Monday, January 17, 2011

A Butler's Job Description: Holy Cow!

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My employers are philanthropists and political fund raisers, and as such they entertain a lot .  But I mean a lot!  My skills as Butler -- such as receiving guests at the front door, taking their coats and escorting them to their hosts--all these duties come into play way too often around here!  

For most any event, of course, the guests all arrive more-or-less at the same time.  (If nothing else, rich people are punctual!)  And if it's a large party there's Valet Parkers out front, and I'll have help at the front door with additional staff on hand to help receive coats -- which expedites the whole  process.

As the rich run in tight little circles, after three years working here I know many of the guests by name.  And some of them know me by name as well (which is always rather nice).  I do enjoy this part of the job -- "Congressman so-and-so, Senator so-and-so, come right this way."   I'm really good at this, and even remember some of their favorite cocktails, or how many shots they request therein.  Ha! 

Now, that's one of the fun parts.

Then there's all the "other stuff".  Oh, dear God! 

-Running a twenty-two thousand sq/ft home with museum-quality furniture.  
-Overseeing the eleven-acre manicured grounds.
-Taking care of the puppies.
-Overseeing routine maintenance for all the vehicles 
-Managing the household budget. 
-Staff scheduling, and payroll.
-Hiring and training new employees.
-Scheduling and keeping up with dozens of vendors and contractors. 
-Serving as Personal Assistant to the Missus (the Mister is fairly independent). 
-Shopping for the house, and often for the Missus (another really fun part of the job!).

And all the above in addition to putting up with whatever crabby moods my employers might be in at the moment!  

Then there's the errands.  Endless never-ending errands!  Honestly I'm in the car half the day, running all over town.  But I enjoy this part of the job too--getting away from the estate, cranking up the music and heading to the nearest Starbucks for a take-out coffee.

And last but hardly least,  for the chef's two days off  I, me, moi have to make the evening meal!  What?  I did live in Italy for a while and know some nice pasta recipes.  So that gets me a long way. But beyond that, I'm an absolute culinary fraud!

What on earth do you make a billionaire for dinner?

It's a crazy job all in all, but creative and challenging in so many ways.  The best part being no two days are ever alike in this nutty world of the super rich.

Thanks for stopping by tonight.  Hope this sheds some light on the subject.

Good night,
Andrew
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ADDENDUM:  September 10, 2011

After several requests, I did attempt a more detailed description of a Butler's job description in a July 15 post entitled "What Is A Typical Day for a Butler?"  There are some basic responsibilities to the job, but again no two days are ever alike.

10 comments:

  1. I have been thinking about going into private service, so this was both fun to read and informative. But I guess every family would be different, right?

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  2. There are some basic requirements to keep the house running smoothly, but your daily activities depend entirely upon the needs and whims of your employers.

    And as you said, every family is different, and likewise their needs. That's why it's so hard to describe a "typical day". Ha!

    Good luck with your endeavors, and keep us informed.

    Andrew

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  3. I love your job! I'm working in a high-dollar hotel in Las Vegas and wondering what private service might be like. Thanks for writing about this. It gives me a better idea.

    Billy Edwards

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  4. Hi Billy! Thanks for writing to me. I have a background in hotels as well. But be vey careful in your decision.

    In a hotel you work with a guest for a day or two, and then they're gone. In private service, you're stuck with the same "guest" day after day, months and years on end. There's a difference! Ha!

    Andrew

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  5. ANDREW!!!

    I just got a job as Chaufer and Auto-Maintenance Tech for a family here in Vegas that has 18 cars in their collection.

    Thanks for opening my eyes to private service!!!

    Billy

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  6. AWESOME, BILLY!!!!

    Congratulations to you! There are many ways to enter private service without having to go to butler school!

    Please keep in touch. And let us know of any fun events with your new job! (I only have seven cars to deal with, so I know you've got your hands full!)

    ALL BEST WISHES!
    Andrew

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  7. Andrew,

    Reading your comments has been somewhat of an eye-opener. It has given me insight as to the division of jobs when I hire staff. I would think the diversity of the position would be one of the pluses, but it doesn't sound that way. When I hire staff, I'll be certain to assign positions that are not overpowering (my home is also in the 20 thousand+ sf area

    Thanx for the insight

    Pamela

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for this comment, Ms Pamela! But I've evidently given you the wrong impression with my admittedly-negative sense of humor.

      While definite job descriptions are helpful, and yes overloading should be avoided, at the same time cross training and job diversity is a huge plus. Every staff member should be able to step in wherever needed for special events or simply to cover other staff for sick days, vacations, and so forth.

      Not only does this keep the house running smoothly but also keeps the job from getting boring.

      Thanks again for your comment. Please stop by any time with questions or additional comments.

      Andrew

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  8. Perhaps some of you might find my book "The American Butler"
    informative and ever so amusing. It is a good read for anyone interested in or participating in, the butler business. Available @ Amazon.com and/or barnesandnoble.com
    Regards to all - Larry Oren Knight, Master Butler
    larryorenknight825@gmail.com Formerly Senior Butler, The Bellagio Hotel, LV

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    Replies
    1. Your book looks interesting, Mr. Knight. Thanks for recommending it.

      I wish I could say I was in your category of professionalism. But alas, I fear not. Ha!

      Do stop by any time. And feel free to correct me wherever you see fit.

      Andrew

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