It’s one of those too-good-to-be-true job advertisements.
For one thing, the tagline calls it “the best job around the world!” (And yes, the exclamation mark is included). The “chief world explorer” also promises a year of international travel, napping on beaches and a $100,000 paycheck.
The company is Jauntaroo, and it helps match people with the perfect vacation destination — hence the need for a new chief world explorer to essentially promote the company.
Park Ridge native and 2005 Maine South graduate Mickey Mangan admits it’s a long shot, but he’s among 50 applicants up for the job, thanks to videos he created and submitted as part of the application process. His first short video highlighted Cologne, Germany, where he had been living and working for two years. The second, which can be viewed at www.bestjobaroundtheworld.com, is a two-and-a-half-minute piece highlighting the people and places of Bayonne, N.J., a city of 63,000 east of Newark. Mangan produced the film “over the course of two sleepless days,” he says.
“I honestly do believe I have the best two videos of anyone who applied,” he said. “I get the sense the applicants were putting an emphasis on themselves, but I decided to not include a single word about myself and just show the quality material I am able to produce all on my own.”
Mangan sees the job promotion as an ad campaign for Jauntaroo, as the company has received free nationwide publicity as a result of the unusual position. But he doesn’t mind — he’s having fun and hopes he’ll be among the final five contestants chosen for an in-person interview later this month.
But Mangan’s material isn’t the only thing that will determine if he gets the job; he also needs to accumulate as many “likes” on the video as possible.
The winner is expected to be announced this November. If he doesn’t win, Mangan is looking to focus on another endeavor, his “Lernen to Talk Show.” It’s a video project showing how ordinary people learn languages while living abroad.
Q: What made you want to apply for the chief world explorer job?
A: I first heard of it because a friend of mine emailed me a link to the job opening. I had never heard of the company Jauntaroo before. When I read the job description, I thought it spoke to me specifically because it talked about needing somebody who loves to travel, connect with local cultures and produce video content to be published online.
Q: What made you choose Bayonne, N.J. as the town you profiled?
A: I got an email from the company saying they liked my first video and I was one of the people chosen for the top 50 (finalists). I had only seven days to do the video. I was on tour with my brother’s band, Jet W. Lee. I play bass when they tour sometimes, and we were in New Jersey. The task was to make a video of your town as if you were the chief world explorer. I would have done it for Park Ridge, but I wasn’t going to be in Park Ridge until after the deadline. So I picked Bayonne because I wanted a smaller place, I wanted a place that would highlight my abilities as a travel host. I thought if I could make a small town exciting, then that says a lot about what I can do on camera.
The one thing that surprised me was that trying to tell a story about the place you’re in can help you appreciate that place. I never went to Bayonne before, but I love it now. When you try to be creative about something, you end up caring about it more.
Q: If you did a travel video on Park Ridge, what would you highlight?
A: I would combine it with my own story. When I talk about Park Ridge with anyone, I always emphasize the vertical street signs and how we’re all better at reading vertically because of the signs. I’d also mention that Hillary Clinton lived here and how I loved the Pickwick. The Pickwick would definitely be in it. I like District 64 so I’d definitely show Lincoln Middle School and Roosevelt (where I went to school). I’d talk about the new development in Uptown, too, and about my favorite restaurant, Siam Thai. That’s the first place I tried pad thai.
Since I’ve been back to Park Ridge, I’ve been appreciating it in a different light. Like how the trees look when the sun shines. That’s something I never noticed before, until I came back.
Q: If you’re chosen as chief world explorer, what exactly would your job be?
A: They’ve kept it kind of vague. They said in the job description that the chief world explorer would be something of a figurehead of the company and do media appearances.
It would be a lot of going to particular travel destinations and essentially advertising different places. Personally, I would love to have this job because it would be a way to practice my filmmaking. I’m pretty much self-taught when it comes to making videos and when I think about making 50 videos in one year, I couldn’t imagine a better way to practice. That’s what really appeals to me: supporting myself while cutting my teeth on filmmaking.