While recently winging my way across the South Pacific, I spotted an unusual job offer:
WANTED: Social worker, tax free salary of $60,000 with free accommodation and transportation, no experience necessary, must be flexible and self-sufficient.
With the unemployment rate stuck at 9.1%, and running as high as 45% for recent college grads, I was amazed that they were even advertising for such a job. Usually such plum positions get farmed out to a close relative of the hiring officials involved. Intrigued, I read on.
To apply you first had to fly to Auckland, then catch a flight to Tahiti. After that you must endure another long flight to the remote Gambler Island, then charter a boat for a 36-hour voyage. Once there, you had to row ashore to a hidden cove, as there was no dock, or even a beach.
It turns out that the job of a lifetime is on remote Pitcairn Island, some 2,700 miles ENE of New Zealand, home to the modern descedents of the mutineers of the HMS Bounty. History buffs will recall that in 1790 Fletcher Christian led a rebellion against the tyrannical Captain William Bligh, casting him adrift in a lifeboat.
He then kidnapped several Tahitian women and disappeared off the face of the earth. When he stumbled across Pitcairn, which was absent from contemporary charts, he burned the ship to avoid detection. An off-course British ship didn't find the island until some 40 years later, only to find that Christian had been killed for his involvement in a love triangle, decades earlier.
The job is not without its challenges. There is one doctor, and electric power is switched on only 10 hours a day. Supply ships visit only every three months. The local language is a blend of 18th century English and Tahitian called Pitkern, for which there is no dictionary. Previous workers have a history of going native. Oh, and 10% of the island's 54 residents are registered sex offenders, due to its long history of incest.
The next time someone you know complains about being unable to find a job, just tell them they are not looking hard enough, and to brush up on their Pitkern.