One thing I wish I’d known before getting into private service

Anyone in the private service industry will tell you, no day is the same. So, how do you prepare for a career full of surprises?

By Kristin Twiford

We asked three experts and Easemakers founding members, what’s one thing you wish you’d known before getting into private service? Whether you’re just starting a career in private service, or you’re growing in your role as your household takes on more properties and employees, you’re constantly faced with new challenges and opportunities — and these insights from the experts will help you stay ahead of them.

Shelby Boudreau, an estate manager from Maine, shared how her role in household management seemed temporary, and grew into a career she never expected. Kiandra Gaines, an executive family assistant based in Dallas, talked about a lesson she learned early on, and how it’s shaping her career today. And J Dennis Paulin, a chief of staff from Denver, Colorado, shed light on how private service is more than just a job, and why it’s important to set boundaries.

Check out their answers below, and join the Easemakers community for private service professionals to join the conversation!

Shelby Boudreau Estate Manager

Shelby Boudreau, Estate Manager, ME
“The one thing I wish I’d known before getting into private service is that it could ultimately lead to an executive position and a lifelong career. Years ago, private service was about “helping” people out temporarily — cleaning their homes, opening a door for a contractor, looking for leaks, purchasing supplies. For the most part, the fancier careers in private service were only thought to exist in the big cities. I thought of the work as temporary — something to pay my bills in the interim, while I kept on the lookout for my “real” career. And then somewhere between day one and now, it went from temporary to permanent. I could never have predicted the education and growth I would receive sticking around for the past 18 years. I also could never have predicted the smart, hard-working, and supportive people I would have the privilege of meeting and working alongside. Ones that have encouraged my growth and supported me every step of the way. It has truly been an eye opening experience. I can’t imagine my career turning out any better.”

Kiandra Gaines Executive Family Assistant

Kiandra Gaines, Lifestyle Manager, TX
“I wish I’d known that I was capable of more, and I wish I’d had a mentor. I never saw the bigger picture for my career, and lacked the resources when I entered the private sector. I was an introvert — I wanted to go to work, get the job done, and leave. I used to get in my own way. Now, when I’m working with executives, I make it a priority to ensure their comfort and the comfort of those around them. Through my experiences, I’ve come to understand that I am a natural born leader, and I’ve learned the importance of connecting with the people around me. Networking has been a crucial asset for my career and now I am looking to lend my expertise.”

J Dennis Paulin, Chief of Staff, CO
“What I wish I had known before I entered into Private Service is how deeply personal this line of work is. And by that I mean, how close a bond you form with these individuals and how much they rely on you for absolutely everything. It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to build that trust so quickly and entirely but it can also feel like a burden at the same time. Because you have an intimate knowledge of virtually every aspect of both their personal and professional lives, it’s almost as if they are unable to function when you are not there. Being able to establish boundaries goes a long way with having scheduled, uninterrupted days off and being able to take a vacation. As an employee, you love that they love and need you so much, but as an individual, it can be hard to unplug from their lives and live your own. I guess what I am trying to say is, I wish I knew that this career choice is so much more than just a job, it really is a lifestyle if you are to be any good at it. Not many jobs require this.”

Now, it’s your turn: what’s one thing you wish you’d known before starting your career in private service? Join the Easemakers community to share your thoughts and connect with other people who are passionate about the art of household management.

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