Are you in good shape? Able to carry a big, heavy box over slippery rocks and slushy snow? Happy not to shower for up to a month, live in close proximity to three people and 2,000 smelly penguins for five months with no power, heat or hot water and limited communications on a small island off the coast of Antarctica?
If so, we have the job for you!
The U.K. Antarctic Heritage Trust is looking for assistants to help run its post office museum and gift shop at Port Lockroy. Applications are currently being accepted for up to four full-time seasonal positions at the remote outpost, which is visited each summer (November through March) by 18,000 people — who come by boat twice a day — and processes about 70,000 pieces of mail. Applications are due on Feb. 27.
The UK Antarctic Heritage Trust (UKAHT) said it had received so many applications to work at the Antarctic post office at Port Lockroy that its website crashed thrice.
Port Lockroy stands on a grizzled outcrop named Goudier Island, which is the size of a primary school playing field. There is no running water and the average temperature at the place hovers around -10 degrees Celsius. It was established as a base in 1944 and operated as a research station until it closed in 1962. In 1996, it was restored as a living museum under the Antarctic Treaty.
Applicants included ex-servicemen, scientists and students.
The location is so remote that even helicopters are unable to reach there, which means the nearest doctor is three days away on a ship. There is also no internet or wi-fi connection, no central heating, no phone signal, and no means of communication with the world other than through VHF radio.
You don’t need to have post office experience to apply, but you do need an unusual skill set.
Can you demonstrate that you have most or all of the following?
- Good physical and medical fitness
- Confidence — can you give a talk without aids to 200 people and represent the UKAHT ‘live’ on TV and radio?
- Retail experience with good customer focus
- Competence and confidence with spreadsheet design and formulae
- Hands on DIY/practical skills — can you use hand tools proficiently?
- Coordination — can you carry a big heavy box over slippery rocks and slushy snow whilst dodging penguins?
- Environmental awareness and practical knowledge of minimum impact living
- Practical knowledge of another language as well as English
Do you possess the following attributes also?
- Ability to get on with it. Can you identify what needs doing and get on and do it without having to be asked, whether it be washing up, sweeping the floor or digging snow?
- Quick learner – can you take an instruction in person or in writing and get on and do it efficiently?
- Awareness of your surroundings/situation
- Initiative – can you think on your feet and act?
- Adaptability to different situations – Are you happy not to shower for up to a month, live in close proximity to three people and 2,000 smelly penguins for five months?
As well as being passionate about the Antarctic, you need to be:
- Personable – do you value getting on with others? Can you live and work with just three others for five months and be friendly and cooperative throughout?
- Positive – can you enthuse to visitors when it is -5C° and blowing a blizzard as well as cook supper cheerfully after a long cold day and very little sleep?
- Conscientious – will you be doing your best day in day out for 5 months?
- Meticulous – can you keep accurate records be it penguin eggs, t-shirts, or food stock?
Prospective staffers must also be “prepared to be on call and smiling for all waking hours, seven days a week.” Not that you’d sleep, anyway. The average temperature on the island is about 36 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, with almost 24 hours of sunlight.
The “smelly penguins” in question, gentoos, established a colony on the island in the mid-1980s and are the subject of an ongoing study by the British Antarctic Survey. As a result, half of the tiny island is off-limits to staff and visitors — which is why you must be “happy to be confined to a small island with no prospect of climbing the surrounding peaks”.
The position pays about £1,100 (or $1,250) a month. Those selected for an interview will need to be available May 11 to 12 in Cambridge; successful applicants will need to be available for an additional five days of training in September.
Jane Cooper, 37, from Gloucestershire, worked as postmistress the season before last and said it was the “opportunity of a lifetime”.
Source Credits: Business Standard, Dylan Stableford – Yahoo News, Tom Rowley – Special Correspondent in The Telegraph UK