Here’s the second feature for our “Love My Job” series. We feature a person who has a job in Marina del Rey, highlighting what they enjoy the most and adding tips for those seeking new careers! This month, we bring you Mollie Perlman, Blue Pacific Yachting general manager. Believe it or not, Mollie started out with a desk job on land! She switched careers after driving by the ocean and seeing sailboats on her daily commute. Now, Mollie loves her job being on the water, sailing, teaching people how to sail and more. Read below for the full scoop on why Mollie loves her job!
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN THE WORLD OF SAILING?
After returning to LA after college and working in a corporate office for 5 years (and watching boats out on the water during my daily commute), I decided to sign up for small boat sailing classes at the UCLA Marina Aquatic Center and keelboat sailing classes at Blue Pacific Yachting. Little did I know that I’d go from student to general manager of Blue Pacific many years later. I knew nothing about boats previously. I did not grow up sailing or have other family or friends who were interested in taking classes with me. I ended up meeting my best friend in one of those sailing courses at the UCLA MAC though! While sailing and taking classes, I graduated from a student to a TA (teaching assistant) to a certified US Sailing and ASA instructor. I also began racing boats (both dinghies and keelboats). This eventually led me to working on Catalina Island for one summer as the Director of Sailing for the Boy Scouts. When I returned from a summer full of sailing and adventure, I became an instructor for California Yacht Club’s Adult Learn to Sail program and then CYC’s Junior Program Interim Director for a summer. While I was there, I received a call from a marine recruiter regarding the general manager position with Blue Pacific Yachting Sailing School in Marina del Rey.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB OUT OF SCHOOL?
My first job out of school was as a Sales Analyst for Sony Pictures in Culver City. I was able to attend movie screenings on the Sony Pictures lot after work and walk past the “New York” streets and filming in progress while on my lunch breaks. It was exciting and interesting. I learned about Nielsen ratings and what it takes to sell syndicated programs to the 200+ local markets all over the United States. My commute took me by the water and I would see sailboats out on the ocean. I often stared at those boats and wished that I could be out there. Although I initially loved my job with Sony Pictures, between sitting in front of a computer all day and fighting through traffic two hours a day, I started to feel as though this was not the lifestyle that I envisioned for myself long term.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY THE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?
There are so many things that I enjoy most about my job. I love the fact that this is the highlight of our client’s day/week/or year (depending on how long they have been planning their class or charter). As one club member put it, “It’s my escape… it gives me a break from paying the bills and mowing the lawn.” We give people the opportunity to break away from their daily life, work, stress and enjoy living in the moment (on our beautiful boats and in a beautiful environment). We see multi-generations get together, people coming to us for their life celebrations (ex: new marriage, anniversary, personal or professional achievements). I also love being able to get out on the water and on our boats. I am a big fan of getting our Blue Pacific Yachting staff out on the water as a way of thanking them for their hard work and so they are able to relay their experience to our potential clients. We have even held staff trainings from Marina del Rey to Catalina Island (our ASA 104/114 class) which includes 3 days and 2 nights on a luxury catamaran. Not a bad day’s work!
ANY TIPS ON SWITCHING CAREERS?
When I started to feel that my current 9 to 6 was not aligning with what I wanted in life, I sought out a career counselor. I knew I needed the steady paycheck while exploring other options. I also needed the health insurance that covered part of my career counseling sessions. Through my sessions, I actually tried out Broadcast Journalism first. I took a couple UCLA extension courses (taught by anchors and reporters on the KTLA lot). It was very exciting. While I was working part time in Broadcast Journalism, I continued to teach sailing to help pay the bills! As time progressed, sailing started to naturally become a bigger part of my life and opportunities kept popping up. Next thing I knew, through years of training, working as a sailing instructor and program director, earning a rescue award for saving a life at sea, and building relationships in the marine industry, I was able to secure full time work in this field. I feel very lucky. I learned to be flexible and open minded while embarking on my new career path. Who knows… what you had thought would be just your side job can turn out to be a passion that turns into a career you love as well.
WHEN YOU’RE NOT WORKING, WHAT ARE YOU UP TO?
Well, since we are open 7 days a week, it’s hard to completely take a day off without checking in. Believe it or not, but when I’m not working, I do spend a lot of time on the water either leisure sailing, racing, going to Catalina Island, and paddleboarding. I used to rockclimb as well and recently bought new climbing shoes as motivation to get back into that. I have taken a few hang gliding lessons and flight lessons (on a 4 passenger Sensa) as well. Also, part of my family moved to Utah a few years ago, so I go there quite a bit. It’s beautiful to see the mountains for a change of scenery. I enjoy the snow and spending time with my dog (a bichon/poodle mix rescue dog named Zen).