For those who fret at seeing the percentage of the 1%, it seems that those who live in that financial bracket are rubbing our nose in it even more by hiring butlers. Yes, if you can imagine, the super wealthy are now going back to a time when butlers did everything for millionaires and subsequently became caricatures in the process. But is it a new job prospect that could help the world economy, even if it’s seemingly highlighting the ever-widening economic gap? So far, the butler renaissance is happening only in the U.K. and China.
Those who follow British lit, movies, and TV know that being a butler there is a tradition that goes back to the Victorian Era. And plenty has been written showing the realities of the job, including living under almost austere conditions due to low pay or sometimes similarly through their own volition. We’ve even seen movies where female butlers were severely mistreated, particularly in parts of the U.K.
It seems Britain realized this over time, and butlers sank out of favor through each ensuing decade. Regardless, CBS reports that the U.K. has suddenly seen an influx of new butler jobs in the last year. Reportedly, 10,000 of them now work in homes of the mega rich there, which is a spike from being only in the mere hundreds within the last few decades. Over in China where economic growth is happening at enviable levels, butlers are being hired in many different wealthy households. This gives a whole new view of China where we’ve never seen evidence of them taking on the concept of hiring and training butlers.
The view of the butler has perhaps changed recently thanks to shows like “Downton Abbey” giving a more appealing spin on such a career. This doesn’t take away from the reality that butlers have to devote their lives to being an assistant to a very rich person or family. It’s a job prospect that seems a new generation wouldn’t want to take on, until realizing how much they’re being paid now.
Will Butler Jobs Become Common in America?
When you see how much butlers in the U.K. are currently being paid, don’t be surprised to see the 1% in America start hiring out butlers to cater to their life whims. In the earlier CBS report, it’s reported one butler in the U.K. earns well over $100,000 a year, which only makes sense when working for someone who’s a near billionaire. Anything less than that obviously wouldn’t be tolerated by anyone, particularly when having to devote one’s life to someone else.
Is it really worth that money, though, when butlers aren’t allowed to take time out for their own lives? All of them are still being trained today to always be on call, which may explain why we don’t see as many doctors either.
With a prominent 1% here in America, will they have the guts to start hiring out butlers now that the U.K. brought it back into vogue? Here in America, there may still be a stigma about butlers, especially after seeing the movie “(Lee Daniels’) The Butler” and how African-Americans have worked as butlers to Presidents for decades. Such a job likely sounds backwards and demeaning today to most progressive Americans. In fact, any job where you have to cater to a super wealthy person is perhaps the worst nightmare for those who believe the American Dream is still alive.
Nevertheless, with the pay being more substantial than it ever was back in the 1800s and early 1900s, we may be surprised at what some American workers would do for the sake of economic survival. Only then, though, would the job be truly demeaning and become a tragedy. Without wanting to become a butler by will, dystopian movies of old showing future slaves catering to powerful forces become all the more painful to watch.