I’ve been a babysitter for more than half my life. I grew up in Hartland, Michigan—a town of about 15,000 people between Detroit and Lansing—and my babysitting career began pretty typically for a suburban kid: I went from watching my younger brothers and cousins on occasion, to babysitting children in my subdivision, to babysitting all around my hometown after I got my driver’s license. I continued babysitting on and off for the next few years, but had stopped almost entirely by the time I graduated college.
For a few months in the fall of 2012, I became something of an expert in Craigslist studies. A recent college graduate, I was a part-time unpaid intern and part-time retail employee. New to New York, I lived with four other underemployed recent grads in a three-bedroom apartment in Bed-Stuy, sleeping on the top bunk of an IKEA children’s bunk bed called “TROMSO.” I was living mainly on graduation gift money and savings from a summer spent working at UPS, supplemented by my $10 an hour retail gig. After one too many meals of $1 Trader Joe’s spaghetti noodles, I found a solution: Craigslist studies.
All of which is to say, don’t quit your day job, or if you do, don’t join a 20-person brass band.