An ad that went up on Craigslist this week from a rather demanding perhaps delusionally so San Francisco couple for a personal assistant was absurd enough to make many wonder whether it might be fake/satire. The entitlement and intense lack of self-awareness of certain New San Francisco denizens is ripe fodder for satire, after all. But no, the thing appears all too real, and the couple or one half of the couple, anyway has actually responded to several requests for information from some bloggers in the last few days, and they would like everyone to know that they are unfazed by the negative attention, and maybe their critics need to "check their own entitlement."
All we get by way of further identifying info is that both halves of this couple work in biotech, which is something they've added to the updated job posting which, by the way, has changed the compensation promised from $25-$30 an hour, to $15-$35 an hour. The poster responded to SFGate's inquiries saying, "The job ad is honest and transparent and on top of the cash compensation the person who fills the role will gain some amazing work and life experience." They've also changed another detail: The original ad said they were a 30-something couple, and now it says they're 40-something.
And by "amazing work and life experience" s/he appears to be referring to cleaning up dog vomit, chasing said dog into the ocean, arranging flowers, doing dishes, cooking, giving manicures, conducting "investment research," "taking notes" while they're on important business calls, and updating the couple's social media.
As for that latter task, the poster clarified to Ars Technica's Cyrus Farivar over email that "The social media is mostly for the dog. We hate taking photos and interacting with social media but it's also nice to have a timeline of great memories with our cute dog [whom they don't have time to walk or bathe], which our family and friends would love to see as well." Just imagine if they had children!
Farivar posted the whole reply on Twitter, and it also includes some defensiveness about how they've gotten twice as many "legit" seeming applications for the job as they have hate mail, and "Unfortunately, none of the hate mail had any helpful criticism. It was all along the lines of 'I'm too good for that job at that price' or 'you should get a wife' or 'you are terrible people.' I think all reflective of either jealousy, sexism or entitlement."
S/he says that they are open to hiring more than one person for all the duties laid out, but s/he says, "We're pretty confident it can be handled in 40 hours a week."
Perhaps what made the ad so funny to most of us, and so horrifying, is that we don't live in an age of Downton Abbey-style indentured servitude anymore, and most employers (even in Hollywood) aren't typically so transparent about the breadth of their needs and wants in a personal assistant/slave. Not to mention that yes, while $30 an hour would be "twice the minimum wage," as the poster says defensively, that's closer to the top of the range they say they want to pay, and the extent of the demands here probably calls for a lot more money a well off Noe Valley couple, for instance, advertised a similar position last year that paid $175,000 a year. If you're going to be on-call 24 hours a day and perhaps risking your life to save a dog who swims too far into the ocean, that salary is getting closer to a reasonable one.
Slate notes that the ad "strikes several bizarre notes that border on offensive (most specifically in its all-caps insistence on English-language FLUENCY) and scream micromanager." On a positive note, they say the ad is evidence that "even annoying people in Silicon Valley have begun to realize the value of housework."
But if this is just an indicator of the kind of entitlement and absurd asks that are being rolled into all kinds of job ads these days, Employment Sadness may just have to become a regular column here.