"The best job in the world" is the tagline for a contest being sponsored by Tourism Queensland, in Australia. The "job" is to be caretaker of a home on Hamilton Island, one of the larger inhabited islands above Australia's Great Barrier Reef. The job includes round-trip air fare, six months accommodations in the house. . . and $100,000 (US). The caretaker is expected to take care of the house, enjoy the Great Barrier Reef, and blog about it once a week.
The Caretaker of the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef is a newly created position. There are a few minor tasks that need to be taken care of, but the most important duty is to report back to Tourism Queensland (and the world) and let us know what's taking place on the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef.
To apply, contestants submitted a video of less than one minute saying why they'd be good at the job and demonstrating knowledge of the area.
As of three days ago, 19,000 videos had been submitted, but I'm sure there was a mad rush at the end. (They had to take the whole thing offline recently, then said they hired more staff and cranked it back up.) I'm looking forward to seeing how many people ended up applying.
How could I not apply? My video is in there somewhere if you can find it. It wasn't easy! First, whittling a statement down to less than one minute. Then, figuring out how to record something even halfway "entertaining and engaging" (their words) on my cell phone, with no ability to edit. Allan and I did it together, and we managed to come up with something that didn't totally suck. I have no chance of winning, but I'll be damned if I would miss the opportunity to apply!
You might wonder why I never mentioned this before. Therein lies a story, of course.
When I was in university, I applied for a unique scholarship offered by an alumnus of my school. The scholarship paid for two years of graduate study at any university in the UK. There was a long, complicated application process, including a written application, an essay, and several interviews.
Up to that point in my life, I had never wanted anything as much as I wanted this. I spent high school in a haze of pot smoke, and my only motivation for applying to university at all was to get out of the nightmare that was my parents' home. So being motivated to go after anything was a new experience for me, and for this, I was highly motivated. I worked on the application like I had never worked on anything before.
I made the finals.
Finalists - I don't remember how many, perhaps a dozen - were taken for a weekend at the benefactors' estate in Pennsylvania. There, we each made a five-minute presentation to the group and defended it against debate, had a personal interview with the benefactor, and participated in planned social events. No more than six people would win the scholarship.
The weekend was very stressful for me. I had confidence in my academic abilities and somewhat in my interview abilities, but socially, I felt like a misfit. I also put enormous pressure on myself and never fully relaxed. It was a great experience, and I returned to campus happy and buoyant, but thinking back, my best self never shone through my nerves.
I didn't get the scholarship.
But that wasn't the worst part.
At the time I lived on campus in a high-rise apartment with a strange bunch of women with whom I got along, but wasn't friends. I refer to them as my Nazi roommates. Diehard neocons. Strange life I had.
One of my roommates heard about the scholarship through me. She wasn't completely sold on the idea, and I talked her into applying. You see it coming, right?
She was very careful not to celebrate or act wildly happy in front of me, and I was very careful to heartily congratulate her and act as happy as I could. But still. Ouch. Mega ouch.
I felt like a complete idiot for having helped her apply. I'm generally not a competitive person. I like to share information, and I like to be helpful. I don't think of the people in my life as my competition. But looking back, I ask myself, what was I thinking? Why did I do that?
When I heard about TBJITW, of course my first impulse was to blog about it. Then I thought: Thouron Award. What if, by some one-in-a-zillion chance, someone heard about TBJITW on wmtc, applied, and won? Or even was a finalist? Call me selfish, but I decided that anyone who applied for TBJITW wouldn't hear about it through me.
Here's what happens. From the tens of thousands of video applications Tourism Queensland has received, 50 will be shortlisted. Those 50 people will go through online testing, submit a more detailed application, and their videos will be on the website. There'll be online voting on the videos.
From the short list, 10 people will be chosen by Tourism Queensland, and a 11th Wild Card will be chosen through the online voting.
These 12 people will be flown to Islands of the Great Barrier Reef for a "Final Interview Event" over a week in May. The winner is chosen on the last day of the Interview Event, and starts "work" on July 1.
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What if I had won the Thouron Award? I would have studied British literature at Oxford. I would have never met Allan. I would have lived a completely different life. Who would I be now? I can only wonder. It makes me laugh to think of it.
The Best Job In The World