I've been getting a great deal of amusement out of the coverage of a Georgetown University student who advertised for a personal assistant. He will pay his assistant an hourly rate and I particularly loved some of his pay restrictions. For example, he would not pay for the full time to do laundry because much of that time was 'dead time' and the assistant could do their own thing while waiting for the laundry to wash or dry.
This has gotten me thinking, however, about what my own ad for a personal assistant would look like. What skills would I want? What things would I have them do to make my life easier and allow me to focus more on the fun aspects of life like doing my research and playing with my baby?
1) Wet Nurse. It may make me a bad mom in some eyes, but I loathe breast feeding. I loathe lugging a pump around. I loathe hiding in my office hooked up to the pump like a milk cow hoping no one can see through the substantial gaps in my blinds. And I really hate having to worry about my breasts leaking during a meeting with students or colleagues. I would pay big money for a wet nurse. Some might think that this rules out men from becoming my personal assistant, but I would like to assure you that I am not sexist. Male lactation has apparently become more common. Lactating women or men are welcome to apply.
2) Doppelganger. My personal assistant needs to look enough like me that I can send them to faculty meetings and pointless committee meetings while I focus on more interesting aspects of my job. Since I normally don't say much at meetings, no one will think it odd if the doppelganger sits there quietly, staring blankly at the walls. As with the Georgetown student and his laundry policy, most of this time can be spent doing something else, so I will only pay for a subset of the time spent in the conference room. Cross-dressing men are welcome to apply.
3) Editing student papers. I am tired of spending my very limited time reading a sentence like "Dawrin, he be high flying"* What does that even mean?! Having the writing assignments that actually reach me be...you know... intelligible would be a big bonus in my quality of life and I could then focus on the big picture 0f grading for content and logic - if I'm not trying to figure out what that sentence actually says...
*yes, I did once receive a student paper with sentence construction and sentiment that was not much different. Misspelling Darwin in my own touch.
4) University Spam Filter. Yes, my university email does filter spam. However, my university itself is the biggest generator of spam and apparently it does not filter itself. I'm sent everything from thrice yearly announcements that the music department is selling old pianos to messages forwarded from the Vice Provost of Research to the Sponsored Programs Office, from Sponsored Programs to the Dean, from the Dean to her assistant, from the assistant to everyone in the college (email addresses of all 100+ of us in the email header) on a research opportunity that expired three weeks ago. Definitely pre-filtering my email for me will be a major component of my assistant's job.
5) Laundry. Long gone are the days when General Disarray and I could go two weeks between laundry days. I won't say that Baby Mayhem is capable of spinning her head around 360 degrees to projectile vomit on everything within a 6 foot radius, but somehow we now seem to do laundry daily. Much of this laundry involves the three different outfits I have to change into each day because of 'mishaps'.
I'm sure I'm missing other duties I would expect of my personal assistant, but this seems like a good start. If anyone sees any glaring holes in duties, feel free to suggest them! You might want to suggest quickly, though, because as soon as I get a raise from my University, I'll post my ad. Oh..right...the raise...well, take your time...