Arnold Kling  

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David Wessel's Economic Questi... When They Take Over, We'll Be ...

I liked the comment thread on this post. A few paragraphs from Michael E. Sullivan's comment:

You can get a huge return by hiring a personal assistant if your time is very valuable, but in order to achieve this, your personal assistant must be a highly competent professional administrator, who is able to just know many common sense things, is smart enough to get your explanations very quickly, and to pick up your general needs and desires over time. I know of no truly rich person that is still seriously pursuing a career that does not have such a person working for them.

You don't even have to be especially rich for it to make sense. One of my local racquetball partners hired someone to do this for him. She works for his company, but also acts as a personal assistant. He's certainly well off, lives in a nice house, owns a successful small internet business and worked on wall street for a few years before that, but if he's uber-rich, he doesn't show it.

The trick is that you can't hire such a person for minimum wage or even close. A person with the skills to do this, already can command a very good wage in the marketplace in various kinds of high-end customer service, sales or administrative positions.

Even this personal-assistant job may be automated sooner than you think.

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COMMENTS (2 to date)
Steve Sailer writes:

Most highly successful corporate executives have a middle aged lady working for them in a secretary / assistant role who has been with them for a decade or more.

Bryan Willman writes:

Sailer is right, but it doesn't apply to the whole class of folks Arnold asked about, because:

A. It's hard to find a good admin/assistant, so once an exec finds one, they tend to keep them.

B. This is done in large corps where there is a whole HR infrastructure to deal with taxes, benefits, liability, space planning and so forth. When the LargeCorp infrastructure already does all of that correctly for 27,000 people, doing it for one more person who is the VP's assistant and cat herder makes easy sense.

For Jo Rich person who *isn't* attached to a large corporation, that HR infrastructure is a big hurdle.

(I suppose there's a business opp here, maybe already filled - outsourced personal assistants - so your Butler or House Manager is in fact an employee of some contracting firm, just like the house cleaner or landscaper are today.)

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