Imagine getting paid to live on a luxury island, surrounded by books, with your feet dipped in the white sand. Sounds like a dream job, right? Well, the Maldives has the perfect offer for you then. But the only condition is that you have to stay barefoot almost all the time.
Alex McQueen, the Sales Manager of Ultimate Library, is seeking a passionate book lover, who is also adventurous and outgoing, to hire as a new recruit for a year-long contract of selling books on the remote island of Kunfunadhoo in the Indian Ocean. But the bookselling takes place barefoot since wearing shoes is banned on the beaches in the Maldives.
The contract starts from October and will require the new barefoot bookseller to run a bookshop daily and also do the accounting and stock management.
“The applicant will be there on their own, so they’re pretty much running the whole thing themselves,” said McQueen of Ultimate Library, which runs the bookshop with the Soneva Fushi resort and curates book collections for hotels, resorts, shops and private residences around the world.
On the island, interestingly, even reading a newspaper is frowned upon since it follows the strict ethos of no shoes, no news. Guests on the island, who are mostly wealthy, are encouraged to switch off from news and their electronic devices to reconnect with their roots.
“The ethos of the island is: no shoes, no news. They encourage guests to reconnect with the ground,” McQueen told The Guardian.
He further said that the bookseller needs to be a self-starter who will be happy to introduce themselves to the holidaymakers on the island and provide them with personalised book recommendations. The new recruit, therefore, should ideally be someone with experience in bookselling or publishing.
Accommodation and meals will be provided for free to the successful candidate, along with access to gym, spa and watersports like diving. The staff has their own private beach. Their basic salary will be $750 a month but there is a scope of extra income collected as “service fees” through running book-related workshops or classes.
The biggest challenge for 27-year-old Georgie Polhill who recently finished a six-month contract as a bookseller was getting used to the slow-paced life. “If you tried to fight it too much and harry everyone on to get things done, you would absolutely burst a blood vessel,” she said.
The woman who is now starting a career in theatre said that she came back as a very different person, having learned an entirely new culture and made friends who will last for a lifetime.
After coming back, readjusting to wearing shoes again “definitely felt weird” at first to her, she said, as she was so unused to wearing anything around her toes and heels for a very long time.