Of all the cities in the world, it’s basically indisputable that San Francisco is one of the most insane. The heady mixture of its long connection with art, literature and counterculture and its comparatively recent influx of tech workers and wannabe visionaries has resulted in some of the most bonkers people on the entire planet.
This pressure cooker of bizarro culture has finally spat it out its most incredible product: this job ad. Not even Silicon Valley – which is incredibly good – could dream of capturing the absurdity of the Bay Area ethos quite as well as this single Craiglist ad looking for a personal assistant.
The name of the ad (“Personal Assistant MUST LOVE DOGS – PT/FT, $25-$30/hr (SOMA / south beach”) already belies some of the kookiness, but it seems pretty normal at this point. Let’s dive in.
We’re two 30-something executives living in the city with a sweet medium-sized, hypoallergenic dog. Work is crazier than ever which means that we don’t have time to maintain our personal lives. We’ve finally accepted that we need a full-time (or part-time) personal assistant.
Okay, that’s fine. Lots of executives have personal assistants. We can talk about how the allocation of labour to servicing the personal requirements of tech executives is a failure of human potential, but that is an argument for another day. At this point, it’s normal enough.
It goes off the rails quite quickly.
We’re resorting to unhealthy take-out and processed foods — anything we can grab and munch on in-between working on our computers, we aren’t getting enough sleep (8 hrs/night is a must but rarely achieved), that very cute dog I mentioned doesn’t have someone to play with daily, personal social media accounts are neglected, I buy fresh flowers but don’t have time to trim daily and change the water, indoor plants are dying, vacations and fun trips aren’t taken because there’s no time to plan them, dirty laundry is neglected until we run out of clean clothes to wear, merchandise that should be returned doesn’t get returned, phone calls to customer support don’t get made, prescriptions aren’t refilled, instead of dry cleaning something it will just never be worn again, pants that are too long never get hemmed, that cute dog doesn’t get taught new tricks or get his coat brushed out as often as it needs to be, things that we’re meaning to order don’t get ordered, items slated for donation sit in a corner for months, groceries aren’t put away into the cabinet, the sink is eternally filled with soaking dishes/pots/pans, picture frames hang on the wall with no photos inside, the closet is in need of reorganisation, appointments aren’t scheduled, information isn’t updated, nail polish gets chipped and remains chipped, investment opportunities go un-researched, and that crucial “date night” consists of collapsing onto the sofa and watching a movie because we’re so exhausted from the work week.
Okay, we can probably do without the hysterics. This seems no worse than literally every sharehouse I’ve ever lived in.
The solution, the poster says, is for the couple to get themselves a personal assistant. At this point you might be thinking “Hey! For thirty bucks an hour, I can play with a dog and look after an apartment! Sounds pretty chill!” Well, let me stop you right there. The lister has a number of personal stipulations you must meet.
You aren’t dramatic or tightly wound, however, you’re also not lazy or sloth-like (nothing against sloths). You’re level-headed and your friends think you have great judgment. You’re down to earth, not cocky, humble, and always willing to admit when you’re wrong. You aren’t too stubborn to apologize. You don’t get defensive and deflect. You own your mistakes and see them as opportunities to improve. You have confidence in yourself and although you are very empathetic, you rarely get overwhelmed by your emotions. You aren’t dramatic and you aren’t having regular melt-downs. You’re warm, welcoming, and always down for a good time. You take pride in your work quality (no matter what it is — big or small) and believe everything you create is a reflection of you and your character/abilities so you want it to be good.
It goes on.
You have a great memory and rarely have to say “Oh, I forgot.” You believe that there’s a place for everything and everything should be in its place. You’re naturally organized and clean. You don’t like messiness. You feel compelled to straighten items if they’re crooked. Aesthetics, design, and beauty in life are things that you notice and appreciate. It genuinely makes you happy to help others and make others smile. You find it rewarding to do things for others. (If you don’t feel this way, you will either hate this role or it will be awkward for us because you won’t seem happy.) Your friends think that you’re the one in your group who has their act together the most in terms of being responsible, responsive, and risk-averse.
You use your smartphone all the time. You use your laptop all the time. Google is your best friend. You take pride in how you look — whatever that “look” or style may be for you. At the same time, you also want to be practical and functional (e.g., you’re “bohemian chic” but avoid the giant wedges that will prevent you from hustling around town, you’re “cool hipster” but don’t wear the super tight jeans that won’t leave you room in your pockets to hold my dog’s potty bags, you’re totally “minimalistic modern” but avoid the white on white look so you’re not afraid to get dirty when cooking, etc.)
Let’s posit for a moment that even after reading all this, you’re thinking “That’s me!” I would highly recommend you turn yourself over to the state for immediate institutionalisation, but great! There are a few important key traits they would love you to have, including:
- Physically strong
- Lift weights and/or tone as exercise
- Practiced in self defence or fighting styles (you can protect someone who is in danger)
- You like fashion
- You watch GoT and/or Silicon Valley
- Former or current aquarium owner (know how to set up a tank and create an ecosystem)
Okay, so it’s you. You’re ready to take the next step in your life and become a personal assistant to these two demonstrably disturbed individuals. Well, I regret to inform you that even the application process is utterly demented.
1. Submit an email with the subject line: “[INSERT YOUR FULL NAME] + [INSERT YOUR WORST QUALITY].” We’re confirming that you read the job description thoroughly, as well as breaking the ice by seeing if you’re aware of how you’re not perfect :p No one is so feel free to be candid 🙂 If you don’t follow that formula for the subject line, your email won’t be opened.
2. With your computer webcam or handheld smartphone, record and attach a 5 min video of you answering ALL of the following: What did you like about this posting? Confirm if this posting applies to you 100% (including personality description, qualifications, schedule, responsibilities, etc.). Tell us in what way(s) you’re not ideal for us (be transparent, no one is perfect and that’s okay, bonus points for honesty). Have you been a personal assistant before? For who? What was a typical day? Why can you be trusted to care for a dog? Can you cook us delicious food? What else should we know about you?
Good luck with your new gig, guys!