An administrative assistant is a person, whose work consists of maintaining calendar, files, operating telephones, typing letters and other clerical functions. Some administrative assistants focus on planning travel, scheduling meetings, and expediting routine emails. Others act as project leaders or office managers and undertake complex tasks including, managing budgets and doing bookkeeping, maintaining websites, and making travel arrangements.
A butler is a servant in a wealthy, large household or estate. In great houses, the household is sometimes divided into departments with the butler in charge of the dining room, wine cellar, and pantry. Some also have charge of the entire parlor floor, men’s wardrobe, and housekeepers caring for the entire house and its appearance. The butler, as the senior servant, typically has the highest servant status. The butler is in charge of food service, wine, spirits, and silver, supervises other servants, and may perform a wide array of household management duties.
Chef/Personal Chef/Private Chef
A chef prepares menus and food for the client/family, social events, and sometimes other staff. A chef is in charge of all things related to the kitchen which usually includes menu creation; management, scheduling kitchen staff; ordering; and plating design. Chef de cuisine is the traditional French term from which the English word chef is derived. The household Chef is responsible for anything food or kitchen-related, including organization, clean up, shopping for all food-related supplies and menu planning.
Companion/ Elder Care
A companion, sitter, or private duty may be a nurse, nurse assistant, or similar professional who is hired to work with one patient (or occasionally two). An aide providing care to one or more persons in a private home is generally referred to as a home health aide.
A cook is a household staff member responsible for food preparation. The term can refer to the head of kitchen staff in a large house, or to the cook-housekeeper entailing additional household duties outside of the kitchen.
Couple/ Domestic Couple/ Estate Couple
A domestic couple can range from high end experience, where one or both is capable of managing multiple properties, to those who prefer, by nature or experience, to just clean and cook. Most couples are married with the traditional roles of the woman caring for the interior of the home and the man performing indoor/outdoor maintenance and grounds keeping and periodic chauffeuring.
Estate Manager/House Manager
The estate manager, or household manager, usually the chief administrator serves in the primary role for managing the staff & services for one or more homes/estates.
An executive assistant differs slightly from a personal assistant or administrative assistant in the connotation of supporting an officer of a company, either public or private, who carries the authority to make crucial decisions affecting the direction of said organization, and is therefore a sought-after resource in decision-making and policy setting.
A gardener is an individual who manages the staff of a large garden, landscape, such as a residential garden, botanical garden, or estate garden. A Gardener may possibly have a degree in horticulture, and cares for formal gardens, lawns, shrubs, flowers and other greenery. The gardener also supervises any outside vendors who come on the grounds and orders supplies & equipment for the estate.
A gentleman’s gentleman or valet is a gentleman’s male servant, the closest male equivalent to a lady’s maid, who acts as a personal attendant to his employer. The valet performs personal services such as maintaining his employer’s wardrobe, running his bath, organizing drawers & closets, packing for travel, lay out clothes, and care of all personal items. In a bachelor’s household the valet might perform light housekeeping & personal assistant duties as well.
A housekeeper performs typical domestic chores such as cooking, ironing, washing, cleaning the house, table service, grocery shopping, doing the laundry, ironing, dusting, silver polishing, vacuuming, running errands, walking the family dog, and taking care of children.
A Houseman, often the male version of a housekeeper, may have the additional duties of chauffeur/driver, cook, and valet. The houseman is usually responsible for the heavy housework, such as cleaning the hardwood and marble floors, vacuuming, polishing, vehicle maintenance, and repairs. Caretaker duties may also apply.
A lady’s maid is a female personal attendant who waits on the lady of the house. The position is very similar to a gentleman’s valet. The lady’s maid performs personal services such as maintaining her employer’s wardrobe, running her bath, organizing drawers & closets, packing for travel, lay out clothes, helping with her make-up, hairdressing, jewelry, shoes and care of all personal items. The lady’s maid may be the head-housekeeper & engage in personal assistant duties as well.
A laundress is charged with the maintenance and cleanliness of all garments. An understanding of fabrics, including household fabrics & couture fashion is a must.
Maids traditionally have a fixed position in the hierarchy of the large households, and although there is overlap between definitions (dependent on the size of the household) the positions themselves would typically be rigidly adhered to. The usual types of maid are:
Lady’s maid (personal attendant to the employer)
Chamber maid (specifically cleans and cares for bedrooms)
Kitchen maid (reports to the chef/cook)
Parlor maid (answerable to the housekeeper or butler)
Nursery maid (specifically for looking after children; reports to governess/nanny)
More common in larger homes, these positions are usually responsible for assisting, cleaning, and maintaining in one particular area of the household.
The majordomo (or head butler) is responsible for the management of a household and staff, and sometimes acts as valet (gentleman’s gentleman) to the master of the house. Typically, the term refers to the highest (major) person of a household (domo) staff, one who acts on behalf of the (often absent) owner of a typically large residence.
Personal Assistant – (PA)
A personal assistant or personal aide (PA) is someone who assists in daily business and personal tasks. A personal assistant would help with time and calendar management, scheduling of meetings, correspondence and note taking, keeping track of the family agenda, arranging for reservations of various events, travel bookings, event planning, secretarial responsibilities, shopping and running errands. The title of a personal assistant is often shortened as “PA”.