Interview with Erik Rolfsen

Thu 02 Apr 2009

With just hours to till the announcement of the top 10 Best Job in the World applicants sought some answers from the top 50 that have now endured months of blogging, interviews and sleepness nights as they campaign be the first "Island Caretaker" for the Great Barrier Reef.

We received this response from Erik Rolfsen in Vancouver about his campaign.

1.When you started out with BJITw did you consider the amount of time that you would have to put in to eventually be the island caretaker?
Not at all. I knew doing a decent video would take me a few days, but I never really gave much thought to what might happen if I were to make the top 50. That would have been getting ahead of myself.

2. How many hours would you estimate that you have put into your campaign?
Yikes. At least 40 hours. That’s on top of a demanding full-time job and life with two demanding pre-schoolers.

3. Who has been in the most inspirational and supportive in your campaign (outside your folks)?
My wife, Lora, has been the most supportive but much credit is also due the old friends who came out of the woodwork to vote for me and send well wishes. I took a lot of inspiration from fellow shortlisted candidates as well. The ones I’ve had contact with have been very supportive, and seeing their clever campaigning always got me motivated to do more myself.

4. There has been some media and internet coverage that has been quite critical of the campaign. Have you come in for any direct flak for your success thus far? How did you feel about it?
I’ve had only a small amount of negative feedback in the form of comments on internet forums and web articles about the competition. Of course there are people who don’t think I deserved to make it as far as I did, but everyone’s entitled to their opinion. I developed a pretty thick skin while running the sports section of our newspaper for four years, and I know very well that you can’t please everybody. I don’t take these things personally.

5. What is the most important thing you have learned during the process?
The most important thing I’ve learned is to give these things a shot! It’s pretty easy to say to yourself, “Oh, I’ll never win,” and use that as an excuse for not entering. But somebody has to be chosen. If you don’t enter, you can’t be chosen. And that goes for a lot of things in life.

6. Should you not eventually become the IC, what does life look like after the dust has settled?
Life looks very much the same - extremely busy. I'll still have an important role to play at our newsroom as we deal with the challenges of the economy and the shift to online. And we'll be getting started later this year on a major renovation to our house. We just won't have the Caretaker salary to help fund it!