China's 'Hotel Test Sleeper' Enjoys History’s Most Comfortable Job
It might not rate up there with blogging from a sun-drenched island but when it comes to dream jobs, Zhang Yumo has got no complaints. Since March of 2011 she has diligently conducted her duties as a “Professional Hotel Test Sleeper,” one of only six in China certified by the China Hotel Association.
Lest you think hopping from one bed to another and being paid to do so is somehow unseemly, consider that the lovely Miss Zhang was selected from over 7,000 applicants by travel website Qunar. The selection process weighed a number of pertinent factors but Zhang's qualifications and past work experience put her on top.
Zhang Yumo is an art college graduate with experience in illustration, she's worked as a television director, displays competence in both writing and photography, and in her previous occupation she freelanced for a handicraft brand. Qunar's judges deemed these attributes as being especially useful for her work as a hotel test sleeper... and it IS work, as Zhang explains:
“Our work is not nearly as easy as everyone thinks. Writing comments/evaluations is just one aspect of the many the job entails. In fact, there is still a lot of work stress. It requires a lot of attention to detail, patience, and responsibility.” Methinks the lady doth protest too much, but there's more. “Because there are tasks, within the one day you are staying [in the hotel], you need to be highly concentrated, observe every detail, and also use a camera or digital video recorder to record everything you see and think, and using microblogs, video, etc. and netizen comments, in the end you must complete a very detailed experience report.”
The procedures Zhang follows when testing a hotel are conducted in secret with no prior notice being given to hotel management. In this way, she's able to make “fair and objective comments” on the hotel's food, services and overall suitability for travelers.
Zhang's duties as a Hotel Test Sleeper go beyond those one might presume from the job's title. In a nutshell, she is both a traveler and an observer who documents her experiences whether good, bad or mediocre. She may not want to order room service as a personal preference but she'll do it as part of her job. Everything gets tested and rated, beginning with the hotel's service, environment, cleanliness, price, dining and more. Is the mattress too hard? Is the air conditioner effective, and if so, does it operate quietly? How about the bathroom shower, is the water pressure sufficient? Are the drains free-flowing?
Zhang Yumo leaves no duvet cover unturned in her quest to test, and her findings must be documented in a series of reports. After delivering her summaries to her employer, they're published online where net-savvy travelers consider them to be an invaluable reference.
Gee Miss Zhang, maybe we took your job of Hotel Test Sleeper far too lightly, huh? Or not... “No need to punch in for work, often visit various hotels, vacation is also work, there are even a big group of fans on the internet, and every month there can be an easy ten thousand yuan income.” That's over $1,500... hardly chump change in China where wages may be lower than in the West but the same goes for prices.
As a member of China's post-80s generation, Zhang Yumo takes pride in being out of the ordinary. She's fashionable dressed, avoids stultifying 9-to-5 drudgery, and firmly believes “life is about ‘change’”.
Having achieved what many in China, not to mention the world, would treasure as a dream job, Zhang still has dreams of her own. Her aim someday is to open a “Mediterranean style art hotel with a private library, designed according to her own aesthetic, with all of the artwork made by herself.” And, one might add, every bed will have been carefully tested. (via ChinaSMACK and Ifeng)
Please sign up for my latest chinese inventions articles here.