And he didn't even call in sick!

December 30, 2009


By Trevor Dunn, Associate Producer, CBC News

Even the best job in the world has its drawbacks.

Last Spring, Australian tourism officials starting accepting resumes for what they called "The Best Job In The World". The gig was working as a caretaker for a tropical island on Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

It was a pretty rigorous application process. Thousands of people from around the world wanted the job. Seven Canadians made the shortlist.

In the end, Britain's Ben Southall was the big winner. He was shipped off to Queensland for six months of fun in the sun.

Now surely Southall knew there were going to be some risks. Sunburns -- always dangerous of course -- and salt water in your eyes -- that's no picnic. But this is best job in the world. What else could go wrong?

Well, poisonous jellyfish, that's what!

On his last week on the job, Southhall was out for spin on his Jet Ski when he was stung by a tiny, lethal jellyfish. It started with a little stinging sensation on his forearm, but symptoms quickly worsened: fever, headache, lower back pain, chest tightness and high blood pressure followed

The culprit was the Irukandji jellyfish. The peanut-sized creature packs a potentially deadly punch. It's venemous sting killed two tourists in 2002.

Southall was luckier though. He was released from hospital the same day and has since made a full recovery.

But it turns out Southall wasn't exactly the best employee in the world. Wetsuits -- or stinger suits -- are recommended this time of year in Australia and he admits he should have been wearing one.

You can find the whole story on Southall's blog.

And before you start feeling sorry for him, check out the rest of his entries: scuba diving, surfing, cuddly koala bears, it's all part of the job.

Yeah, I'd say the poisonous jellyfish is a minor workplace hazard. Nothing to call HR about.

Nicole Ireland, Producer, World Report

Nicole Ireland, Producer, World Report