Eighteen years of sleeping of experience. Check. Ability to fall asleep on a Sleepy’s mattress during daylight hours. Check.
At 24, Emily Barrett is the first person to hold the title of Sleepy’s Snooze Director. The position was created last year in an effort, Barrett speculates, to create a media buzz. But in the wake of nabbing the job, she has transformed the position into an integral role at the mattress retailer’s 4,200-square-foot headquarters in Hicksville, NY, where she helps manage Sleepy’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. Barrett’s friends – recent college graduates who are starting to move out and buy new mattresses – recruit her to tag along as their go-to mattress guru.
Unlike many in social media positions, Barrett isn’t a salesperson or public relations pro. Instead, she touts herself as the “Sleepy’s cheerleader” with the goal of educating consumers on how to improve health based on a good night’s sleep. “[Humans] spend about a third of their lives in bed,” she says. “You need to be willing to invest in your sleep. People tend to want to spend more money on their TVs than their mattresses.”
Editor’s note: the jury is still out on whether singles or couples sleep better at night.
Based in: Hicksville, NY
Graduated from: New York University, degree in media communications
Previous jobs: I graduated in May 2011, and was hired for this position in June 2011.
What qualified you for the Snooze Director position? At my past internships at radio stations, a big part of my job was blogging. I emphasized my personal use of social media and ability to make videos. Because Sleepy’s accepted applications through Facebook and YouTube, as well as through regular recruiting websites, applicants were able to show much more of who they really were.
How did you hear about the job? My aunt sent me a link to the posting on CareerBuilder.com. I was hesitant to apply, since it was just a temporary part-time position, but my aunt pushed me to. In September, I became a full-time employee.
Did you have to test mattresses as part of the interview process? After my first interview with the recruitment department, I was called into the Sleepy’s showroom do an interview for an evening segment on Channel 7 News with two other candidates. They set up a scene and had us jump from bed to bed, which is definitely something I’ve never done during an interview before. [You can watch the segment here. Be prepared for puns like “dream job” and “thinking out of the box spring.”]
Hours you sleep on a regular basis: At least eight or nine. I’m a really good sleeper – that might be another reason I got the job. [Laughs.] Even in college, I usually never got fewer than six hours of sleep and never pulled an all-nighter.
Any tips for those who have trouble falling asleep? White noise really helps me, as does my air conditioning – it’s important to be cool when you’re going to sleep. But at the end of the day, it always comes back your mattress.
Signs you’re ready for a new mattress: If you can see dips in it, or if you can’t remember when you purchased it. If it’s been more than five to seven years, it might be time for a new mattress, since our bodies change within that window of time. I actually just bought my first new mattress a few months ago.
Signs you’re ready for a new pillow: Take the pillow test. Fold your pillow in half and place a light weight on it, like a shoe or book. When you remove the weight, the pillow should flatten out. If it stays folded, that means it won’t hold the weight of your head, and it’s time for a new one.
Best part of your job: Interacting with other departments. Since everyone at the company sees my name and title on the Sleepy’s blog, they often reach out to me. I’m kind of the friendly face at Sleepy’s – the Sleepy’s cheerleader, if you will.
Most challenging part of your job: Along the same lines, lots of people are always reaching out to me with new projects, and it’s tough to stay on top of all of them. I’m a one-person team, so I can’t really delegate anything. At a certain point, I’ll know when to say “no” to new projects.
One gadget you can’t live without: Probably my cell phone – it’s the only alarm clock I have. I turn it on vibrate and place it upside-down on top of a pillow on my floor when I go to sleep, so I don’t hear it if I get a message in the middle of the night. Then, the sound kicks in for the alarm in the morning. I can’t remember the last time I used an actual alarm clock.
Are you an advocate of naps? Personally, I don’t take naps, but I advocate for them (unless you’re an insomniac). I’m a big fan of offices that allow naptime; it single-handedly increases productivity tenfold.
Some workplaces, like The Huffington Post, encourage employees to use their nap pods. I’m in awe of that.
Are you a coffee drinker? I love coffee, but I stick to one cup in the morning. This job really made me cut back from college, when I drank multiple cups every day. Cutting out your afternoon coffee can really help you fall asleep at night. I even tried an experiment in which I completely stopped drinking coffee for one week. It made me realize I didn’t need coffee for energy, and I felt that I was sleeping more deeply.
Perks of the job: Sleepy’s sent me to the Kingsdown factory in North Carolina, one of the last mattress manufacturers in the United States, where I got to see the whole process of making a mattress. It kind of looked like making a sandwich, but with metal, foam, and automatic sewing machines. Another perk is being able to help my friends and family when they complain about getting a bad night’s sleep.
Annual salary: Between $30,000 and $40,000.
LAUNCHING YOUR CAREER>>
Take a chance on crazy jobs. I applied to the Snooze Director position on a whim, and now, I’m well-respected within the company. Be persistent and confident, and let your personality shine.
More from No Joe Schmo: meet the Oscar Mayer Hotdogger, who is another recent college graduate.