The job market has been bad for a very long time, but there are high paying careers out there. Apparently being a butler is one of them!
Free room and board plus up to a hundred thousand dollars a year – why not consider being a butler? You don’t even need a college degree, and as long as you are healthy and active, it doesn’t matter what your age is either. You might even get to travel to exotic places and live in palatial homes. Married? No problem, hire out as a couple. But, if you have a family, you might want to consider other options first, or if you can’t stomach long hours and hard work, you might want to consider other options as well.
What Does a Butler Do?
What are some of the things you might do as a butler? Here is a partial list:
- Hire, train and oversee other household staff.
- Assign staff to clean certain areas of the mansion.
- Make travel arrangements for the family.
- Lay out clothes for tonight’s function – making sure they are ready, the ensemble is complete and the outfit is appropriate for the occasion.
- Coach your employer (subtly) in social etiquette and protocol. Your employer may be new to wealth and may not understand how to behave in their new social circles. Teach by example on things such as knowing the proper wine to serve to setting the right table service or demonstrating the proper way to refer to an object to appear refined. For example, if the employer says ‘toilet’ the butler responds by referring to it as the ‘lavatory’.
- Receive visitors. Not only by opening the door the proper way and greeting them, but making sure their guest rooms are ready with fresh linens and flowers, special dietary concerns are met and coordinating schedules for them as needed.
- Organize and oversee special events, such as barbeque parties, luncheons, receptions and etc.
- Oversee multiple dwellings.
- Coordinate repairs and maintenance and supervise contractors doing it – for the houses, boats, barns, planes, and stables.
- Keep the household’s books and budgets.
- Set up household security, audio visual, and other electronic gizmos and gadgets.
- Organize and stock a wine cellar, polish the silver and crystal.
- Act as a personal assistant to your employer, keeping their calendar, answering correspondence, the phone and etc.
Do You Have to Be a Guy?
How Do You Learn to Be a Butler?
William Loeffler ( in the Pittsburg Tribune article “The butler does it”), says “In America, aspiring butlers might train at the Starkey International Institute for Household Management in Denver, or at the International Institute of Modern Butlers, which has offices in Clearwater, Fla.”
Schools such as these teach aspiring butlers the ins and outs of service – including the highly focused detailed orientation needed. Future butlers learn such things as how to iron a french cuff in 3 seconds, how to care for a collection of antique wood furniture, how to clip a 1926 Pardona cigar, where to find 1020 thread sheet sets and how to serve a plated lunch vs. a family lunch. In addition students are expected to learn how to care for most everything in a wealthy home, organize and deal with household staff, find the best hotel in unbelievably small and remote locations and anticipate any and every need of the boss.
Boot camps exist that run for 4 – 8 weeks and cost upwards of $12,000 to teach these things. Trainees live on site and are typically provided with uniforms and roommates.
You can even buy an electronic book or enroll in correspondence courses to get trained.
Specialized training can be had for those wanting to enter butler positions on board cruise ships and in hotels.
You can also mentor under the guidance of an experienced butler, as an intern.
See the resources at the bottom for some of the butler training facilities available.
How Do You Find a Job?
According to Robert Frank in Richistan – a Journey Through the American Wealth Boom and the Lives of the New Rich, “Catering to the rich – once considered dead end service work – is now a hot career track”.
Just last December (2011), Bloomberg news ran a story on the increased demand for household service help, including butlers, is coming from the growing numbers of millionaires and billionaires in China, the mid-east and in Russia.
So how do you get a job as a butler once you have trained? It’s not as if you know scads of billionaires desperately requiring service. Never fear, there are butler placement agencies as well as placement arms at most of the butler training schools.
See the resources below for links to placement services.
Would you be a butler? How about a ‘household manager’ – a very similar set of duties with an updated title?