While browsing the New Scientist job pages, I discovered a position that looked like it would be relatively stress free and which would also give me an opportunity to get some much needed practice at my Christmas present wrapping skills - Packaging Assessment Manager for Nirex.
Now, Nirex - from what I understand - are in charge of developing solutions for the safe disposal of the UK's nuclear waste and are quite open about the problem they face:
"...the UK has been generating radioactive waste since the 1950s and has accumulated a large volume, some of which will remain hazardous for tens of thousands of years. Even without additional nuclear reactors, that amounts to about 460,000m3. Nirex sets the standards and specifications for packaging that waste..."
So, as Packaging Assessment Manager I'd have to make sure that the wrapping was neat and orderly, that not too much sellotape was used (after all, Nirex aren't made of money) and that the gift tags were neatly written (it would be a shame for them to end up in the wrong hands). In addition, Nirex intend to use the Phased Geological Repository Concept - basically put, this involves all the boxes being wrapped up and then put into a big hole in the ground (with a handy note attached saying 'not to be opened until Christmas, 50,000AD).
However, I was a bit worried about the effects of wrapping nuclear waste on a day-to-day basis - after all, just think how many paper cuts I'd get and I always seem to find a way to catch myself on those sellotape dispensers - so I decided that I would instead look for something less hazardous to my health. And, thus, my attention turned to the Antipodes...
New Zealand is regarded by many as one of the world's top travel destinations - its varied climate, culturally diverse cities and rugged natural beauty making it increasingly popular with tourists - but, just beneath the surface, lurks a problem that has largely escaped the media's attention. It was only while scanning through the Guardian job pages that I discovered the deep-rooted sociological and cultural confusion that riddles much of the population - evidenced by the New Zealand International Aid & Development Agency's attempt to hire a Gender Advisor.
I'm not sure exactly when and where this confusion arose - although some scientists have pointed to the launch of the Guyliner range of cosmetics as being the tipping point that sent the whole problem firmly tumbling into the abyss - but I'm certain that I can help solve the problem.
I would recommend a cursory (and fully clothed) physical examination for starters - with more detailed examinations only being required for those specific individuals who arouse my scientific curiosity. For example, when considering the current crop of New Zealanders, I feel that Peter Jackson would only require a long-range physical examination (and quite possibly not even that - I could probably do it over the phone) while it is possible that supermodel Kylie Bax may demand slightly more attention...
I wasn't hesitant when the application form asked me "what contribution do you think you would make if you were appointed to this position?":
I believe that I would bring a fresh approach to the problems faced in this area; combining an empathic nature with a scientific methodology. I think it is important to develop a suitable screening process that allows for issues to be resolved in distinct phases - determining which individuals can be dealt with from a distance and which will require considerable personal interaction. I feel that, if I were appointed to the position, I would be able to contribute a great deal and help reduce the percentage of individuals who have to suffer.
Hopefully, they'll give my application serious consideration and let me deal with New Zealand's burgeoning gender confusion issues - I'm sure I can sort them out...