[Editor’s note: Erik Rolfson is Prospect’s candidate to win that job on the Australian island you read about a few months ago. He wrote about his campaign here on First Drafts, and earlier this month won a vote which means he is down to the last ten candidates. Below he explains what it has been like so far, and what happens next.]
I took my daughter to an ice hockey game last Friday night. As we pulled up to the parking attendant’s booth, I didn’t see a credit card machine inside, so I asked the guy: “Cash only?” He replied, “Cash only, Mr. Australia.” I’m from Canada, but I knew what he was talking about. Yet as somebody who’s never previously sought out the spotlight, it’s still a little weird to be given this handle by a stranger in a parking lot. But that’s the thing about being in the running to win the Best Job In The World. People like the story. They want to hear about it. And if that means they know my face in supermarket, that’s ok.
I might not have sought the spotlight, but I have always been a sucker for a good story. (Much of my professional life has been spent obsessing over which stories will resonate with people.) And my admiration for the Best Job In The World campaign has only grown since I was selected as one of their finalist earlier this month. In particular, I’ve been able to see up close how people respond to the story. Believe me, it’s an easy sell.
I spent a lot of time in TV station green rooms those first few days, waiting my turn to go on air, and met an array of interesting guests backstage. But when word got out why I was there, all these interesting guests—and often the crew—would start asking questions. Wanting to see my story, I watched the evening news after the first day of interviews. The link before the ad break said: “coming up, we’ll tell you how a Canadian man is one step closer to landing the best job in the world…” I waited, thinking it would come in the next segment. But it didn’t, and they teased again before the next break. Again it didn’t run. My item ended up as the last on the newscast, bait to keep viewers around for the full 60 minutes.
The day after I…