Well, if you haven’t heard the news by now, let us share this whopper of a headline: The U.S. Government is Hiring a Project Manager for Burning Man. Yes, Burning Man—that dusty, annual bacchanale of epic flame theatrics and… well, let’s just say what happens just outside of Las Vegas, stays just outside of Las Vegas.
According to the job posting from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM), there is currently one vacancy in Winnemucca, NV and they’re looking for a “dynamic and energetic” individual who is to “perform as project leader for complex projects such as “RMPs, major EIS’s and EA’s and Special Recreation Permits, in particular the Burning Man event, which have a broad scope and often require coordination outside the district organization.”
Broad scope? I’d say so.
If you’re not familiar with this unique event, Burning Man is actually a temporary, small city set up in an unforgiving, waterless desert. The numbers of attendees to this music, art and fire festival have exploded in recent years, with over 65,000 people attending in 2014. The BLM has capped the attendance limit at 70,000 according to permits, and the environmental implications have been well documented.
The Burning Man nonprofit, which has a robust board of directors, over 70 employees and earns revenue in excess of 32 million a year, sponsors the event which is a planners dream (or nightmare) in its own right. (The pyre of the burning man is usually an architectural marvel requiring extensive planning.) And of course the press has had a field day talking about this, as you would imagine.
So all this led us to wonder, what would the Burning Man project manager for the BLM actually do? While the mind can wander about the planning implied in managing nearly 70,000 people descending on a dusty playa with their campers and tents and disco balls, or the management of the gigantic burning man itself, designed to burn in a controlled fashion in the midst of all those tents, the reality of this position is a little, well, dull: “The job involved prolonged hours of sitting at a desk and working on a computer in an office environment.”
The BLM’s real function, and hence the new role of this project manager, is more along the likes of conducting environmental assessments, making traffic and public safety recommendations and issuing permits. Whether the project manager would be allowed to stay in the “Blue Pit”—a new request by BLM employees for a VIP-level camp for over 150 government employees who operate as staff on site—remains to be seen.
But in this climate, soft skills are a must. The negotiation between BLM and Burning Man staff for permitting creates media buzz nearly every year, as the party has grown along with costs.
Okay, it also said there were “frequent helicopter rides” as part of the job description, which does add a certain je ne sais quoi to the opportunity. And the pay isn’t half bad: $64-90k a year. But act soon: applications close Feb 8.
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The future of project management may or may not involve pyrotechnical tours of the desert, but it does involve the suite of tools at ProjectManager.com. Check it out for yourself with a free 30-day trial.