The Outsourcing Test

When you think about your daily routine, the list of things you do in order to qualify as a responsible member of society is kind of mind-boggling. It may be tempting to think of these tasks in broad strokes, but in reality, most of them consist of many smaller tasks. For example, “take a shower” is probably on the list of daily tasks you perform.  But showering isn’t just one task, it’s a bunch of tasks masquerading as one.

Showering involves, in some order or another, taking your clothes off, turning the water on, getting in, washing your hair with Rogaine regular shampoo, rinsing your hair, washing your body, rinsing your body, turning the water off, getting out of the shower, drying off, and putting your clothes back on.

man-shampoo-shower
“Gossshhhhh.  This is so many tasks.”

(Tangent: Because one develops one’s showering technique in total isolation, one doesn’t learn to shower in the same way one learns everything else, i.e. by watching others. This has caused me to wonder if there are people out there who shower in really strange ways, and it has also caused me to worry that I am one of these people. I always figured I’d be able to resolve this question when I got married, but I ended up marrying someone who has courageously opted out of mindless conformity to Western norms of hygiene.)

Anyway, a day in the life of anybody is filled with a staggering list of small, mundane tasks, and as I look at mine, I realize that I really enjoy some while absolutely hating others. I think the best way to separate the two is this: If you suddenly came into $1 billion dollars, what are the tasks that you would pay someone else to do for you, and what are the ones you’d keep doing yourself?

Now, Serious Susan over there is reading this and thinking things like, “I would give all that money to orphans,” or “I believe there is intrinsic value in doing things for myself.” Susan will probably say, “Don’t you remember how depressing the humans in Wall-E were, cruising around on those chairs with robots waiting on them hand and foot?” Umm, Susan, I hate to break this to you, but the only thing depressing about Wall-E was the ending. The humans were super happy in their robot chairs and then some rogue robots got out of hand and forced them to live a life of toil and heartache. It’s one of the saddest movies I’ve ever seen.

wall-e-wave-749751
You ruined everything, you little creep.

Things I would pay someone else to do for me if I had $1 billion dollars:

Take my dog out in the morning to go potty. Actually, I would pay someone to take her out to go potty all the time, not just the morning. Actually, I would pay someone to just take her out. As in murder her.

Go to the elevator, press the button, wait for it to come, and then call me when it’s ready. I don’t know why, but I hate waiting for the elevator. I kind of figured Melissa would do this for me when we got married, but it hasn’t worked out that way, which has been a really hard thing for me to deal with in our marriage.

elevator
A woman who is obviously a good wife.

Riding the subway. I don’t ride the subway much because I usually take my scooter everywhere. But when it’s cold and icy, I end up taking the subway, which I hate. If I were a billionaire, I’d hire someone to demolish the subway with explosives. Now, Serious Susan is saying, “Why don’t you just not take it, and leave it alone so other people can take it?” Well, Susan, I don’t like even thinking about the subway, and if it’s not there, I won’t think about it. In destroying it I’m just trying to find myself a little happiness and peace of mind, same as everybody else.

Things I would still do for myself if I had $1 billion dollars:

Tying my shoes. I really like tying my shoes. It’s a satisfying task, especially in dress shoes, when you can pull them really tight. Plus tying my own shoes will buy me a lot of goodwill with the commoners.  “That guy is worth $1 billion, and he still ties his own shoes!!”

Vacuuming: I looooove to vacuum. It’s a task where you can see clear, tangible results from your efforts. While I wouldn’t be opposed to using my new wealth to buy a sweet riding vacuum cleaner, I would definitely be the one riding it around.

vacuum
A billionaire riding his vaccum.

Riding my scooter: Many billionaires would be tempted to hire a scooter chauffeur. Not this guy. Cruising around the city on my Vespa is one of my favorite things to do, and I wouldn’t turn that over to anybody. I would, of course, outfit my scooter with small Hellfire missiles and a mounted machine gun for traffic jams and the inevitable uprising of the commoners.

EICMA 2008
Exactly like this, but in place of the side car, missiles.

So, tell me: if you came into $1 billion dollars, which everyday tasks would you pay someone else to do, and which ones would you keep for yourself?

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29 Responses to The Outsourcing Test

  1. Meredith Bell says:

    So interesting, Davis — I love thinking about those kinds of things.

    Change: I would hire a nanny for bedtime. We’re down to 2 little monkeys who require more prodding — but I’ve gone through the process with 5 of them over the years — it’s not any easier with 2 than with 5. Getting kids to move at bedtime and go through all the steps of snack, bath, brushing teeth,etc. — while moving like molasses or wrestling with each other or constantly stalling— when I am at my peak of fatigue and my patience is ready to crack at the smallest thing….. it’s not my favorite time of day. I’d have someone else do the harder stuff, and I’d meet the kids in the their beds to tuck them in, say prayers, and talk and read to them (the fun stuff!).

    I would still cook myself. I like doing that. But as a billionaire I’d be able to do lots of more interesting and even healthier meals (as well as experimenting with recipes) that require more ingredients than are possible to afford on regular basis with a family of 7 in this economy — and esp. when trying to keep a 6’6″ fifteen year old full…..

  2. maweesa says:

    is there a way i could get someone to get out of bed for me in the morning?? that’s by far my least favorite… also, i would want someone to do my hair. that’s half the reason i don’t shower very often. it’s something guys just don’t understand.

  3. Andrea W. says:

    Amen, Meredith and Melissa.

    I would for sure hire someone to blow dry my hair. I don’t even have amazing thick lovely hair that takes forever to dry, it probably takes 5 minutes, but I dread it so much. I would hire someone to floss my teeth. I would hire someone to gather all the laundry that needs to be washed and put them away after I sorted, washed and folded them. I like sorting, washing and folding and HATE gathering and putting away.

    I would also hire someone to unload the dishwasher, but I would load it myself. I enjoy that or rather I can’t handle anyone else loading it.

    I would do my own sweeping, but hire someone to sweep the piles into the dustpan and throw it away.

    Most importantly, I would hire someone to drive carpool for me.

  4. Eliza says:

    funny stuff dave. Your list was cracking me up, the subway and the elevator, wow, lol.

    I would pay someone to get me ready for bed. When I’m tired i just want to crash in bed and not go wash my face, brush my teeth, take contacts out, go potty, etc… exhausting just thinking of it. Also totally with Andrea on the putting away laundry, but I would add sorting too, that involves some thinking that I just don’t want to do, like “what do I do with this white and brown striped shirt, lights or darks? mind boggling. Also hire a personal chef, I hate making dinner and thinking of what to make.

    Things I would still do, driving. I really like it especially with some good tunes. Totally with you on the vacuuming thing, easy, clear rewards and enough of hard work that you feel like you’ve really accomplished something.

  5. Layne says:

    How about going to church? If I were a billionaire, I’d hire someone to go to church for me so I can watch football and play video games.

    Here’s the irony about billionaires and the uber rich: REAL billionaires are scheeming about how to make more money, the rest of us are convinced we’d just take a break from life if we were rich and basically retire. For instance, Warren Buffett. That guy is like 90 and probably still works 60 hour weeks. Work for some of those guys is their hobby. Me? I definitely would quit my current job.

    Now I’m going to dream about being rich for the rest of the day. Thanks for that distraction Davis.

  6. Wade says:

    What I’d Hire Out:
    1. Putting me to bed. I’d hire someone to come find me when its bedtime with toothbrush and pajamas in hand, get me ready for bed then carry me to my bed. Those 5-10 minutes of my day are by far the worst and I would replace them even if I only had a million dollars to my name.

    2. Parking. Not driving my car, mind you, but parking it. My parking chauffeur would sit in the back seat silently while I zoom around town town in my really fast car, then I would pull up to the entrance of wherever I was going and he/she would hop up front and whisk my car away while I stand there brushing out the wrinkles from my overcoat.

    What I wouldn’t:

    1. Pouring my cereal. No matter how much I paid someone, i don’t think anyone could get the exact proportions of milk and cereal (which varies for every variety of cereal) that has taken me a lifetime to master. And those few precious seconds lost between when he/she pours the milk and when my cereal is finally delivered to me can never be recovered.

  7. Wade says:

    Just saw your post Eliza, good call on the ‘put me to bed’ outsourcing.

  8. Davis says:

    Mere, your description of getting kids to bed just delayed the arrival of children in my family by 5 more years.

    Andrea, you’ve truly comprehended the spirit of my post. I love that you want to sweep but want to outsource sweeping into the dustpan.

    Melissa, although it’s not possible to hire someone to get out of bed FOR you, you can just hire someone to do the things you do once you’re out of bed so you don’t have to ever leave your bed.

    Layne, I think you’re on to something. You could even have the guy take notes for you. And then hire him to read the notes for you. And you’re right about the uber rich: they’re uber rich because they’re the kind of people who when they’re uber rich still want to make money. If you’re the kind who only wants to work to make money to retire, you probably won’t ever make a lot of money. Which sucks for me.

    Eliza, you hit it on the head with being put to bed. Honestly, the steps between deciding I’m going to bed and actually getting in bed are awful. Wade feels the same way.

    Wade, 100% with you on parking. I like driving – unless there’s bad traffic – but parking is what servants are for. And I laughed at the brushing your overcoat line.

  9. Alesa says:

    I would hire somebody to go to the park to push the kids on the swings. My kids can make me stand there in 100 degree weather just pushing away. On second thought I would also hire somebody to push me in the swings.

  10. Kady says:

    I would hire someone to learn German and then Swiss German for me. I speak Chinese…Isn’t that enough? Now, I have to learn German?

    I would hire someone to give ALL old swiss ladies something to do other than peer through their innocent lacy curtains at me and my dog. One false move and I am suddenly getting yelled at from the third floor of an apartment building. Everything is “katastroph”. It’s as if all swiss women over the age of 65 are in some sort of secret police force and are authorized to pounce on anyone they feel is out of line. I can’t take much more of these women!

    That isn’t much to ask for is it?

  11. Ali says:

    im with melissa, def hire someone to do my hair, same reason i wash mine once a week. and i would hire a cook, to cook good food for me. but i would always make my bed. i like doing that.

  12. tyler says:

    I would hire a sprite, silver haired gentleman to be my personal dentist, who comes to my house once a month and professionally cleans my teeth, so I never have to brush them. Or I would pay pay good money for someone to make “Greenies” for humans. You know, those delicious looking, well packaged, flavored, let’s not forget expensive dog chewables that clean your mutt’s mouth to a level surpassing your own. What are we thinking? Not only do we force ourselves to stand in the bathroom, the kitchen, the bedroom, or laying on the bed scrubbing, for me let’s say about 129 seconds max, maybe once a day. But dog’s, boy they are lucky. They couldn’t be happier than to get a chance to consume their taste bud exalting snack, which by the way also cleans their teeth. So who are the rich one’s ‘eh? Dogs and other animals who chew on things to clean their teeth. I chew on food all day and the dentist would not proclaim that its doing my teeth any good at all. Ahhh, I am mad now and jealous of my dog. Thanks Davis

  13. Christian says:

    Man, I really like Tyler’s Greensies idea.

    I’m with Andrea on hiring someone to put my kids to bed. I have the easiest, most adorable kids in the world and I love spending all the time I possibly can with them. Except putting them to bed. Not sure why, but it is such a pain.

    I’m also with Layne on paying someone to go to Church for me. Maybe just the third hour.

    I would also pay someone to deal with all administrative things like bills and insurance and all that crap

    I would pay someone to give me a massage at my house everyday.

    I would pay someone to buy the gifts I have to give people. I’m not good at it and don’t like it.

    I would pay to hire a personal hygiene consultant for my sister-in-law.

    Might also pay 4 buff dudes to carry me around in an old fashioned litter.

    I would pay someone to do crafty things with my kids.

  14. shannon says:

    I would hire someone to make all my phone calls. Especially when I need a babysitter. I hate tracking them down, only to have that awkward phone conversation and then having to act like I’m not dissapointed that they’d rather see a movie with their friends than babysit my kids that night. I’d definitly hire someone to go grocery shopping for me, but this could be tricky. If they came back with the wrong stuff, I’d have to fire them and I’d probably go through several grocery servants. I’d hire someone to take my vitamins for me. It takes about 13 seconds, but I HATE it. Lastly, I’d hire someone to feed my picky baby. Someone who was really good and dodging flailing arms and strategically getting a spoon through tightly pressed lips.

  15. Macy says:

    I am so with you, Shannon. For some reason I hate finding babysitters. Even after my first call, and leave a message, and then have to wait until they call back with a no or yes before I can call someone else. It is a pain.

    I actually love to grocery shop, but would definitely have someone at my house waiting to carry my groceries in and put them away.

    I also love the parking idea. I love to drive, but would love to have someone wait for me in the car while I run errands (especially lots of little errands downtown where parking can be a pain) and sit in the car with my kids so I don’t have to haul them in everytime.

    I actually do love the bedtime process with my kids most of the time. Ok, there are definitely times when they are being a pain and have tons of requests , etc. But I love the bedtime stories, the chats I get with my kids at night they are never up for during the day for some reason. I love that time with them. But I would love for someone to come play soccer , football, and basketball with Rex during the day so I don’t have to. That would be great!

  16. Norm says:

    I was about to leave a “Thanks, Davis, that was hilarious”

    But then I thought, “That doesn’t really add any value to this thread nor does it even answer his question at the end.”

    But on the other hand even the appreciator as well as the originator of humor has their place in the blogoshere. Can the head say to the feet “I have no use of thee?”

    We all play our part at DDDT and so with a little more harrumph and a little less fear I present in all it’s glorious banality a heartfelt:

    “Thanks, Davis, that was hilarious”

  17. Christian says:

    I would hire someone to put my kids in their car seats. That’s the worst task ever, especially if you have a sensitive back.

    I would always have a helicopter standing by in case I wanted to go somewhere during traffic.

  18. ron says:

    People I would hire:

    Personal chef. Making healthy yet tasty food isn’t easy for me to do. Actually making food in general isn’t easy for me to do.

    Personal trainer. I’ve waisted a fair amount of time wandering around gyms thinking what great shape I’d like to be in, but unable to figure out how to make that happen.

    Someone to stand in lines for me. Like at the post office, grocery store, etc.

    Someone to stand outside Helaman Halls and get numbers for me. The novelty is starting to wear off.

    Things I’d continue to do:

    Drive myself around. I like driving.

    Sing to myself. I like singing.

    Feed the homeless. I like feeding homeless people.

    I would not

  19. ron says:

    …need someone to edit my comments on blog posts. I like throwing in a random “I would not” at the end of my comments just to keep people guessing.

  20. Davis says:

    Alesa, that’s a great idea. I’m thinking of a really nice butler outfit pushing an adult woman on the swings saying, “Faster, madame? Higher? Perhaps an underdog?”

    Kady (hi! how are you?), it sounds like maybe you should just use your $1 billion to move out of Switzerland.

    Ali, I don’t mind making my bed. It’s changing sheets that I hate.

    Tyler, I think you’ve stumbled onto a million dollar idea here. Everyone hates to brush their teeth. Just develop a chewable something that cleans them. You really would be a billionaire.

    Kook, a personal masseuse is on my list of thing to do above buying a house.

    Shannon, I’m just impressed you even take vitamins. I haven’t had a vitamin since 4th grade.

    Macy, I’d come play sports with Rex all day for a cool $120K a year. Think about it.

    Norm, your comment made me laugh really hard.

    Ron, that’s why it’s unacceptable for rich people to be fat. If you had a chef cooking all of your meals for you and making sure they were healthy and the right amount of calories, how hard could it be? I’m looking at you, Oprah.

  21. Katherine Lewis says:

    Hands down, I would hire someone to:

    1. Be standing outside the shower with warm people dryers to dry me off when I get out of the shower. I never want to get out because I know I will be so cold and when I finally do, I hurry and put a towel on and jump back in bed and lay there for another 15 minutes. This is why I am ALWAYS late. I never factor in that 15 minutes. But, I would hire a robot for this. Preferably a blind robot.

    2. Be pregnant for me. I really want a truckload of kids and I would love them to be close together in age, but I don’t want to be the one to actually carry these kids, throw up every time I enter our apartment, be in pain, and I definitely don’t want to deliver the children. Also, if possible, I would hire a milk maid. I hear nursing is no picnic either.

    3. Help me look more feminine (i.e. dry and style my hair, do my fingernails and toes, pluck eyebrows, etc.)

    4. Also, the personal chef sounds like an awesome idea. Esp. if the church doesn’t change their stance on surrogacy and I am forced to be pregnant. A chef while pregnant would be worth their weight in gold.

    p.s. You don’t have to be a billionaire to hire someone to do your grocery shopping for you. I did it two nights ago and we are poor students living off whatever I can make as a nanny. Best 3 pounds I’ve spent in the last 4 months.

  22. stef says:

    I agree…grocery shopping would be one of those things I would kick to the curb. Hate doing it….WAY TOO MANY STEPS! Warming up my car and scraping the windows is another thing. I always forget I need to it and rush out to have to do that stupid chore and be LATE! I would hire someone to mate socks…with 7 people living in my house, finding washing and pairing the socks is annoying.
    I would keep these chores:
    Flossing my teeth: clean never felt so good! Vaccuuming is also something that I enjoy. Making cookies is something I couldm’t give up…and I don’t love cookies, but isn’t it fun to MAKE them?!?

  23. Rachel says:

    I would hire someone to instantly come up with convincing/manipulative phrases to get other people to complete tasks that I don’t want to do.

    It would most certainly replace this worn-out dialogue:

    Me: Sweetheart, can you please put the clean sheets on the bed? You’re so much better at it than I am.

    Brian: Please stop saying that, and just tell me you don’t want to do it.

    OR
    Me: Honey, the kids said they wanted you to put them to bed tonight.

    Brian: (see Brian’s response above)

  24. Ben Pratt says:

    I would pay someone to transfer clothes from the washer to the dryer. I don’t mind putting clothes in the washer, or even folding them, but grabbing a couple of wet socks at a time, MAN.

  25. maweesa says:

    ron, who are you kdding? you NEVER stand in lines now…

  26. Mary says:

    i would hire someone to be craig’s personal assistant opening up hours of my week.

    i would hire someone to blog for me…preferably someone witty and creative.

    i would not give up shopping for things to decorate my house.

    to macy and shannon…i have found the perfect babysitting solution. Mass text messaging. since every girl over the age of 11 now owns a cell phone that they live and die by, i send out a mass text to every sitter I have saying, “can anyone babysit tonight (or often..in 15 minutes…etc.)?” you know they get it instantly, as opposed to the home answering machine which they have no need for anymore, and they know they have competition for the job…so they hurry up and decide.

  27. Ryan says:

    Wow, Mary, that is honestly revolutionary. You really just blew my mind with that one.

  28. Danica says:

    It’s such a treat here are DDDT, reading the comments is just as fun as reading the posts. Thanks guys.

  29. susan says:

    really really funny. My room mate was reading this to me then started saying my name, confused me then realized this was actually written on there.

    I have wondered that same shower question many a times.

    Though I don’t think I’m as serious as you think I am, then again, maybe I am.

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