Career Highlight – Slagjan Jovevski

It was cold winter December evening 2005 in Macedonia, I gathered with a select group of friends in the cozy lounge where we used to hang out on a frigid winter day to welcome our buddy, who had just returned from his first contract working in the casino on a renowned cruise line. Additionally, he had a ton of pictures and tales for us to share. We could spend hours simply listening to him talk about his travels and admiring his pictures and stories. I was astonished by that, and looking back, I can confidently admit that I “blame” my close buddy for inspiring me to seek a career in both the casino and cruise sectors as a whole. At that time, I was in my mid 20’s and doing a very dull job surrounded by paperwork and fumbling my way as an intern in the local courthouse in a small city, I came to the realization that I wanted to experience more of life, to have the chance to travel the world and meet new people.

I began searching since, despite my determination, I had no prior knowledge of or experience with casinos. Then I saw openings for entry-level Slot Attendant position at the GCO cruise ship casinos. I submitted a resume, was contacted for an interview, and was hired!

On June 10, 2006, I embarked on my first GCO trip aboard the Carnival Inspiration; at the time, I was a Slot Attendant, a position I knew very little about. When I first boarded the ship, I was bewildered and excited at the same time: I couldn’t locate my cabin for more than 30 minutes, and I was literally wandering around corridors trying to understand the layout of this enormous ship (which is ironic considering that I was on one of the smallest Carnival class ships at the time).

It didn’t take long for me to discover that I had entered a very fast-paced and fascinating industry and was surrounded by excellent coworkers, new friends, and leaders, making me happier and more enthusiastic about the opportunities ahead.

One of the things you will often hear people saying is that once you experience life at sea, the life on land will never be the same – and I couldn’t agree more!

I went home on vacation and was so eager to be back again onboard for my second ship – a new build Carnival Freedom where I got to be part of the inaugural team! Oh, what wonderful memories I have from this Carnival Freedom contract, where I first met the love of my life, my wife, while sailing through the beautiful ports of the Mediterranean. We spent eight years traveling and working side by side in the casino on various ships before she left to take care of our two lovely children we have now.

In meanwhile from my very first ship, I got involved in our training and carrier development programs where I was acquiring specific knowledge, abilities, skills, needed for my development and progress. Very soon I got promoted as Dealer and I found myself that this is not just regular job but it’s my carrier path where I was doing what fulfills me – not only getting paid for what you do but also traveling and seeing the world, interacting with people from different social backgrounds, meeting new cultures, traditions, and working my way up in the industry.

Since knowledge has always been one of the key factors influencing progress, I always count myself fortunate and proud to be part of organization with well-designed and executed learning and development opportunities. This was powerful retention tool for me because investment in learning and developing employees demonstrates that our organization values its people.

Throughout the years with the company, I spent time in various of positions (from Slot Attendant, Dealer, Supervisor, to Management) while continuously learning about the various aspects of our casino operation. This has helped me advance to my current Casino Manager position. However, there is one thing I have never forgotten and that’s my beginnings with GCO and how I reached where I am today. Guided by my own career development experiences I always follow the culture of sharing the knowledge, this helps develop our new generations to succeed in their personal development, and also helps me build trust with my coworkers and grow my leadership skills.

Working for GCO I was able to accomplish one of my main professional ambitions last year as a part of the management team when I joined the excellent inaugural casino team for our newest casino on board the Carnival Celebration. What a proud and satisfying moment it was when, following weeks of exhausting preparation, we all gathered in the middle of the casino floor and hit the button to open the establishment. Because I get to share these experiences and memories with my brother, who is a member of the technical team at our GCO organization and was heavily involved in the setup of our newest casino, they are much more meaningful to me. What an accomplishment!

Overall, working and living on the ships is the most enthralling and fulfilling thing I’ve ever chosen to do. As crew members, we wake up in a different country virtually every day and appreciate every moment. Being part of such an amazing group of people is the most special experience I’ve ever had. I feel such a sense of community and morale with the other crew members. I’ve made amazing friends who feel like family since boarding my very first ship.

Lastly, thank you everybody! I won’t mention names because there are sooo many, love you all, and thank all of you my dearest friends, family, leaders, and coworkers for being a part of this continuous story! For the new colleagues who are just starting their journey with GCO: You’ve just opened opportunities of a lifetime that sometimes can test you, confront you, make you discover your inner strength – just be positive! Having a positive, ‘can do’, attitude will go a long way!

Enjoy your journeys everyone, wishing you fair winds and following seas!