12 Unusual White House Jobs—And Their Salaries
If you're a stellar calligrapher, there may be a job for you in the White House.
When you hear someone say they work in the White House, you generally think of the office of the president and a building teeming with folks working on legislation, foreign and domestic affairs, and politics in general. But not everyone who clocks in and out of the Washington, D.C. establishment is a politician. There are a slew of job titles you might even find unusual here but are important for the inner workings of our president’s hub. Think you know the White House? There’s more to it than you think.
That’s right, not only are there at least two calligraphers on the White House staff (one makes about $84,400 annually and the other has a salary of $102,000), but they have a boss—the Chief Calligrapher. Currently, that role pays $109,200. While it might sound like a breezy gig involving fancy handwriting, the Chief Calligrapher is responsible for the design and execution of both social and official White House documents.
Director of the Presidential Gift Office
No, this isn’t a personal shopper, though heading up any kind of gift office sounds pretty fun. The Director of the Presidential Gift Office makes $58,200 and keeps track of the items given to POTUS during his administration. You see, as pointed out by Marie Claire, these presents don’t actually belong to the president unless he buys them at market value after his time in office. Otherwise, they are put in the National Archives, which is why it’s so important for a White House staffer to keep track of the many things procured during each term. These are 12 of the strangest gifts ever given to U.S. presidents.
For regular folks using talk to text on our cell phones is the easiest way to log a message. When you’re the president, you need stenographers following you around to make note of your every word. The White House employes a team of stenographers to get the job done, whose salaries range from $58,200 to $98,900 for the department’s director. Meanwhile, let us fill you in on why the White House is white.
Director of Youth Correspondence
If you think back to your own grade school years it’s likely that at some point you were either encouraged to or assigned the task of writing a letter to the POTUS of that time. The White House is already inundated with messages from constituents, so it shouldn’t be that surprising that a Director of Youth Correspondence exists to field mail from the country’s kids. This job earns $48,800 a year.
The White House does, indeed, have its very own beehive. When former President Barack Obama stepped into office, First Lady Michelle Obama wanted a hive to help pollinate her beloved garden. According to National Geographic, the honey collected from the hive is given as gifts and also used in the culinary creations served at the White House. During the Obama administration, Charles Brandts was the beekeeper for the job. Today, Executive Pastry Chef Susie Morrison maintains the hive.
Executive Pastry Chef
And speaking of the White House’s very own pastry chef, that in and of itself is an unusual job. Morrison is in charge of every confection served in the residence for State Dinners and private events. Morrison’s salary isn’t listed on the official White House website, however, according to the United States Department of Labor, a chef makes on average about $52,160 a year.
Ensuring decorum and cultivating a welcoming environment for White House events, social aides are traditionally members of the military. They assist the Social Secretary as well as POTUS and FLOTUS. According to the U.S. Navy’s official site, “Unmarried naval officers in the paygrades of O-2 through O-4 who are currently stationed in the National Capital Region are eligible to apply to the program, which is a collateral duty, not a permanent change of station.” This means that the job of social aide is in addition to their Naval duties and is an unpaid job.
Director of Comment Line
Depending on the day, being the Director of the White House Comment Line sounds like an absolutely thankless job. This person also serves as director of volunteers and greetings for presidential correspondence, earning $71,900. While they likely get an earful on a regular basis, it’s an incredibly important position in that constituents’ voices must be heard. Find out 13 things people get wrong about impeachment.
Digital Content Producer
Now here’s a job that didn’t exist in the early days of the United States presidency. A White House digital content producer earns $72,700 a year. This person is responsible for conveying the president’s message across digital platforms, relaying pertinent information through all these official White House channels. These are some presidential firsts you likely never learned in school.
There’s a lot of landscaping to do in order to keep up the White House’s curb appeal, making the Head Gardener position an important job. In 2018, the famous residence’s longest-serving head gardener, Irvin Williams passed away. It was former First Lady Jackie Kennedy that hired Williams to handle the 18-acre property. Salaries for White House gardeners have not been revealed. These are the 13 things that must happen when a president dies.
Director of Video Production
With so much happening in the White House, the president and his staff are constantly being filmed and photographed. Because of this, the residence has its own video production staff, including a head of the department and several videographers. The Director of Video Production makes $106,000, while a senior videographer earns $80,000. Know your presidents? This is the state that has produced the most United States presidents in history.
There are a lot of comings and goings from the White House, so an in-house travel office is a must. One senior travel manager makes $64,400 and a trip manager earns $72,700. The Director of the White House Travel Office makes substantially more at $106,000. Travel is stressful for most of us, getting government officials to and from their destinations on a tight schedule feels downright migraine-inducing. Not to mention that flying commercial is one of the 10 things presidents can’t do while in office.
- WhiteHouse.gov: Executive Office of the President: Annual Report to Congress on White House Office Personnel Issued Friday, June 26, 2020
- Marie Claire: All the Gifts the Trumps Have Given and Received Since the Election
- National Geographic: 12 Tools the Keep the White House Bees Buzzing
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: National Occupation Statistics
- Total Landscape Care: Longest-Serving White House Head Gardener Laid to Rest