Just another FNGWannabe…except for one thing

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    I am not a superstitious man, nor am I prone to fits of sentimentality.  I do not believe in fate or destiny, and use the terms “luck” and “statistical aberration” interchangably.  Yet there are some moments where one must acknowledge their own innate human instinct and proclaim something to be known only through the faculities of the heart.
    I belong in Antarctica.
    There, I said it, I’m now a member of a not-so-exclusive club of FNG-Wannabes.  I accept that.  And I feel for those people who are in all respects like me and want to go to Antarctica so badly that it is the first thing we think of when we wake up in the morning.  I have all but ceased to function, and the only future I can conceive of has constant daylight and lots of ice.
    So I have applied for the position of Help Desk Support.  Not because I’m too good for GA/DA/Janitor, but because unlike the latter the position is still open.  I am qualified for the position, I have 2 years of help desk experience and a BA in Computer Science.  I was wondering a couple things though:
    1) I live in New Zealand.  I am an American citizen, born and raised, but I have dual citizenship.  Does this make me more or less desirable to RPSC types, considering I won’t be needing airfare to NZ or compensation for a visa?  Is there anyone in Christchurch I could talk to who could help me?
    2) Am I just wishing on a star going for even a slightly technical position?  Am I up against PhD’s and Steve Jobs types?  If so, why I this position still open at this late stage, is that a good sign or a bad sign?
    3)  It’s been a week and They haven’t called.  I’m going absolutely nuts, it’s all I can think about.  If They ever do call I’m afraid all I’ll be able to muster is choked, gutteral nonsense, but I’ll cross that bridge if I come to it.  How long until they start wrapping up the hiring process?
    This message is long.  Brevity eludes me and I apologise, but I haven’t told anyone about this and now it’s just carthartically pouring out of me.  Any and all help will be appreciated and complemented with several prayers to your health and general well-being.  Cheers!


    Wow, You really want to go, Huh? I’ll answer what I can.
    1) Does living in NZ help or hurt. I’m not sure. There have been a couple of people I know of that have been hired out of NZ. Some American, Some Kiwi. I would guess that it would be a help for the winter season if they needed someone at the last minute and there wasn’t enough time to hire someone from the states. If you could quit your job and be ready to go in a day, I would certainly let someone know.
    I take it you are not on the South Island otherwise you would have already been to Christchurch to visit the International Antarctic Center. The next time you get down there drop into the US Antarctic Program Offices and have a heart to heart with them about whether they do any hiring out of the office. They should be of help. The offices are on the same site as the tourist attraction. It’s all staffed by Kiwis so as always they are polite and helpful.
    2) Technical Jobs- Just because it’s still listed doesn’t mean it’s still open for sure. It’s been pointed out that there is a time lag from the time someone gets a signed contract to the time he gets PQ’d medically and then gets everything wrapped up. The help desk person may be in the system. On the other hand never let the lack of a listed job discourage you. There are so many people who for one reason or another drop out at the last minute. My normal advice to people is to go to the Denver Job Fair and get permission from the recruiters to keep in touch with them. Obviously you would have a hard time, but maybe the HR dept in Christchurch can put you in touch with someone in Denver. It’s worth a try.
     3) How long does it take. Answer, a long time. If you mailed or emailed your application you are in the pile with 5 million other people who on a lark might go to antarctica or might not. As with any job, you need to find a way to move your application to the top of the pile. As in the previous answer I would say see if you can get permission from from the Christchurch HR Dept to get a phone number of a dept head someplace to keep in touch. If they are sympathic and give you a phone number in Denver then by all means call. When you do stress your background and stress that you can be there in a day if they need you. Keep in mind that there is only help desk position, but lot’s of related computer support jobs. Let them know your adaptabiliy with your BS in Computers and let them tell you of other jobs you might go for. Rember also, getting any job gets you in the system and makes it easier to get what you want the next year.
    Good luck


    I agree with Mike.  Just keep at it!  Turn over every stone!  Politely bug those who can help you!  Let your enthusiasm show!  Sell yourself!  Good luck!


    “f you could quit your job and be ready to go in a day, I would certainly let someone know.”
    I would be ready to go in six hours, if it weren’t for the required medical/dental exams.  I don’t believe there’s anything physically wrong with me (I’m fit enough to play rugby, in any case).  I travel light.   I have no strings attached, I am about as flexible as I will ever be in my life.  If there is any  body you could speak to on my behalf I would be eternally grateful, and I would be appreciative in any case (F.Y.I., prayers are sent as per my promise, not smething that comes easy to someone as cynical as myself).
    I have applied to other IT type jobs, and expressed my willingness to leave at a moments notice.  I’ve only discovered the world of McMurdo since about 2 weeks ago: it’s a strange thing, I’m decidedly punctual in my day-to-day life, but in all matters related to Timing I’m hopeless.  One of the great ironies of my life.  I’m afraid you might be right: the gears are moving, things are happening behind the scenes…I won’t lose complete hope until October the first, but it will be a tortuous process of doubt until then.  Again, if you know people who know people, consider me available for anything.  I have been working hard in manual labour (home renovation business in NYC, factory work in NZ) for some time, I’m not above anything that scrapes out a living.
    The whole recuitment process stands against my personality.  Badgering, pestering, persistence is something that I have felt very strongly against, but it seems I’m going to have to eat my own words in the face of something I really want.  If we’re lucky we’ll all learn something new about ourselves at least once a year.
    Thanks again Mike and Sharon…enjoy the Ice in any case, whether I make it or not.  I’ll just be up north somewhere, curled up in the fetal position, sobbing gently to myself.  Don’t let it bring you down (hehe!).


    Julian, I don’t know if badgering and pestering are necessarily a good way to approach the  issue. Like I said, get permission to keep in touch and then do it. Not in a bad annoying way, but in a way that makes them feel that you are a valuable asset to use if everything goes wrong at the last minute.
    Also don’t think of October first as a  deadline. You could be hired at any point in the season. Summer is from Oct to Feb, but if someone gets ill in November could you be available for December to Feb or even on into the winter?
    Another thought on the matter. You might as well give Scott Base a try as well.
    The NZ antarctic programme is also located at the International Antarctic Center in Christchurch. There has been at least one American that I know of that went to Scott Base. Also try to get on with one of the science groups as a helper or computer support. Who knows what will drop in your lap.

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