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Wintering in Antarctica / South Pole?

I passed up applying at Signal Mountain Lodge after finding out it's possible to apply for jobs in Antarctica! I was recently rejected by Raytheon Polar Services for a Sr. Computer Tech job at McMurdo Station in Antarctica for 2008-09. This was the only job posting I had any qualifications for (the rest were highly skilled trades or managers).

Rather than accept working in a cubicle for another year, I'm wondering how to get a job wintering at the South Pole? I think maybe I'm not shooting high enough and over-wintering at the South Pole Station seems to me like the ultimate adventure. I'd be willing to do anything - dishwasher, janitor, but I've never seen those types of jobs posted at RPSC - only skilled trades and at least 4-10 year experience jobs. If not at South Pole Station, would it be easier to get a job wintering at McMurdo?

Is my only choice at this point to wait until spring to apply for Antarctic summer 2009-10 positions and possibly have the same thing happen to me?

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Comment by DavidRei on February 8, 2011 at 10:54am
Update: applied for 2009-10 and 2010-11 without hearing back. Ready to apply again for 2011-12. Fourth year of applying and wondering if my resume makes me look overqualified, or if I'm unemployable without having adventure travel and seasonal work written all over my resume. Ready to quit a depressing, dead end IT career and just low-budget travel around the world until I find something or money runs out. I'm sick of the consumerist rat race. These adventures and the people I'll meet will bring me more success in life than just sitting in a cubicle.
Comment by DavidRei on July 21, 2009 at 4:01pm
Ok- I ended up being rejected by NANA. The email response I got back was puzzling, essentially telling me I didn't have enough experience to be a janitor. I applied for several Computer Tech jobs with Raytheon Polar Services for 2009-10 early this year, and haven't heard back about any. They have all disappeared from the job postings. Now I'm at a loss on how I can possibly expect to get into Antarctica even with several years of experience as an IT professional at a government facility. I'm willing to do just about any job, even willing to winter at the South Pole- THAT would be the experience of a lifetime!

I'm guessing the only way to get into USAP is to have been there before, or know someone who has. Cronyism at its best. Is anyone on here willing to refer me? Also, do I have to get a degree in janitorial services at an accredited university, and have 10 years experience as a janitor before NANA looks at my application to mop floors?

Sorry if I sound pissed, just a little jaded.
Comment by Tim Smith on August 26, 2008 at 3:09pm
I really feel like I need to help a fellow techie out, even if you might become competition for jobs in Antarctica as some point. Finding out about jobs in Antarctica isn't the easiest thing to do. I'd like to think they (Raytheon) make it difficult so that only those that are really interested apply, but I doubt it.

First question is why did you apply for the Sr. Computer Tech position? You should have gone for the plain old computer technician. I applied for both positions this year and I managed to get the plain old Computer Technician. Just a guess, but I'm assuming they only give the Sr. jobs to those that have been before (just a guess), or those that are wildly overqualified. You should apply for the plain old computer technician job next time around.

As for wintering. Just know that on top of all the normal things you have to do to qualify you have to do a psych exam and a handful of additional medical tests (chest xrays and some other stuff). The medical qualifications are HUGE just for the summer season. A local doctor told me the physical was the most extensive physical she had seen in her career (she was about 60 too).
- Drug test (urine)
- Blood tests (lots of vials)
- Full physical (full is an understatement)
- 12 lead EKG (kinda fun)
- Full dental exam with xrays of every tooth
- Removal of wisdom teeth if they are present (I'm currently nursing 3 holes in my mouth from this requirement)
- TB skin test

Luckily since we're both young we get to avoid all the other fun tests too like the treadmill stress tests and lots of other "fun" exams that involve rubber gloves.

As for your final question about the low end jobs. I was wondering about this one for months and months and I finally got an answer from someone that had already been. The NSF contracts out station management to Raytheon and they hire all the skilled workers like construction people and comp techies, and then they subcontract basic station management to a company called NANA. If you want a job washing dishes, cooking, driving a truck, etc then you work for NANA.

My advice: Apply for Computer Technician for the 2009-10 Summer season and perhaps we'll see each other on the ice then.

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