Monday, March 2, 2009

Doors open, conversations

Well, I know fairly definitively that I have secured an opportunity to return to the South Pole in the same role as I did this last time. It was interesting talking to my supervisor again and having yet another vastly different hiring experience with respect to going to the Ice. This time the job was the same, no great socio-economic leap from dishwasher to research associate, but the unknown of how I would do in the job and weather the environment of Pole was erased. Having "been there, done that" goes a long way towards making employers comfortable hiring anybody for this sort of experience. This isn't anything new, though:
"The personnel of an expedition of the character I proposed is a factor on which success depends to a very large extent. The men selected must be qualified for the work, and they must also have the special qualifications required to meet polar conditions. They must be able to live together in harmony for a long period without outside communication, and it must be remembered that the men whose desires lead them to the untrodden paths of the world have generally marked individuality."
~Ernest Shackleton (1874—1922)

Knowing folks that have gone through the same experience, well similar experiences actually, of such an undertaking is also a pretty good card to hold in your hand. So much of the way the experiences of a year at a station like Pole unfold has to do with the people that are there. If you know a good number of the folks you will be with, you can worry less about unknown character traits coming forth and disrupting the community. Whether you like it or not, you do get pretty well acquainted with people living this closely to them.
"In Antarctica you get to know people so well that in comparison you do not seem to know the people in civilization at all."
~Apsley Cherry-Garrard (1886—1959), The Worst Journey in the World

Anyhow, the ball has started rolling to ensure this is an option for me to really consider for future employment. With all the news of the failing economy, I'm very much thinking it might be a smart move to come in from the cold and go back to the South Pole. I'll keep you updated.


Becky said...

As I recall, you were a late choice for the Winter-so if you get called by NASA you can give someone else a chance at the last minute.
Maybe I'm wrong, and am remembering the scramble the last time I was down to fill the winter slots at the pole.

EthanG said...

Nope, I had a year contract last time from the very get-go. That's what would be happening this time around as well. Last chance stuff for science support isn't much fun, so I'd be staying for the night unless something drastically awesome were to present itself out in the World.