Step One: Apply
Facebook can be life-changing
Facebook has transformed the world. It has quite literally restructured the way we communicate and manage relationships in the 21st Century. But more than this cliché, it has also transformed my own life on a personal level.
Several years ago I came across a vague yet intriguing advert for international couriers. I took the risk and pursued the opportunity to become an Onboard Courier and since then have travelled to places I never imagined and clocked up a ridiculous amount of frequent flyer miles while I was at it. It has taught me complete flexibility and adaptability, endless patience, on-the-spot problem solving and the ability to talk to people from all walks of life. Now I am hoping Facebook can do the same thing twice.
How I found the job posting
Just a few days ago I was scrolling through my feed when I came across a post by a vintage bookshop that I follow, Bleak House. It was a link to an article about a new dream job on the market: a ‘barefoot bibliophile’ bookseller in a luxury resort in the Maldives.
“OK,” I thought. “This could be interesting.” Hoping it was more than just some clickbait rouse, I went through to the website and read the copy. I quickly realised that, in fact, this could actually be my dream job.
Manage a bookshop, work with “super-rich” clientele, conduct creative writing workshops and storytelling sessions for kids, maybe even host events with special guests and write a blog about it at the same time. All from the jaw-droppingly beautiful Soneva Fushi resort. Yes, yes, yes, this is definitely me.
Why I should be the Barefoot Bookseller
My passion for books
I have always been passionate about books. As a kid I would save up my pocket money to buy the latest Morris Gleitzman, Paul Jennings and Harry Potter paperbacks. After dedicating most of my reading time to academic articles while studying, I have recently gotten back into fiction. I consume everything from young adult to biographies to classics to romance to science fiction and beyond. But always, always as actual books. As far as I’m concerned, the respect we can give to a physical form of art is far greater than the appreciation of the convenience of the digital format. So to be in a bookshop, sharing my love for books and the stories within, would be a dream come true in itself, not to mention the exotic location.
Making book sales
Moreover, I believe I would excel at converting my passion and enthusiasm into sales through assisting luxury resort guests to develop their own personal libraries. I can just imagine one of the clientele saying “Oh, I picked this up while on holiday in the Maldives and I haven’t been the same since,” while showing off a copy of the cookbook Taste of the Maldives or Malala Andrialavidrazana’s Echoes (From Indian Ocean). Curating the bookshop itself would be a pleasure, and one that I would readily collaborate on with Mr Blackwell himself given the chance.
Experience with luxury clientele
On the day-to-day operations side of things, working professionally with ultra-high net worth individuals is nothing new to me. While supporting myself as a Masters student in Hong Kong I was employed as a Personal Assistant / Nanny for an elite expatriate family, the kind of which would regularly holiday at similar destinations. I learnt the importance of confidentiality and discreetness as well as the kinds of lifestyle choices such families typically make and their overall expectations of staff and service. So I understand what it takes to communicate with people from that upper upper-echelon and how to deliver what they want.
Experience in hospitality
My experience in hospitality working at the up-market gin bar Ping Pong 129 hosting and developing relationships with VIPs would also be of use here. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if I bumped into a few of my past regulars in this role.
Creative writing and storytelling
I realise the position is not just selling, but also conducting workshops. Over the years I have worked as an English teacher and private tutor in Cambodia, Thailand, Australia and now Hong Kong. Many of my lessons have been based on story writing and directing students to perfect their writing styles. Devising interesting, engaging and relevant lesson plans is not always an easy task but it’s one that I have taken on time and time again and feel positively confident in delivering. Hosting creative writing workshops would probably be one of the highlights of the role for me. I also enjoy working with children and find their delight in stories to be a strong motivator in improving my own storytelling abilities.
While I sit here and romanticise about the life I could be leading as a castaway bookseller, I also recognise the inevitable realities of running a business. Performing potentially mundane yet completely essential tasks such as stock taking, bookkeeping, cleaning, setting up displays and, of course, marketing (what is a business without any customers?) are all necessary to ensure the popup shop and my job alongside it would survive. I would undertake these responsibilities with complete diligence and attention to detail and find pleasure in managing a successful branch of the Ultimate Library.
On top of all this, I am ready for a break from the urban jungle that is Hong Kong. I have been living in this city that never sleeps nor stops to apologise for over five years and it’s time for a change. A sea-change, as Shakespeare might say, to do something I love in a tropical wonderland would indeed be my dream job. This is an unparalleled opportunity to take on a new challenge, adapt to a new environment and decide on a new future for myself. So this here blog post is my application and, I trust, my ticket to paradise.