BARELY a month goes by without an email from my eagle-eyed mother with the words ‘darling, I saw this and thought of you…’ and a link to apply for the ‘best job in the world’, be it a water-slide tester in Dubai or a panda cuddler in China.
It’s a term that’s been bandied about a bit too much. Tourism Queensland pioneered the ‘best job in the world’ gimmick in 2009 when it advertised for a caretaker for Hamilton Island, a palm-fringed dream escape in the Whitsunday Islands. It was a brilliant campaign that attracted not only tens of thousands of applicants but the attention of the world’s press. Of course, it was a publicity stunt (it won the Cannes Lions PR Grand Prix award) with remarkably impressive results, and has encouraged legions of copycat job adverts since.
Just this year I’ve seen booking engine Hotels.com recruiting for a ‘poolhop’ to test hotel pools, drink cocktails and document it all for Instagram; someone is wanted to test-drive supercars and yachts for online site HushHush; and there’s a job paying $10,000 (£8,000) to travel around the US eating barbecue ribs (actually, I’m quite tempted by this one).
Are these really dream jobs or just marketing stunts dreamed up by PRs? My money’s on the latter. Rosé All Day, a brand that started out as a hashtag (no, really) and now sells pink wine, is ‘casting’ for a ‘rosé influencer’ to get paid to go to France’s Languedoc region and take selfies of themselves drinking glasses of rosé. To apply, you just need to follow @rose_all_day on Instagram and tag the account with your rosé-supping pics. All very nice but I imagine the likelihood of anyone older than 25 who doesn’t look like a Love Islander actually winning it is remarkably slim.
Even my dog, Miss Babs, has a dream job in her sights as canine critic for dog-friendly holiday rental company Canine Cottages. It is looking for ten PR-aware doggies to road-test its cottages and woof about them on social media. The selection panel, which includes last year’s critic, Poppy the cockerpoo, are looking for dogs with ‘personality and an obvious love of travel and adventure’. I’ve warned Miss Babs not to get her hopes up — the ad has already attracted 20,000 starry-eyed pups.
But some gigs actually are the dream. Last year, an advert in The New York Times caught the eye of the world’s travel writers when they advertised for someone to travel the globe for a year reporting for its 52 Places column. More than 13,000 hopefuls applied and Jada Yuan, an experienced journalist from New York, was awarded the contract based on her skill, talent and personality rather than just looking good on Instagram.
So maybe I’ll apply next year — that is, if I can get a sabbatical from cuddling baby pandas.