Why Airbnb is a perfect Atypical career

Being an Airbnb hostess has been the making of me, as my ‘career’ has never followed a normal path.

I’ve been marched out of Silver Circle law firms after three months by security, not even understanding why. I’ve had to sign NDAs to leave after 2 months. I’ve failed my probation on more than one occasion. I’ve been accused of bullying, of arrogance, of childishness. So many failures, so few successes. I’ve jumped from law to charities, from homelessness to housing, but time and time again, even when I’ve felt well liked or competent failure lurked around the corner.

I’ve just been diagnosed with ADHD, and at 41, it’s like a light has been switched on. Every criticism I’ve ever heard, and the list is pretty exhaustive, could read like a sodding symptom list for ADHD! I’m beginning to wonder if I even have a personality or I’m just a ball of symptoms and coping mechanisms!

So now rather than carry so many negatives from, so so many, critical bosses, I’ve realised I should be more thankful for the one or two exceptions. Those who didn’t mind that I said things that no one else would, that laughed at my inappropriate jokes, or that I worked late hours or that my methods were hard to understand and my desk was a mess.

So to the 4 decent bosses (Katherine the uber intelligent property lawyer, John the caring charity CEO who’s 37 year career and dry humour made me bearable [I hope although he did also help me move into another field!], Charlotte the rising star CEO who said she didn’t feel comfortable telling me what to do, and mostly didn’t, and Dominic, the second career boss, now on his third or fourth successful project who, I’m fairly sure, actually liked my honesty and creativity. So in 20 years less than half my working life was spent feeling happy and appreciated! Thanks to them for embracing the chaos of my atypical brain! Those brave enough to cope with people who think differently!

Especially when I think about the vitriol I’ve provoked from my French Teacher, my Music Teacher, the boss who rubbed her hands in glee whilst issuing a personal critique, that the entire staff thought I was ‘rude, arrogant & up myself’. That people can be so very angry at someone simply because they’re different is so revealing of their world view. In a world where you can be anything a!!

So, all in all, work never really worked out for me and five years ago I got my first flat and began the journey to full time Airbnb superhost. This job works so very perfectly for my ADHD brain it feels almost too good to be true!

Airbnb and ADHD: The perfect combo?

My Airbnb’s are bright and arty and filled with fun. They reflect my personality and hopefully the creativity that’s meant to come with ADHD. (See pic https://www.airbnb.com/h/folkestonehols)

1. Channeling my Hyperactivity.

I now do an average of 150,000-200,000 steps a week. Cleaning and maintaining my properties is super active so it’s a great channel for my Hyperactivity. I don’t ever really feel tired so it’s great to have a use for all my extra energy and to be physically tired at the end of the day helps me stress less about my sleep issues (another common ADHD symptom).

2. I get to dictate my hours!

Then there’s the fact that I get to start my day when I choose. I have a late check out at my properties of 12 noon. I absolutely loathe getting up early. Working in an office was brutal. I’m physically not capable of sensible thought until 12 noon. Now I don’t have to be EVER and the joy this freedom brings me, just keeps on giving! I can declare ‘I don’t do mornings’ and feel a warm and happy glow inside. It’s wonderful to be able to say what suits me is not what suits the rest of the world and that’s just fine because I can do me!

Mornings are for tea and crosswords, or ambling to my nearest deli for avocado sourdough. Leisurely unstructured.

In conclusion

I’m healthier, happier and richer, I have way more free time and way more freedom and I never again have to experience the judgement of a neurotypical boss’s inability to fathom me and my way of working.

But ultimately, working as my own boss and hosting people through a community means I’m free to set my own schedule and standards. With feedback given publicly it rarely hurts as much as those one-to-ones, as people tend to give practical rather than personal feedback (although ADHDers are often oversensitive to criticism so I’m still working on that!).

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