The Butler Rises
I am beyond excited to introduce you to a woman who has followed her heart and has found a career path of yesteryear. This career not only fulfills her, but has also allowed her to start her own unique business. Join me today in welcoming Heather McArthur, the woman behind Hjem Professional Home Services , as she shares her insights into this fascinating world of butlering and what she's learned so far from this reemerging business.
If someone had told me a few years ago that butlers still exist, and that butlering is presently a growing and thriving business industry, I might have smiled and winked (to play along) and said, “Right, I’ll just go ring for Mr. Carson, so he can call for the carriage to be brought ’round.”
And then, I became a butler.
I’d like to share with you how I became a butler, and why I’ve never looked back, since. The first part of my story is a familiar one that I think many people can relate to: I attended college and then moved to a big city after landing a corporate job there, only to realize that at the end of each day I didn’t feel fulfilled by pushing paper and crunching numbers. I felt like a small cog in a big machine, when what I really wanted was to feel like part of an important team, to truly help others, and to connect with people.
By happenstance, I discovered an instructional book about butlering one day in a bookstore over my lunch break, when I still worked in corporate. After reading through the book, I wondered, Can I actually get paid to do what I love? (The answer was, and still is, a loud, resounding “Yes!”) Soon after, I quit my job, attended butler school, and worked in private homes. I could finally wake up and get excited to go to work each day. In fact, I am so passionate about the Home Services industry, that I’ve opened my own concierge company called Hjem Professional Home Services.
Like a well-tailored Saint Laurent suit, butlering is the perfect fit for anyone who enjoys organizing, cooking, doing laundry, and cleaning. Personally, these daily tasks are a great source of accomplishment and inner-calm for me, and if you can relate—whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, a housekeeper, a or work full time but simply want a change—then butlering might be the right fit for you.
I want to share four things that I’ve learned from becoming a butler, in hopes that you can enjoy success and happiness at any stage in your life, too.
Don’t be Ashamed of Working Hard
Social media today can make you feel like you can shop, spa, or tan your way to success. Don’t buy into this. Success takes a lot of diligence and a glass of wine tastes fab after a hard day’s work.
Early on in my career, I worked for a rather ‘traditional’ butler. The housekeeper was away so I was in charge of cleaning all the washrooms (yes, this included toilets). I finished and asked my colleague, “What else was on the agenda?” He looked at my sweaty brow, my work-reddened face, and smiled, as though amused at my enthusiasm. “Tired?” he said. “Excited not to clean another toilet?” I responded with positivity, and smiled back at him. He made an exaggerated facial expression, and said, “Don’t worry, I don’t tell my friends I clean toilets, and you don’t have to either.”
But I want to tell you, I work hard. Never be ashamed of hard work. I clean toilets. And the porcelain sparkles when I do.
Whatever job you do, do it well, and with integrity. That is what matters.
Attitude of Gratitude
I work with people whose needs are generally above my wants on a daily basis, and I am thankful to be helping them in whatever capacity they need. This has helped me focus on what really matters, and has fostered an attitude of gratitude within me. Obstacles and boundaries are often mental, and I am able to find a way to push past them.
Working for affluent people has provided me a unique viewpoint on the lives of some extraordinarily successful, and kind people. I feel fortunate every day for my experiences, and the lessons I’ve learned. To have a career where I can work with interesting, intelligent, and passionate people who are building better futures for themselves and for others is truly a luxury for me.
The Modern Butler
While being a butler is often thought of as an old-fashioned gig, technology is transforming even the most traditional professions to suit the modern consumer. Many of us associate home management with the “Home Economics” class we took in high school, but times have changed. Home economics, in essence, is about taking the latest science and research and applying it to home use. Today, more than ever, that means technology.
As people who manage homes, it is important to utilize technology in a way that saves time, money, and provides greater enjoyment in our days. No two days are the same, and we need to manage many moving parts of a very large puzzle. Our phones are quintessential--between our calendars and a few apps we can successful manage homes efficiently and at times, remotely.
If You Don’t Know Something, Google It
The truth is, our ability to learn new skillsets is limitless. When I worked as a butler in a formal home, I was often asked to do things that I didn’t know how to do. Google is usually a good place to start. At the end of the day, solving most problems is about persevering, and thankfully, we have Google. Reading is also a great place to start, and as an avid reader myself, I try to implement my growing knowledge in my day-to-day life.
I am confident that I can do whatever I put my mind to: I have fixed a toaster; I have pressure-washed a large rock to achieve a polished appearance so that it enhanced the stunning landscape; I have learned how to properly enunciate fashion designer’s names. Intrinsically I know I can do anything, and if I need a roadmap on how to get started, I Google it.
Are You Ready to Join a Great Team and Become a Butler?
My life has been made more beautiful because I work with people who have similar values, and who value me. Personal success depends largely on who we surround ourselves with, and how we create meaning in our lives. And so, I invite you to become a part of my community, and to join me online (Instagram @torontoassistant) where I’ll be announcing some exciting online platforms and projects, so that I can help you to do more living.
Do you have more questions for me? I’d love to personally hear from you! I am starting a video series to address some questions I get about butlering. Please submit your questions to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. When contacting me, please let me know if it would be ok I use your first name when addressing the question. I hope to hear from you.