Newsletter Steven Ferry

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, July 2019, Message from the Chairman

Steven FerryMessage from the Chairman

by Steven Ferry

Drug and alcohol abuse are a large problem in our profession, usually with principals, their family, or friends, but sometimes also with staff or vendors.

The Institute was asked to hire a butler for an extremely well-known individual. We were about to present four options when our due-diligence research finally paid off: We were suspicious there was a drug element involved, but the Internet showed the individual to be squeaky clean. We then asked around and finally found someone who had worked for this principal before. One of the (unwritten) butler duties was to take drugs around (on a tray!) during the numerous parties and to consume these drugs himself or herself, together with the rest of the staff. We immediately cancelled the contract with the client and told the relieved candidates that the job was no longer an option.

An extreme example?

Perhaps—but then ever since Roman, wine-induced orgies, some amongst the wealthy have indulged in such excesses, so it is not a new problem. But is it a solved one; do we know how to deal with this very real issue?

Read The Butlers Speak to find out what some of your colleagues were willing to share about their experiences and what resources you may be able to call upon in the event you find yourself in such a position.

One estate manager did not want to talk about it: “I have had experience in this area – professionally and personally. I choose not to go into any details. While you and your co-workers feel it is an important issue to discuss and address, I’ve experienced and/or observed emotional conflicts, verbal and physical abuse, destructive behavior, isolation, denial, fear, severe anxiety, etc. None of it is easy to watch, live through, and cope with on a daily basis.”

Our sympathies are with this individual—nobody likes having to face or talk about unpleasant subjects, but there is an old adage: “The way out is the way through.” Meaning that by facing something unpleasant and talking about it to someone else, the upset comes to the surface, and magically, if the person listening is being helpful, the upset melts away and solutions start to appear. So collectively, let’s try it!

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people- skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.