Help Wanted: Must Sort Mail, and Count Penguins

April 23, 2022

Putting in my app.

Washington Post:

Hundreds of people around the world are applying for a coveted job to run the world’s most remote post office. The position is based in Antarctica, and one of the key specifications is the ability to count penguins.

Four candidates will be chosen to fill the five-month role at Port Lockroy— affectionally dubbed the “Penguin Post Office.” The nearly-80-year-old building is on British-owned Goudier Island, which is about the size of a football field and is populated by hundreds of penguins.

The post office doubles as a museum and is managed by the U.K. Antarctic Heritage Trust. Each year, the British charity hires four postmasters to live on the island from November to March.

Although employees each have unique roles, they are collectively responsible for maintaining the historic site and catering to the thousands of tourists who come by boat during the season. The staff is also in charge of wildlife monitoring — which includes tallying penguins — and environmental data collection.

Applicants are warned it’s not a glamorous job. Employees must live without running water, Internet or cellphone service for five months. The team resides together in a small lodge, where they sleep in bunk beds and share a single bathroom and camping toilet. Visiting ships will offer showers when they stop by.

“Living there is quite hard work,” explained Camilla Nichol, the chief executive of the trust. “You might be working 12-hour days. There’s not much time for rest and relaxation.”

Still, the job is widely sought-after. The charity — which preserves and protects several historic sites and artifacts in Antarctica — gets hundreds of applications annually for the postmaster position. One year, more than 2,500 candidates applied.

“We get people of all ages from all over the world,” Nichol said, adding that candidates “from all walks of life” apply for the six-month contract. “We are looking for people who are fit and resilient and really love meeting people and visitors.”

Applicants for the four positions — which include base leader, shop manager and two general assistants — must be eligible to work in the United Kingdom, and the application deadline is April 25. Successful candidates will do a week of training in Cambridge, then head to Antarctica in October, where they will remain until March 2023.

One Response to “Help Wanted: Must Sort Mail, and Count Penguins”

  1. Gingerbaker Says:

    “…one of the key specifications is the ability to count penguins.”

    Just count the number of flippers and divide by two.

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