The artist who posted that horrible personal assistant ad was Tom Sachs, and now Nike has dumped him

Originally published at: The artist who posted that horrible personal assistant ad was Tom Sachs, and now Nike has dumped him | Boing Boing


I really don’t know anything about this guy, i’ve heard the name from Adam Savage every now and then but beyond that i don’t know what he even does. I guess i can continue ignoring his existence


He’s a rich kid who has never had to work for a living, so he calls himself an artist.
Far be it for me to decide what art is or is not, but I’ll bet you a whole dollar he can’t draw a picture of a tree.


The job description (at least what was quoted in the BB article) was a bit over the top in terms of the overall variety of expectations, but if it paid well it doesn’t seem completely unreasonable. From the rest of it, though, he seems like a complete asshole, and it does seem like that’s the reason Nike’s dropping him.


The ad says 65k - 95k annual, which is not great in NYC.


But what’s the odds of that, realistically?


And judging by the list of responsibilities they’re wanting one person to do the job of at least 4 people. Without knowing anything more about Tom Sachs he already sounds like an abusive employer.


I legitimately misread a word in this piece as “spokesworm”. That one’s a keeper – thank you, subconscious, for your ongoing unpaid internship.


Based on that ad of his he would probably expect his personal assistant to draw the tree.


That one assistant would have to have been a concierge/travel agent/nanny/event organizer/housekeeper all in one.


Agreed. I’d want at least $150 to even consider a job as demanding as that sounded like it would be (and probably double that if I had to deal with a jerk for a boss).


Is its realy that demanding,You booking some flights, and hotel, how often can they travel? Ok the dog thing will be a pain, As for the house maintenance by the sounds of it there are other people to do that job, and as for the roof top thing, just get a gardener in to do it.

If worse comes to worse tie the 4 year old to the dog and put them both out on the terrace and they will look after them selfs…

It’s so absurdly unfair that it’s mostly jerks like these that have successful careers as artists. They don’t seem to grow entitled as their fame rises, rather, they seem to be convinced of their singular brilliance and deserving of attention, wealth and power from the very start.

And why does it seem to never fail that if I read about a narcissist, they will turn out to have thick, prominent eyebrows?

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The level of entitlement and arrogance exhibited by nepo babies like Sachs is always matched by their skinflint ways when it comes to others. I have no doubt that he arrived at that pay range by asking himself “what would a rube who didn’t grasp how much work I was demanding think is a huge salary?”


He went to Bennington in 1989. That is a huge cultural signifier for many of a certain age and region.

(Bennington was the most expensive college in America at that time)


There’s also the potential that this job suffers from the kiss-of-death property of being something the applicant might be passionate about(not overseeing ‘dog systems’ specifically; but the proximity to someone who is at least something, if not someone, in a given art scene aspect).

This, obviously, isn’t to say that boring rich people you’ve never heard of are models of decency and compensation to their personal assistants, or that you must loath what you do to avoid exploitation; but it’s pretty common to find that a given level job or internship in a cool industry that people always wanted to be part of pays worse and/or is a lousier deal in some other ways than its equivalent in one that recognizes that, while their workplace is not without some interesting challenges, nobody grew up dreaming about being there.

Fashion and publishing internships, vs. more generic ‘business’ ones say; or game devs vs. LoB C# for insurance company back office in Peoria.


The girlfriend of a former colleague is a personal assistant to a wealthy family. From her description, it sounded as if her job was basically to smooth out every aspect of their lives by taking care of errands, bookings, travel reservations, bureaucracy etc. In other words, not too dissimilar to what Mr. Sachs was looking for, although she made it sound a bit less intense and she seemed to like the people she worked for. Apparently they were not unreasonable, and were appreciative of her efforts; I wouldn’t count on Mr. Sachs being either of those things.

She called herself a personal assistant but I think the technical term for this job might be “factotum” – someone who does everything.

I have never greatly wanted to be super-rich; I don’t really hunger for yachts or private jets or palaces. But when she explained what she did, I thought about all the trivial little shit I have to do on the day-to-day and the idea of being able to wave my hand and make it go away did seem extremely attractive. That, to me, would be real luxury. If I were a zillionaire, I would definitely get me one of those (but I hope I’d phrase my want ad a little better than Mr. Sachs).


Yes, exploitation is always rife in “glamorous” industries. For those who didn’t grow up at least upper middle class, the implied promises of advancement are also usually lies. In late-stage capitalist America, pedigree and connections will always be more important than all that work someone does and all the abuse they take for relative peanuts.


Q1: Have you fed the dog?
A: Yes.
Q2: Where is the baby?
A: See Q1.


If I had that job, I would definitely want to be called a factotum, or, the Keeper of the King’s Stool.


I’m not sure if there’s an analogous pipeline for out-of-office personal assistants; but in the “executive assistant” in-office flavor there can be(in the case of appropriately reasonable executives and corporate cultures; not so much the ones where that’s just code for ‘the coffee and ogling wench; but I can’t tell our recruiter to find one of those by saying the quiet part out loud’) some nontrivial perks in terms of career trajectory as well.

It combines being (comparatively) entry level with massive amounts of c-level face time more or less immediately; and while some of what you do is your job specifically so it can be forgotten about other parts of the job are immediately visible to the executive who is being assisted; so if your work is good and you present well you can make an excellent impression in useful places.

Where I am now(in an unrelated position) a several theoretically-menial-but-well-placed positions have turned over multiple times because the people in them punch well above their weight when it comes time to look for internal candidates for positions that open up. If there’s still something even vaguely analogous to the “I started in the mail room and I worked my way up…” to be had it’s not a bad bet.

Does anyone know if ‘personal assistant’ has some similar properties; or does it tend to have more of a ceiling because even your definitely not average household has limited room for internal promotions?