Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Couples Who Run the House for Others

Couples Who Run the House for Others - New York Times: "THEY seem like a quintessential 1950’s couple. She keeps the house stocked and clean, makes sure that dinner is ready and the laundry pressed and put away. He maintains the lawn and cars, and troubleshoots any electrical or other repairs. Together, they create a household budget, hire a housekeeper or others as needed and manage any continuing maintenance or remodeling.

This well-oiled team maintains the home to near perfection — but it is not the couple’s home. Sometimes they can’t even tell you whom they work for, because of restrictive legal documents they have signed. Such is the life of domestic husband-and-wife teams who, for privacy reasons, will discuss little about their jobs — not to protect their privacy, but that of their multimillionaire employers.

Domestic couples are hired as a “unit” to maintain their employers’ home, compound or estate. The work can range from in-home care for a wealthy elderly couple to managing a compound that is closer in scale to a hotel, with manicured grounds, daily maintenance reviews and a flurry of important guests coming and going. Their typical combined salary is $50,000 to $100,000 or more a year, not counting benefits that often include housing, health insurance and the use of a car. But the couple are usually on call around the clock."

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