The middle of summer. I have misplaced nostalgia for the idea that once upon a time the pace of life, or at least of business, was slower in the summer. This is not true now and hasn’t been true in the cruise business for a long time. My schedule is as full as ever.
Yesterday, our three President & CEOs – Dan Hanrahan of Celebrity, Larry Pimentel of Azamara Club and myself – spent an hour with our summer interns. What a pleasant experience. They asked more questions, arguably better questions and certainly more personal questions than our management team asks us. They are very enthusiastic about their summer assignments in various departments, but most of all they seem extremely eager to understand if there is a defined path to success. There isn’t.
One intern asked me if I was thinking about my path to a business career when I was his age. I don’t know what he was expecting but it wasn’t what I told him – when I was his age I was having so much trouble with my back that I couldn’t sit in a chair. I kept going to school because school was the only environment I could manage in those years. How does one convey the mixture of hard work, overcoming of adversity, maximizing of talent and extremely good luck that determines a successful career?
The best question that came up was about life balance. We each tried to convey that the pursuit of balance is a lifelong, every day struggle that involves an inevitable amount of failure. In my case, there is a platform of stability underneath the daily craziness that is crucial to any success I enjoy. That begins with my wife Cheryl who has not only been with me for over 20 years but worked for 10 years at our company and knows exactly what the craziness is all about; she is the key to the whole puzzle. In addition, my assistant Marta has been with me for 17 years. We hardly need to speak to one another as she knows exactly what to do. Finally, as I have mentioned before, I have a fabulous team of leaders who are just as focused on guest satisfaction, employee welfare and shareholder returns as I am. I don’t know if any of this resonates with an intern, but it does with me.