Butlering doesn’t exactly look like fun. When Buckingham Palace posted a recruitment advert for a butler last week, it made the job sound absolutely gruelling. Not only was it a seven-day, 45-hours-a-week position, but the salary paid almost £1.60 an hour less than the London living wage. You would have thought that the literal queen of England might have had deeper pockets.
Much better, at least at first, is the butler vacancy recently posted to Jobs in Childcare by a wealthy Russian family, which pays three times more than the Buckingham Palace gig. However, it does come with a number of quite specific instructions. The successful applicant must live in London and speak at least two languages with, at minimum, a working level of Russian. They must know all the best restaurants in London and the south of France. They must be able to “be a diplomat and be able to solve any issue at school, at a shop, at a salon for the benefit of the family”. They must watch the televised adaptation of Jeeves and Wooster “to see what is expected from the butler”. And, since the family has an astrological bent, the candidate will preferably be a Sagittarius, Virgo, Aquarius, Capricorn or Leo.
They must watch the televised adaptation of Jeeves and Wooster “to see what is expected from the butler”.
Getting shoved around by a Wodehouse-obsessed billionaire family with a horoscope fixation sounds terrible, and makes this advert one of the most unreasonable of the year. It joins the one posted by an anonymous Australian entrepreneur in January, which stated that the successful applicant would have to be “stable” and “loyal”, “expect after-hours and weekend calls”, able to “deal with profanity” and not “take things personally”.
Then there was the 56-year-old divorced man who in 2017 posted a Craigslist ad because he wanted to take someone to Coachella. Except not just anyone, because his criteria included: someone between the ages of 19 and 25, who “must keep hands and feet moisturised at all times … be OK with periodic hand-holding … allow me to brush your hair once per day” and: “At least twice during the festival you must tell me in a playful manner that I am naughty.” Suddenly, butlering doesn’t sound so bad.