Last month, the owners of a a cat sanctuary on a remote Greek island ("a small paradise no less," is how they describe it), posted an ad on Facebook saying they were looking for someone to take over their 55-cat operation temporarily.

It would be a dream job for the right person, they thought--a cat lover obviously, but also someone who wanted to live for a time in relative seclusion (save for the cats) in a "tiny house" that would be included as part of the compensation, with a "direct view to the Aegean Sea!" 

"PLEASE SHARE THIS POST FAR AND WIDE!!" they wrote on Facebook, hoping to get 25 or even 50 replies.   

They got 40,000, in a matter of weeks, reports Karin Brulliard of The Washington Post

As you can imagine, just reviewing applications became a full time job for the husband and wife team who run the sanctuary, Joan and Richard Bowell, originally from Denmark and England, but now living on the Greek island of Syros. 

Day after day in August, Joan Bowell said, she received as many as 1,600 emails, from people in 90 countries around the globe. 

"Some were letters from refugees who wanted to send the pay to their families back home, and some were from women seeking to flee abusive relationships," according to the Post. "Several were from people who'd tried to run their own cat rescues."

The sheer number astounded them, and they tried to make clear that while the job is in a place many would consider paradise, and the job is only expected to take four hours a day, it's actual work that "entails heartbreak ... (when it might be time to have a cat put down!)," and that it does involve scooping poop and clearing up cat vomit!"

Still, the applications came. Finally, they zeroed in on one applicant: a 62-year-old Californian named Jeffyne Telson, whose husband found the job ad and forwarded it to her. 

"He said, 'Jeffyne, this job has you written all over it. Are you going to wait until you're too old to try to access your dream?'" Telson told the Post

Her qualifications: She ran a sanctuary of her own in Santa Barbara, Calif., and had visited Greece several times. The Bowells flew to California to interview her, and sure enough Telson was offered and accepted the job.

As it turns out, she'll probably run the sanctuary for just a few months before turning it over to other finalists from the candidate search, according to the Post.

It turns out there were many other good candidates. Which I find heartening both for the fortunes of the sanctuary, but also for anyone else trying to hire and fill important roles. There are people out there. You just need to find ways to make the jobs you need to hire for sound enticing, and figure out how to get the word out.

Then you can wind up recruiting someone who is as perfect for the job as Telson seems for this one.

"This will be a wonderful opportunity to spend with just cats," she told the Post about what she was most looking forward to: living along with 55 cats for a few months. "And, I think, a time of reflection and gratefulness."
 

Published on: Sep 26, 2018
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