Transitioning from a cruise ship lifestyle to a career in HR

Meet Kim Baulch, our Talent Acquisition Coordinator, based in Swindon. She tells us more about her diverse career journey and exciting things you might not know about her!


 I work within the HR team in Talent Acquisition and I manage the recruitment for Sales across the UK. My day to day varies from writing contracts, sourcing candidates, managing candidates through the process, admin tasks and some project work. 

I have been with FLEETCOR for a year and a half now and I am currently based in Swindon. The best thing about the office is the team I work with, which, personally, is something I feel is important and creates a good work balance. One of the most challenging parts of my role is having to remote manage the recruitment for all the different areas. You don’t realise how much you take being in the location you are working on for granted until you are 200 miles away. However, it’s so rewarding to find the right people and then getting to offer them a role.

My previous roles have been quite different to my role now. I actually studied Travel and Tourism so the majority of my career has been based around that sector. I’ve been a business travel agent, a receptionist at a 5* hotel in London right through to my role before FLEETCOR on board a cruise ship.



"Going from working on a ship to working for FLEETCOR was a big transition on its own. That lifestyle is totally different to anything I have ever experienced and, unless you’ve gone through it yourself, you never really understand how challenging it is."

A lot of people used to say to me ‘you’ve got such an easy life, different beach every day; you’re living the life of luxury’ but actually it is far from that. Days off do not exist; you get hours off and that is all. A work day in port would range anything from 5 to 9 hours and a sea day would be at least 13 hour shifts. You then have to factor in all the crew drills, constant crew safety/life at sea training and it doesn’t matter if you’re ‘off shift’, if you are in passenger areas, you are constantly on shift (you even have to say hello to every passenger you walk past; it actually becomes so normal that when you get back home, you find yourself almost doing it in the street!).

Another thing that people don't realise is the fact that you don't get any time to yourself; you even have to share your cabin with another person. The cabins for the crew are really small; it's a confined space, down in the lower decks where you hear the waves crashing against the side of the ship.  You have bunkbeds and little closet space, which isn't ideal.

And don't get me started about the bathroom. As you can probably guess from my previous answers, the bathroom was tiny; when the door was shut, you could just about turn a full circle. If you didn't know all of this prior to working on a ship, you'd be shocked. Despite all of this, I got on really well with my cabin mate and we're still good friends to this day. 

The experience was amazing though. I got to spend winter in the Caribbean and although it was extremely hard work, I got to see some amazing places, meet people from all around the world and make memories I will treasure forever.

Where do I see myself in five years’ time? I suppose on a beach sipping cocktails isn’t the answer you’re looking for here… In all seriousness, I don’t know right now. I think sometimes it’s nice to live for right now.

Q&A time!

  • Full name: Kim Elizabeth Baulch
  • Birthday: 22nd September 1991
  • Star sign: Virgo/Libra (on the cusp of both, would say I’m more Librian though).
  • Loves: Travelling and experience new things and places.
  • Hates): Bugs, specifically spiders.
  • Favourite food: I don’t have a favourite food, although, Greek and Italian are high on the list.
  • Least favourite food: Sprouts bleughhhhh.
  • Favourite drink: Alcoholic – either wine or vodka. Non-alcoholic – I’m going to sound really boring now but I don’t really drink anything other than water and coffee.  
  • Most exciting/risky thing you’ve done:
    A few years ago I did a sky dive to raise money for the charity Make-A-Wish. It is 100% the craziest thing I have ever and probably will ever do. I don’t think I anticipated how nervous I would be. I remember the moment the doors opened and I had to scoot over to them and hang my whole body out of the plane – it still makes my stomach turn! I did force myself to have a quick look down before I had to put my head back ready for the jump.

    In training,  I remember my instructor telling me that he would count to 3 so I could prepare myself before he pushed us out, but because it was so noisy I couldn’t hear anything so it was a bit of a shock exit for me. It all happened really quickly to be honest, we were free falling for around 55 seconds then he pulled the parachute and from that point it took around 5 to 10 minutes to get to the ground. When I finally did get down I actually couldn’t stand up for a good minute as my legs were like jelly! Overall the experience was incredible, I raised a lot of money for a good cause and achieved something I never thought I’d be able to do!



  • If you could have three dinner guests, dead or alive, who would you invite and why? Michael Jackson, Princess Diana and James Corden. My reasoning behind these three are because I think Michael and Diana had really interesting lives and would have some great dinner table stories and James seems like a genuinely nice guy who would bring a comedy element to the evening.
  • Favourite saying: Believe in the impossible.
  • What did you learn last week? Mercedes taught me that Venus spins backwards.
  • Favourite song: I don’t have a favourite song, I like pretty much all music.
  • What’s something that no-one knows about you? Not a lot of people know that I used to sing competitively – I have taken part in the X Factor and also had experience with writing, recording and my co-producing my own songs.

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