In Average is Over I wrote that future jobs will require good “people skills” all the more. There is a new example of this from Solothurn, Switzerland, where the town is searching for a full-time hermit, to live of course in their hermitage. But now Solothurn has updated the job description:
Solothurn has updated the job description. “Along with acting as caretaker and sacristan, responsibilities include interaction with the many visitors,” the ad warns potential applicants.
“There’s a bit of a discrepancy between the job title of hermit and the fact he or she has to deal with throngs of visitors,” says Sergio Wyniger, the head of Solothurn’s city council. So far, the city has received 119 applications and expects to make a decision by next week.
The job of a hermit isn’t what it used to be. Tourists can easily reach once-secluded spots and modern technology makes it harder to escape friends and relatives—or strangers looking for advice on how to navigate life’s challenges. Today, many hermits live in city apartments or suburban row houses, often relying on the Internet to make a living or order groceries.
…On top of keeping the gorge and adjacent chapels clean and tidy, the new hermit will have to help out with weddings and baptisms and dole out counsel for visitors suffering heartbreak or family trouble. In return, the city council will pay him or her 1,000 Swiss francs ($1,115) a month, along with free lodging in the wood-shingled hermitage. The hermit works for and is paid by the city of Solothurn.
Perhaps someone should write a book on how the institution of hermit is evolving:
“Hermits usually have a mobile phone, because they can switch it off for prayers,” says Mr. Turina, who wrote his Ph.D. thesis on Catholic hermits in Italy.
The article is here.