Lessons I’ve learned from dream jobs I’ve had

Petsitter: 1. If the pets aren’t friendly or at least fun to watch, it’s hard to want to do the job again, no matter how awesome it is (like, even stay-for-free-in-a-gorgeous-old-Parisian-apartment awesome). 2. One of your friends will try to taste kibble, just because it’s there.

Film critic: 1. It’s not as fun to go to the movies if you have to. 2. I will always, always hate myself for saying that.

Vacation rental manager: 1. You start to think of guests in terms of how much laundry you’ll have to do when they leave. 2. A surprising number of people from countries around the world like to eat in bed — and don’t seem to mind sleeping on sharp potato chip crumbs. 3. Even the kindest, cleanest-seeming guests may leave horrifying amounts of hair that will cling to everything from the sheets, to your dryer’s lint trap.

Freelance writer: 1. You’re never actually free (viz. clients who drop you, forget to pay, delay payment, reject pitches….). 2. Money actually does matter.

is a writer & worrier. She lives in Paris with an eccentric Frenchman, a clever toddler, & a charming cat. Besides them, she loves books, travel, & cookies.

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