Attention, earnest young strivers whose skillsets have yet to find practical application in “the real world” and whose applications have yet to catch the eye of the casting directors of The Real World: The Wall Street Journal has found the perfect job for you and it is sooo Downton Abbey. You, yes you, could rake in as much as $200K a year as an estate manager, and all you would need to do is cater to homeowners with “a lot of home to handle,” many of whom only live in their palatial mansions for a few months a year. Use the following steps as a sort of job description, and before you know it you could be managing an L.A. estate for members of a Saudi royal family with a staff of 75:
1. Be ready to perform duties including “everything from patrolling the tennis court to stretching the owner’s Manolo Blahnik heels.” (Maybe try putting water-filled Ziplocs in the toe and setting them in the freezer?)
2. Going off the experience of one estate manager who lives in the guest quarters on his client’s Beverly Hills estate, an average 12-hour shift involves entering the house 10-20 times a day for “regular security sweeps, meetings with the housekeepers and landscaper, and a maintenance inspection of all nine refrigerators, eight air conditioners and 12 bathrooms.”
3. It’s important to know where to draw the line, though: “I don’t fold people’s laundry or underwear, but I am an accommodator.”
4. You could also draw the line at taking care of tropical fish. “When they die and the owner cries for a week,” says one manager, “I’m not going to be responsible.”
5. Still, you can expect to find the following on a list of chores: “Check the salinity level of the indoor saltwater pool; polish about 15 bronze statues, including a giraffe and a mermaid; tidy up the meditation room with the large Buddha statue; regularly flush all seven toilets and run the steam showers.” Between tidying up around the Buddha and accommodating your clients’ lack of toilet use, remember your mantra, “I am not an accommodator.” Repeat it often.
6. Other duties may include taking the boat out on the lake “to warm up the engine,” and spending five years nurturing a pair of prized bonsai trees “that needed to be treated like children.”
7. Absolute discretion is key: “My children don’t know who I work for—my parents don’t know who I work for.”
8. Other helpful attributes include “reliability” and “moxie.” Positions go to everyone from ex security professionals to former fashion models, though for one estate manager, being from a “big Italian family” was qualification enough.
9. Colorful duties said backgrounds would make you perfect for include scouring the country “for a manufacturer of a specialty tile imported from Italy,” finding a “voodoo priest to bless the owner’s new house,” and carrying “non-FDA approved drugs” for clients. These kinds of responsibilities are why “trust is so important.”
10. Think of it this way: You are, In the words of an L.A. estate manager, “running a company, and the company just happens to be a family of five.” Be sure to inquire about stock options.