When you are a butler, you are in the profession of butling, a profession from a bygone era that is enjoying a newfound popularity. Part of this resurgence in the employment of butlers can be attributed to the popularity of the television show "Downton Abbey," which features a butler as a main character. The profession has also received a boost from rise of capitalism in countries such as Russia and China, where new millionaires embrace traditions associated with wealth in the western cultures.
Character Attributes of a Good Butler
Not everyone has the temperament to be a good butler. In an interview with Cambridge News, Robert Hein, head butler at the oldest house in Cambridge College, describes the essential character traits for a good butler. "In your public role, you must remain unflustered and maintain a sense of dignity," says Hein. The comfort of the employers and guests is the first priority. Behind the scenes, a butler must have the leadership and firm management skills to ensure that the staff upholds the highest standards. Hein says all aspects of a butler's job require keen attention to detail.
Education and Training
If you possess the natural makings of a good butler, education and training can provide the rest. According to The Wall Street Journal, many schools specialize in butler training, but there is no set curriculum, and the quality of the training varies. One of the most prestigious schools is The International Butler Academy, which trains students in a working wealthy household set in a castle in the Netherlands. Another well respected organization is The International Institute of Modern Butlers, which has a stable of professional consultants who will train staff at their place of employment.
Essential Skills to Acquire
A butler must learn tradition and history, yet employ the latest in modern technology to perform the job, according to the International Butler Academy. Skills in staff management equivalent of a human resources manager must also be acquired. Household management skills are needed to schedule all staff as well as coordinate the employer's schedules. Table management includes mastering food and wine pairings, service and place settings and menu creation. Etiquette knowledge and communication skills are essential as well.
Prospective employers for butlers have varied backgrounds, with the common thread of extreme wealth. According to "GQ," butlers may work for Saudi Arabian sheiks, film producers, supermodels, Russian billionaires and Chinese real estate tycoons. The hiring outlook for butlers is high, especially in China, where the demand for butlers from the West outstrips the supply, and employers are willing to pay starting salaries around $60,000.