Learn about the one weird job you can do if you live in Antartica.
If you’ve ever had aspirations to live and work in Antarctica but found that employment opportunities are a bit sparse, you may finally be in luck! The Penguin Post Office, which is situated on the western side of the Antarctic peninsula, has listed an opening for the role of a penguin postal worker. NPR reported that job duties could include sorting the incoming mail, selling stamps to a few folks, and to pass the time, perhaps, counting some penguins.
The Penguin Post Office, which is a part of the British Antarctic Territory, is largely in operation because of the tourist and research groups that frequent the region where its located. The Penguin Post Office sits on Goudier Island. The Island and its post office are historic sights that are maintained by the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust (UKAHT). A large penguin population also calls the island home. The combination of historic significance and adorable penguins combine to draw nearly 20,000 visitors each year. Hence, the need for a penguin postal worker.
If the job of penguin postal worker is shaping up to look more and more like a career for you, you can apply for the role on the UKAHT’s website. However, before taking the frigid plunge it’s pertinent to realize that the penguin postal worker role is not for the faint of heart. For that matter, living or working in Antarctica, in general, is a big undertaking. First, the position itself is only seasonal. This is because for much of the year Antarctica is completely inhospitable. However, even in the “warmer” months daily highs rarely exceed 23-degrees Fahrenheit.
Furthermore, while accommodations for penguin postal workers are provided, they are not exactly comfortable. All employees dorm inside a single room. To make things even more challenging, there is no running water in or around the facilities. Antarctica’s frigid environment doesn’t make installing indoor plumbing a feasible reality. Thus, postal workers are required to use and empty a camping-style toilet. No running water also means no showers, sometimes for weeks. Penguin postal workers only get the chance to shower when visiting ships arrive in port. The time in-between visits, though, is exceedingly inconsistent.
There are a few other stipulations a penguin postal worker has to be concerned with, too. Emergency medical services are absolutely nonexistent. Hence, the UKAHT highlights in its employee information packet that getting medical attention in an emergent situation can reportedly take up to a week. This is because of the time it would take for help to arrive and then the additional time it would take for a person to be transported off-island to a hospital.
Lastly, and perhaps ironically, the communication that a penguin postal worker will be able to have with their loved ones while serving their season-long tenure will be scarce, at best. All in all, becoming a penguin postal worker is not as glamorous as it might appear to be from its title. In this case, it may be better to leave the penguin counting to the penguins themselves.