Employee of the Week 

Kristoffer Osthus Interpreter Raytheon Technical Services Company

It's no secret that people work strange jobs in order to live in the wonderland that is Portland, Oregon. Folks with Ph.D.s work at Powell's, every barista seems to have a master's degree, and legions of people actually commute to LA and even NYC. It seems certain skill sets just aren't valued in the City that Works. Kristoffer Osthus is a case in point. Matriculated from the "Harvard of the Midwest," Carleton College, this 30-year-old former Army sergeant is fluent in Russian and Spanish and has security clearances up the yazoo. But in Portland these skills don't quite translate, so he commutes, too—to SIBERIA. Ideally Kris would work in Portland and enjoy the beautiful Mt. Tabor house he just bought, but instead he spends half his time inhabiting a Spartan dorm room in the most famously Spartan corner of Earth. There he punches the clock at a US surveillance site that monitors the production of Russian Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, reads more tabloids and periodicals than is healthy, and devotes lots of time to his workout program. Once a week he and his comrades are permitted a foray to a nearby WiFi hotspot where they can check their email and MySpace accounts (however, no photos of any sort make it through the wires). Every 18 weeks, Kris comes home for five weeks, and is available for a long-distance relationship.

What is Siberia like?

It's not really Siberia... It's 200 miles west of the Ural Mountains, which is where Siberia starts.

Close enough. So, what's it like there?

The weather is very much like northern Wisconsin. Summers are hot and humid with tons of mosquitoes, and winters are extremely cold, maybe 40 below zero. There are pine trees and birch trees, but no wildlife other than lizards, thanks in large part to Russia's wonderful conservation efforts.

What do you do for fun in Siberia?

We have a really nice, well-equipped gym and a sauna. Some people drink a lot.

Are there any hot babes?

We can't hook up with the locals, who are hot. The average age of the women onsite is 62. The average weight is... no comment.

Is this anything like the labor camps that Siberia is famous for?

Again, it's not Siberia, but nobody's pointing guns at us if we stop working for a few minutes.

What do you look forward to about going back there?

All the back issues of People I get to read during my 12-hour shifts in a data-collection center. I know a lot about Lindsay Lohan. VIVA LAS VEGAS

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