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How to Write Superyacht Crew Profiles

Superyacht Crew Profiles

Superyacht Crew are the heartbeat of the yacht. They are central to the yacht functioning in a coherent, professional and effective manner. The crew is the “human element” working in synergy with an abundance of luxury onboard, offering the guests a seven-star plus cruising experience.

Therefore, it is imperative that the guests know who their crew are and how their individual skills add to the synergy of the yachts functioning.


How to Write Crew Profiles

Crew profiles are not everyone’s cup of tea to write, and I know many senior crew who avoid doing this task, until the very last minute. This avoidance results in flat and uninteresting compositions that nobody wants to read.Writing these profiles, however, was one job, which I was happy to do, and I relished in the creativity of such a task.

So why write a crew profile?

In short, to inform the yacht’s guests who the crew are. These profiles are added to the guest compendiums and left in the cabins, for the guests to read at their leisure, along with familiarising themselves with the yacht’s other operational procedures.

What is the best way to approach writing these profiles? I found there is two preferred way. The fist is a personal chat with each individual crew member for a more casual flowing biography.

The second way is to read their CVs and compile an exciting picture of who they are. Furthermore, and as an added bonus of adopting this formal style of writing, is that you have all of their education, technical skills and interest all in one place, which is a great time saver.

Now, think about your international environment in which you work. Many guests may not be native English speakers. Therefore, use simple language with easy to read sentences.

Long-drawn out grammatically correct sentences can be a real bore, and your guests may lose interests in the crew profiles very quickly. Lastly, have someone else read the profiles before printing them out and adding them to the compendiums.

Now that you have chosen your preferred style, simply start the beginning, with an introduction. Include their name, job title how long they have worked onboard.

Next, comes the fun part where you get to be a little more creative and show their personal side. Things you can discuss here may include, where they come from, what their professional credentials are.

Writing The Crew Profiles

When writing the crew profiles, consider the personal qualities and professional, credentials which are commonly associated with the relevant positions.

For example:

PositionPersonal QualitiesProfessional Accomplishments
CaptainAchiever, kind, curious, focused, inspired, positive, uplifting, driven, determined, Always at the forefront, trustworthyAccomplished, expert, leader, experience, innovator, authority, safety, commander, authorised, licenced,
Chief OfficerTenacious, earnest, noble, industrious, direct, meticulousResourceful, dependable, direct, professional, certified,
BosunIntrepid, athletic, strong, flexible, considerate,Skilful, accomplished, seasoned,
DeckhandSeeker of adventures, hard-working, fit, cordial,Accomplished, trained, endorsed,
Chief EngineerCapable, innovative, ingenious enterprising, disciplined, natural problem solverExperienced, knowledgeable, proficient, licensed, commissioned,
Second EngineerProficient, skilful, adaptive, selfless, tolerantQualified, licensed, experienced, skilled,
Chief StewardessGracious, supportive, friendly, considerate, respectful, understanding, insightful, discreetExperienced, degree, diploma, knowledgeable, disciplined
StewardessHappy, enthusiastic, cooperative, capable, helpful, gentle,Approved, certified, competent, suitable
Head ChefCreative, inspired, visionary, unorthodox, accommodating, kind-hearted,Accredited, certified, endorsed, appointed,
Second ChefZealous, efficient, predisposed, likeable,Trained under, recognised, educated

For your convenience, I have created six sample crew profiles in appendix twelve of The Chief Stewardess Bible for the purpose of adaptation.

Superyacht Crew Visa’s Explained

Superyacht Crew Visa’s Explained

What visa do I need to work on a yacht?

For this article, I am going to have to be very general about my advice.

When you are a professional yacht crew member, it is an understatement to say that you will be ‘travelling a lot’, whether it be by air, sea or land.

You will find that the one thing that comes up in conversation is what visa do I need for XXX country.

Therefore, to explain the superyacht crew visa topic, without waffling on too much, I will break down the requirements into locations.

Consequently, the three types of visa’s that we will discuss here are:

  1. Schengen visa
  2. USA B1/B2 visa
  3. The Australian superyacht crew visa

For all visa processes and to make the application as easy and as stress-free as possible, make sure your passport is up to date with more than twelve months validity on it.

The Schengen Visa

The Schengen Area consists of 22 European Union (EU) state members and four non-EU members who are, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

Ireland has also opted out of the Schengen policy, and they operate a separate visa policy.

At the time of writing this, the United Kingdom is battling their way through Brexit, but at this stage, UK citizens may move freely within the EU. Furthermore, the UK also run a separate visa programme.

Nationals of EU countries and Schengen nations are visa-exempt and are allowed to reside, move freely and work in each other’s countries.

For those nations outside of the EU and the Schengen visa agreement, then the following rules apply.

They are the Annexe 1 and Annexe 11.

The list of countries in Annexe I includes Asia, Africa and South America (Western part), Russia and China; this means that South Africans and Filipinos are eligible to apply.

The Annexe II countries include the USA, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. Annexe II citizens need a visa only if they intend to stay for more than 90 days within 180 days.

Therefore, no visa is required for citizens from Annexe II countries to enter the Schengen area.

Below is a generalised explanation of the Schengen visas for non-EU citizens there are:

  1. Transit type B visa
  2. Short-stay type C visa
  3. Longstay type D visa

The first one is the transit visa, and it is commonly known as the Type B visa. As a yacht crew member, who travels a lot, you may know this visa as an entry or exit visa.

That is to say that this visa is only required if you are passing through a Schengen state for no more than five days.

For example, Transit type B visa is very applicable if your visa has expired and you still need to travel home.

The second type is the short-stay type C visa. This visa is valid for 1 to 5 years. When the visa expires, renewal can be testing.

This visa can not be changed, renewed or extended within the Schengen area. You must leave the  Schengen area and reapply.

The documents needed for this visa are:

  • The employment letter
  • Crew/work contract
  • Port letter and yachts itinerary
  • The yachts registration details
  • Personal travel insurance

In addition to the above requirements, there is a subsection to this visa referring to the “short” part of the visa name. The short-stay relates to the 90 days in and 90 days out within a 180 day period.

Essentially this means that if the yacht intends to spend the summer months cruising within the Schengen area then, the crew member will have to be stamped out by the shipping agent, rendering the crew member limited to the yachts flagged state.

At the end of the season, the crew member can be stamped back into the Schengen area, meaning that the time spent onboard under the flag state was time sent outside of the EU or Schengen area.

The third type of visa is the Longstay type D visa. The type D visa is the best visa to obtain a because it is renewable within the Schengen area.

The visa can be obtained by presenting the same paperwork are the type C visa.

B1/B2 Visa

The USA is a megabase for the superyacht industry.

By its very nature, it draws hundreds of young and aspiring superyacht crew, looking for work and adventure on the high seas.

If you are not a US citizen or hold a green card, then you will need to apply for a B1/B2 visa to work on board a superyacht in US waters.

According to the U.S. State Department website,

“The visitor visa is a type of non-immigrant visa for persons desiring to enter the United States temporarily for business (B-1) or for pleasure, tourism or medical treatment (B-2)”.

This visa must not be confused with the C1/D visa which is a crew visa, broadly used for maritime personnel including a cruise ship and cargo vessels.

Unlike the Australian visa, the USA visa is not a straight forward visa to gain.

US Department of State is particularly interested in your ties with your own country.

You must be prepared to show that you pay taxes elsewhere, rent a home or can prove that you reside somewhere else in the world, which means that you are in no way interested in overstaying your visa or have illegal immigration intentions.

To obtain a B1/B2 visa, you really need to have all of your paperwork in order, including a letter of employment from your yacht.

The letter of employment is not stated on the website, so I guess it’s not technically required, but it sure will help during the interview process.

Next,  you will need to fill out a DS-160 form and make an appointment with your nearest US consulate general or embassy.

Be prepared for some tough and at times, rude questioning.

Other helpful papers, as mentioned above, include phone records, utility bills, bank statements and other documents that show that you reside happily elsewhere.

Please take the time to research this information accurately.

The Australian  Superyacht Crew Visa

The Australian superyacht crew visa was explicitly created to encourage the growth of the superyacht industry in Australia. Therefore,  it is very straight forward to gain this visa.

You must have a contract to work on a superyacht in Australian waters, and a supporting letter from the owner of the yacht confirming the person’s employment.

If you are not an Australian citizen, you will need to apply for this visa. The temporary activity visa (subclass 408)  Superyacht crew stream, allows you to work in Australia as a crewmember of a superyacht.

You can travel to and from Australia as many times as you want while your visa is valid.

The visa is valid for 12 months, with a maximum stay of up to 2 years. Furthermore, this visa is also renewable and you can do it online.


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The Stewardess Bible

How to Write a Good Letter of Recommendation

How to Write a Good Letter of Recommendation. As a chief stewardess, you may be required to write a recommendation for your departing crew member.

A letter of recommendation also known as a reference letter is a formal document which requires a lot of thought and consideration. Generally speaking, the letter should be 12 point font in an easy to read business font such as:

  • Arial
  • Time New Roman
  • Garamond

Further, the letter should be printed on letterhead and the stamped with the yachts official stamp next to your signature.

How to Write a Good Letter of Recommendation

As a chief stewardess or interior manager, you will/may be required to write a letter of recommendation for your departing interior crew member. This is a very important skill to master as it, as the crew member leaving will rely on it to gain future employment.

You can see online there are many variations in the layout of a good letter of recommendation, but below is a good place to start.

To begin the letter you should always start off by stating the facts, things like:

  • Full name of crew member whom you are writing the letter for
  • Duration of service on board, including dates
  • The position or title held

The second paragraph is designed to highlight their skills, education and positive attributes:

The third paragraph focusses on positive personal attributes such as:

  • Is a team player
  • Has a bubbly personality
  • Has a warm personality and is easy to get along with

Close your letter on a positive note and give your contact details. Always finish with yours sincerely, or yours faithfully.

A letter of service

Now consider the crew member whom you are writing the letter for, had a bad record of service onboard and you had to let them go. Clearly this letter will not be a glowing letter of recommendation, however, you still need to be professional and maintain a balanced outlook on the person.

The crew member may have performed badly for many reasons, this is not for you to analyse as you have already made the decision to let them go, rather you need to focus on their strengths (remember… everyone has both strengths and weaknesses).

The format is as above with an example letter below.  The things to remember here is to just state the facts.

This should never be a personal vendetta against the person, however, if you cannot possibly recommend them or write a simple letter of service, then ask the chief officer or the captain to write a letter of service, (its ok to do this we are all human at the end of the day).

Lastly, if you feel so negative about the person then simply write the letter of service, end it in a positive note, i.e., I wish her/him well, but do not include your contact details at the end.

You need to be able to stand by what you write, and if you write merely a letter of service, then chances are that it hasn’t gone well on board, therefore you do not want to “run off with your mouth” with a verbal reference check!

Sample letter of recommendation

[Insert Yacht Letter head]

[Yacht Name]

[Current location]


To whom it may concern;

I had the pleasure to employ and work with [insert full name] from [insert date] until [insert date]. She/ he was employed on a permanent basis in the capacity of [insert position].

[Insert yacht name] is a [insert size and type of yacht] which is [insert private or charter yacht], which spends her time between the Mediterranean and the Caribbean seas. [Include more details about the yacht, i.e., busy with children, back to back charters or demanding owner’s etc.].

[Insert name] was an excellent asset to have on-board. She/he holds an advanced diploma in Hotel Management and is clear to see these skills displayed with her/his superb hospitality and people skills. Her true strengths are in managing her time and quality of work.

She joins us with short notice and adapted immediately to the crew and her working environment. [Insert name] has a pleasant personality and is a team player, this made her popular with the crew and guests alike.

We are very sorry to see her/him leave, but I know that [insert name] will compliment any yacht that is fortunate enough to acquire her/his excellent services. {You can also add why she/he is leaving here}

I highly recommend [insert name], and I wish her/him well with future endeavours.

Should you have any further questions regarding [insert name], please do not hesitate to contact me [insert telephone number, email address or both].

Yours sincerely

[Insert your name and position] {Insert yacht stamp and have the Captain sign it}

Sample letter of service

[Insert Yacht Letter head]

[Yacht Name]

[Current location]


To whom it may concern;

[Insert name] joined [insert yacht name] from [insert date] until [insert date]. She/ he was employed on a permanent basis in the capacity of [insert position].

[Insert yacht name] is a [insert size and type of yacht] which is [insert private or charter yacht], which spends her time between the Mediterranean and the Caribbean seas. [Include more details about the yacht, i.e., busy with children, back to back charters or demanding owner’s etc.].

[Insert name] holds an advanced diploma in Hotel Management, and is clear to see these skills displayed with her/his superb hospitality and people skills. Her true strengths are in managing her time and quality of work.

If the crew member does not hold formal qualifications, then simply state their duties which they performed; i.e.

[Insert name] performed the following duties to a satisfactory/ good level

Housekeeping, service, floral arrangement, laundry etc.

I wish [insert name] all the best with future endeavours.

Yours sincerely

[Insert your name and position] {Insert yacht stamp and have the Captain sign it}



Conflict Resolution

Conflict Resolution

More than any other business, the superyacht industry markets itself to the individualized needs of their guests.  It is one of the few industries that are attuned to adequate customer experience, which determines how well a particular charter yacht adapts and survives in a unique market.

While most superyachts focus on providing extraordinary getaways for their customers, there will be a few customers expressing grave dissatisfaction. Sometimes it is even tempting to write off such customers, but it has never been good for business.

As such, conflict resolution as a chief stewardess is one of the tricks that will bridge this critical gap. It is not all about having excellent management skills but rather having a good plan and some background training on how to resolve conflicts in the workplace. Some of the strategies to employ include:

Staying calm

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By the time an issue goes to the status of a conflict, the guest is already agitated. In any case, guests don’t have the habit of complaining unless they feel compelled to. If an issue is negligible, they will go about their business without minding some of the trivial matters.

To the extent of reporting an issue, however, a guest has reacted emotionally to the situation, and this can be dangerous because emotions drive people out of control. Moreover, when a guest approaches a crew member with raged emotions, the employee is also likely to respond defensively, which exacerbates the issue at hand.

Before reacting in any manner, therefore, it is important to stay calm as you contemplate the matter. Staying collected is something inevitable especially onboard a superyacht where guest satisfaction is paramount.

The first response will determine if and how well the conflict will be resolved. A calm approach is more likely to resolve the conflict, but be careful not to appear as if you are taking the matter trivially. Express some concern but in a calm manner.

Listening is key

Like hotel employees, superyacht crew will tend to shut down an upset guest, which further aggravates the situation. As the interior manager, however, all you have to do is listen.

Some clients will have issues in their lives which they extend to various environments, and the best they need is someone to listen to them.

Leave your frame of reference and enter the client’s. Pride is counterproductive in such a situation, so listen and validate the guests’ issues such that they don’t stay in the heightened emotional state.

Find out the facts

Etiquette in society

Whereas listening to the guest is very crucial, taking their word as the absolute truth is a desperate show of partial blindness and absence of leadership skills.

Remember, you also need the crew to realise guest satisfaction goals. Get factual information by asking calm and open-ended questions which elicit more information.

Sometimes it may require additional information before the conflict is fully settled. Talk to relevant parties regarding the situation. These could be other employees or other guests, who will help you find out where the problem is.

With factual information, you will then find a probable course of action that is just to the guests and crew alike.

Enlist different sources of help

Sitting on a management position does not mean that you take every professional burden as your own. Different crew members have different capabilities in handling particular situations.

Delegative leadership is sometimes recommended, so seek help when there is need. In case a guest has been upset by one or more of the crew, you can opt to call in some help from other management figures.

Sit and find out whether it is more rational to involve the employee in question. While it is bound to aggravate the situation in most cases, sometimes the best thing to do is to talk to all the parties involved before a conflict is fully settled.

If you must involve an outside party to resolve the matter, it is worth your time and money. Conflict resolution gurus are sometimes called in to educate employees on strategies for solving conflicts within the workplace.

Brainstorm possible solutions and negotiate a way out

Once you have gathered all the background information regarding a particular conflict, the next quickstep is to stop the issue and give it a lasting solution before it ruins the reputation of the charter yacht.

It pays well when the people involved put a fair contribution to the generation of a lasting solution. As a chief stewardess, you must be open to all ideas generated and remain keen to note whether there is absolute objectivity.

Whereas the guests are mostly right, you must not necessarily tolerate it if he or she has personal issues against particular crew members.

To the point of resolving the conflict, all parties must understand the position taken. If it involves the management, you should be open to receive whatever resolution that will be reached.

If your position is bound to affect the outcome of the process, it is more reasonable to involve other parties. A win-win situation works to the satisfaction of both parties, so be keen not to please one person while offending the other.

Make a follow-up

Once the issue has been settled and the charter guest has left, a number of superyachts tend to leave the confrontation at that. However, to prevent such dissatisfaction from spilling over, make a follow-up note in your journal. People feel valued when you personally follow them up to know how satisfied they feel.

Review the issue

It is very easy for a yacht to assume that all irate guests are acting irrationally. Upon a closer look, the guest may have been right in complaining about a particular meal, service or employee.

This is not to imply that all complaints are valid, but it should provide some insight into different customer experiences. Use the opportunity to review the issue once the guest is gone and determine whether there are any changes which can be made to improve customer satisfaction.

Conflict Resolution

In summary, different customers may have various complaints regarding superyacht charter services, but they can all be resolved to the satisfaction of both parties when the management is purposefully and fully prepared.

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How to Plan an Efficient Schedule

How to Plan an Efficient Schedule.

You travel on the sea in a floating hotel and you attend to the needs of the passengers and all the while you keep on smiling. That could be a brief description given by one superyacht chief stewardess when she was asked what her job is about, but as an interior manager, you have a lot more on your plate.

That is why you need to take a little time here to focus on what you have to do.

As a superyacht chief stewardess, you will often need to work on several projects at once, therefore efficient planning and organisation are the most important skills that you have. This effective planning will also help you to maintain the elusive work /life balance that so many Yachties dream of.

So let’s look at what you need to do to plan and write an effective schedule.

Start off by looking at your workload. The workload is likely to comprise of a range of tasks and responsibilities that you will need to work through.

These tasks are obviously different for on charter, off charter and during a yard/refit period.

Please refer to the sample schedules in the Stewardess Bible and adapt them to your own needs keeping the following points in mind:

 Job/task priorities

  • The time required to execute the task to a high standard
  • The manpower required and available
  • Priorities. When you have a range of your demands on your time you will need to find a way to complete one task at a time (this is a very important point), do not do a job half-heartedly or incomplete.

For me, I always gave my jobs a letter or number A, B, C, D or 1,2,3,4,  for example:

  • A –  tasks, are urgent and need to be handled immediately
  • B –  tasks, should be given a time deadline and should be completed that day or immediately the next day
  • C – tasks, are next in line and could be completed with or without guests on board
  • D – tasks, could be done during downtime when there are no guests on board or during a yard period.

You will need to identify which tasks will help you achieve your goals, allocate time accordingly and set deadlines. Make sure your team has the right tools or skills to get the jobs done and make sure the task is completed before moving on to something else.

Planning methods and tools

There are many planning methods and tools which you can you. During my time as a chief stewardess/purser, I used a range of tools to help me, from a simple diary to computer programs which linked all departments (this was generally for D jobs).

I had established standard operational interior procedures on board and trained my team accordingly, so everyone knew the routine.

The knowledge of the routine and training was essential to remain flexible with any surprises that may occur (especially when on charter). The informal notepad and diary worked very well for everyday to-do lists because you can always just cross it off when that job has been completed.

However, when it comes to longer planning then I would recommend using a computer program that works best for you. Also, when you are planning, make sure you include the following:

  • Daily jobs
  • Weekly jobs
  • Periodical jobs
  • Training/ education
  • Meal breaks/ rest breaks
  • Holidays/time off

The above is very important to get right because there is nothing worse than being called off your break early because of poor planning (this leads to very tired and grumpy crew especially on long charters).

Make sure you plan sensibly and logically, further, by incorporating the above points into your planning, you will ensure you have enough crew members to get the work done.<


When you conduct your morning and weekly meetings, make sure that you have a clear agenda. Honestly, so much time is wasted in meetings that keep going around in circles, with no positive outcome.

A good idea is to have your desired topics on hand to discuss (written down in front of you).

The idea here is to create a system that flows with effective communication which is bilateral, that is a 2-way system that allows everyone to be heard. The goal of the meeting is to make sure that:

  • The purpose is clearly communicated and everyone is taking responsibility for their part.
  • Is the meeting helping to coordinate and distribute the tasks?
  • Are the right people being allocated to the correct job?
  • If things arise in the meetings are you as the interior manager following up on concerns, or loose ends?
  • Are you as the chief stewardess, meeting and maintain training goals, offering support and increasing teamwork?

These are all points which you should take into consideration when planning.

Some pitfalls to watch out for. When planning your schedule, there is no one size fits all. You have to maintain a flexible attitude and adapt your system to work with what you have, i.e. the team, the vessel, the geographical locations and the guests’ demands.

As the chief stewardess on board, you will have an overview of what is going on, so learn to delegate (you can’t do everything yourself). If you have a weaker team member then make it a priority to train the stewardess/steward so that they are as strong as the others.

Remember to concentrate on the task at hand and ask yourself the following:

What is the best uses of my time right now?”

Don’t get distracted by the “white noise”, (the drunk guest, the sick deckhand or the disgruntle stewardesses). The chef is waiting for you to serve dinner, the captain may be waiting for you to turn in your accounts for the month or 1 million other things that require your attention before the drama does…

My point here is to set the priorities straight.

Remember, you are the interior manager and we know that you have a lot to do. The job description of a superyacht chief stewardess is really broad and you will find that different super yachts may have other duties and responsibilities added to this job description, but remember as the saying goes,

“You are only as strong as your weakest team member”.

You can’t do it all yourself, so remember to:

  • Invest in your team with training and educational courses or material
  • Plan your time well
  • Delegate tasks

And you should be able to maintain your work/life to a standard that you are happy with.

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Questions to Ask Yourself If You Want to Leave the Yachting Industry

The Mediterranean season is in full swing and for many superyacht stewardesses, this means long hours, difficult guests and draining colleagues.

It’s right about this time that the stewardess is not looking out to sea or enjoying the beautiful sunshine, but rather at the mountain high pile of towels in the laundry, dirty cabins and running from one of the yacht to the other, making sure that the guests have everything that they need and want.

Everyone desires a meaningful and fulfilling professional life. When you’re happy with your work, you feel more content, purposeful, and complete.

When you’re unhappy at work, the days seem long, you miss home, friends and family, and the daily stresses and negativity can build up and up until there is little room to conceal your feelings any more.

This can lead to poor decision making,  a change in your personality, poor work performance and depression. The work of a superyacht stewardess can be mundane and boring, so it is right about this time that you may be asking yourself “What am I Doing Here”?

Whatever your motivation or trigger is that has led you to the point of resignation, ask yourself the following questions before you throw in the towel.

ocean 2

Questions to Ask Yourself If You want to Leave the Yachting Industry

1. Why am I unhappy with this job?

Understand where your unhappiness comes from — is it specific to the type of work you do, who you work for, or is there a personality clash on board? This is a great starting point for understanding your unhappiness and a great place to make a change.

2. Do I need a job change or a life change? 

Ask yourself: Is my unhappiness about my job, or life in general? Unhappiness in one part of life can have a cascading effect on the rest of what we do. Before taking action, make sure your focus is to resolve the primary cause of your discontent.

3. What are your professional goals?

What do you want to achieve professionally, and when? Are you currently on the path to achieve those goals? If not, what do you need to do or change about your current job and career path to get there?

4. What’s been missing for you professionally?

What are you lacking in your professional life? Recognition, compensation or advancement? When you know what’s missing, you can make plans to fill in the gaps, in your current position or elsewhere.

5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10? 20?

Envisioning your future self is a great way to keep the bigger picture in mind. A simple envisioning exercise: close your eyes, clear the mind with a few minutes of breath awareness, meditation, and then look ahead five, 10 or 20 years.

  • Where are you working?
  • What have you achieved?
  • What does the rest of your life look like?

When you open your eyes, jot down what you saw. You can then take action to align your present life with the future.

6. What do you feel you were put on this earth to do?

This question is hard for many people but warrants deep thought if you’re considering a career change.

  • What do you feel in your heart you’re meant to do?
  • What work would bring you deep happiness and meaning to your life?

This may be something you can do outside of your current job – as a hobby or part-time interest. Or it might be worth pursuing wholeheartedly as a career.

Undertaking self-exploration work will allow you to understand what you need to be more fulfilled professionally. If you have financial obligations and other considerations that preclude making a significant job change, look for ways to incorporate what you learned about yourself in other areas of life.

Take action. Move towards the activities, interests, and people that resonate with you, and fulfilment will follow.