'Absolute insanity' (or a 'dream job?')

Must like "river swimming," the ad said. Plus, 7 other things worth a click.

What’s the most ridiculous job you ever applied for?

I’ve thrown my hat in for a few ridiculous ones. Heck, I had an entire career that wasn’t really the best fit, in retrospect.

I kept thinking of all that when I saw the reaction to a Silicon Alley job ad recently, looking for a “Household Manager/Cook/Nanny.”

People couldn't help but talk and share and laugh at it.
The ad ran nearly 2,000 words (about four times as long as this email), looking for someone to take care of twin 10-year-olds, but who also:

  • has excellent Microsoft Excel skills

  • is a “great, consistent” cook

  • can “conduct research into domestic and global vacation options,”

  • “likes river swimming.”

  • can “compare and make recommendations regarding using credit card points to booking vacations versus paying cash”.

  • has a “University degree or equivalent knowledge,” and

  • could do calisthenics with the kids “(sit ups, lunges, squats, pushups).”

And on and on and on. You get the picture. It’s an exacting job.

The post has since been taken down, but since everything is forever on the Internet, here’s a screenshot.

"Absolute insanity," one commentator called it.

Others agreed, some with language that I don’t really need to quote here. You get the picture.


Only, they're wrong.

The job poster is the CEO of a company in Menlo Park who is also a single mom.

She wound up giving a long interview with Slate, on condition of anonymity, after the whole thing went viral.

I’m about 90 percent certain that I’ve figured out who she is, but her identity really doesn’t matter. As Slate put it, the posting caught fire because it "felt like a peek into the lives of the 1 percent.”

The haves vs. the have-nots (or maybe, “have-lesses”) Are now one of the central divides of our time.

This might not be the kind of job you or I would covet. But the pay ($35 to $40 an hour, so maybe $72,000 a year minimum, not counting overtime) seems pretty fair.

Plus, vacation and sick time, and free housing and a free car—it actually doesn’t seem all that bad—especially to people who actually do this kind of work.

“I’d jump on the opportunity to work for this family,” one experienced nanny wrote on Twitter. “Seriously. She’s clear in her expectations & focused on raising healthy kids in a balanced, loving home.”


So, I think the myriad objections to this whole thing say at least as much about the people doing the objecting.

A little over a decade ago, Tim Ferriss wrote a book called The Four Hour Work Week.

Basically, its entire premise was that people should outsource the stuff they don’t like to do.

He wasn’t the first to preach this, but he was one of the founding fathers, so to speak, and he turned it into a multimillion-dollar media empire. Since then, entire movements and industries have sprung up around this notion.

Now, it’s common. Just ask the guy I hired on TaskRabbit to come and hang the Christmas lights outside my house last year, since I don't even own a ladder.

Let’s not pretend sexism isn’t part of this, either.

"I love my children and I think about them 24 hours a day," the unnamed CEO told Slate. "Like a lot of working executives and working moms, I’m spending a significant amount of my time doing research and organizing. ... I want to outsource it is because for me, all I really want to do is run my business well and be the best mom ever."

I think she’s right. And a lot of us have done a lot worse, for a lot less.

7 other things worth a click

  1. The U.S. has the highest suicide rate among wealthy nations. (Axios)

  2. Last chance to try to make me donate more money to suicide prevention, just by adding an inspirational quote to this thread on LinkedIn. (LinkedIn)

  3. Looks like no witnesses, and the Senate will likely vote to acquit President Trump as early as today. (Associated Press)

  4. Meanwhile, Mike Bloomberg has already spent $100 million on television and digital ads attacking the president. And it’s still only January. (Mediaite)

  5. Jeff Bezos made $13.2 billion in 15 minutes, due to a spike in Amazon stock. (Bloomberg)

  6. Brexit. (BBC)

  7. State Department warns Americans against traveling to China. (Washington Post)

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