friend of mine regaled me with a tale, she had this one stew who would always run around, trying to get things done as quickly as possible when one day she smashed an antiques sculpture costing a cool £250,000k – this all happened as Madame was coming down the stairs and witnessed it all in slow motion – needless to say she was immediately sacked and walked off that day – Moral of the story: Don’t rush! Generally erring on the side of caution and doing it properly is the way forward. When you have 24 hours to turn the boat around between charters up your pace obviously!

These are, of course, all very tongue in cheek and for all your greenies out there – just remember your CS was also a beginner too at some stage, and really we aren’t all that bad.

For now, that’s all folks! Stay tuned for Part 2.


Yours Truly – Bitter, old Ex Chief Stew!



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(Photo: @veebock on Instagram)


About the author

Charlotte Flake

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