Wednesday, January 11, 2020

Lifestyle Managers?

Recently, I received a press release from a business in Canada who describe their service as "lifestyle management." Now you may know what such a service entails, but I did not. Fortunately, their helpful message began by explaining the problems they can deal with:

"In what area of your life do you experience insanity?" it asked. "Is it in your marriage, or your journey towards finding your life mate? Do you buy gym memberships each January only to stop working out by March? Have you been passed over for promotions because your skills need upgrading? Are you often exhausted and frustrated at the end of the day because you have
had no down-time and know that tomorrow will be more of the same?"

None of these seemed to match my particular version of insanity, but I could imagine others nodding their heads emphatically by now. It seems the PR writer had an identical mental image. "As you nod your head in recognition of your insanity," he or she continued, "don't feel bad. You are not alone. So what are you doing wrong? Nothing. You are just a victim of the work/life balance phenomenon."

How comforting it must be to know you are neither alone nor to blame for living a life the writer has labeled insane. I suppose the users of this service have no say in how their lives progress. They are exhausted and frustrated because they work long hours without ever understanding what they're doing. They're victims of a phenomenon, not people making poor choices. Help, however, is at their elbow.

Lifestyle managers, it appears, are "a new breed of professionals who assist busy individuals in regaining valuable time." They provide "practical help in the daily demands of life that vie for your time." They will run errands, do your shopping and prepare your meals, clean house, plan parties and deal with your pets. This sounded like a far earlier service to me, one called "having servants," but these modern versions of Jeeves go much further. They will "coordinate moves to new homes, help aging parents to maintain active living, or...handle just about any request as long as it is legal."

That, of course, puts lifestyle management into a fresh category: that of essential services for the busy executive household. Surely no up-and-coming rat in the great organizational race should lack such support. I could see the potential at once.


The scene is a new house in an exclusive executive suburb. Our soon-to-be head honcho has just come home—it is around ten in the evening—and finds his wife in the kitchen.

"Honey. I'm home."

"Had a good day, dear?"

"About average. Made another fifty grand in bonus on the Frobisher deal. I'll just check in with the office—couldn't do so while I was parking the Jaguar—then I need to run through any emails that have arrived in the last four minutes. After that, I'm heading upstairs to grab a power nap. The taxi is due at 3.00 a.m. to take me to the airport. How was dinner?"

"Superb. The lifestyle management people sent Harry again. He so enjoys your food. It was a treat to see him eat every scrap and ask for seconds. He even told me my cooking is better than your mother's. And your conversation is so much better since we started the LM service. Harry…I mean Harry being you…is so well-read and articulate."

"I'm glad I enjoyed it. Got to go now."

"Before you do, there was a message from your mother. She says you haven't spoken to her in eighteen months."

"What on earth is going on? Didn't the LM people do that? They're supposed to help my aged parents maintain active living."

"That's why she called, dear. She says Jeremy from LM is a better son to them than you ever knew how to be. So she and your father have changed their wills and are leaving their house and all their money to him instead."

"Rats! Oh well, I'll make so much bonus on the Chinese outsourcing contracts it won't matter either way."

"Aren't you going to make love to me tonight? You do remember I promised to wear those extremely personal gifts your LM person bought me from the Ann Summers shop."

"Right. Of course. I'll just get my LM contact on the cellphone. Shall we ask for Alphonso? I think I recall you saying I'm dynamite in bed whenever Alphonso is standing in for me."

"Absolutely, darling. With Alphonso, you're almost insatiable. We do such wonderfully naughty things. You…I mean Alphonso being you…are such an animal! Last time, we did it twice before we ever got to the bed. Oh, did I mention Alphonso is going to take me for two weeks of sun, sand and sex in Acapulco?"

"Good idea, darling. You've been telling me we need a holiday. Now I really must get to my computer."

"Oh, I nearly forgot. Your boss called. He says to be in his office the minute you get back from Beijing. He was so impressed with what you said about the lifestyle management service, he's arranged for them to supply someone to fire you. He said he was sorry he couldn't do it personally, but was sure you would understand the insanity of his life."

"Fire me? Why?"

"The firm has rented someone from LM who's going to do your job for you, he said, so they won't need you any more in person. There's the doorbell. It must be Alphonso. I thought the last message might change your mind about Acapulco, so I ordered him earlier. We're going to the airport right away and I'm not coming back. Got to rush. Goodnight."

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Russell Crosswy said...

Wow... gotta love it. Yeah, who cares about having time to do what you want, it's all about the money. Relationship? Pfff... I'd rather make money. Wait, I can have it all! Lifestyle Managers to the rescue! *Heroic theme music here*

Seriously, the scenario you outlined seems to be an increasing problem. Honestly, I would rather do those "annoying" tasks and things with my girlfriend or close friends. I can always make money, but I can't make time.

11:00 AM  
Rabbit said...

Oi... that's a dark picture.

The bits about your girlfriend sleeping with others are scary. :(

We have similar services here in Las Vegas - though not to that extent (I don't think).

I guess the question being posed is, "Who's really living your life?"

Or, maybe: "Whose life are you living?"

12:37 PM  
Carmine Coyote said...

Some folk choose to make only the money they need to live as they want. Others live to make money - more and more of it. You have to take the consequences either way, I guess.

3:54 PM  
Alec said...

Carmine. . .great post!! Irreverent, maybe a little cynical, but in a very good way. I love the humor and have recommended it to my readers at THE DELIBERATE LIFE. (

4:11 PM  
Carmine Coyote said...

Thanks, Alec. I would certainly urge readers to visit your blog for some fascinating thoughts.

5:37 PM  

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