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20 Secrets Doormen Won't Tell You

Yes, they know about your mistress.

Living in a doorman building may seem like the height of luxury, but that doesn't mean this enviable amenity is without its drawbacks. While having a doorman means that someone's always around to sign for your packages, it also means someone's always there when you're walking in the door after a few too many drinks, or with someone on your arm who's not your spouse.

We've rounded up some of the most shocking secrets your doorman won't tell you, from the bad behavior of building residents to just how cheap some very wealthy individuals can be. And when you want to know what really goes on behind the scenes when you're on vacation, discover the 20 Secrets Hotel Employees Won't Tell You!

They Know When You're Cheating on Your Spouse

Couple kissing

If you think you can hide your affair from your doorman, think again. "I have discovered some potentially scandalous trysts and activities at most of the buildings I've worked at," says one doorman. "For example, I discovered this man (a married father of two) was having an affair with another woman. The next month, I found out his wife was also seeing someone on the side."

The Job is Far From Exciting

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While collecting a paycheck for opening doors and signing for packages doesn't sound so bad, many doormen report that their job is about as dull as anyone could imagine. "It can be boring to be honest. Think about it this way: I have to be at the door for 8 hours straight, and the total interaction time with people may be 2 hours on a busy day, so 1/4 of the time I'm just sitting a desk looking at cameras to anticipate when residents are coming in or out," says one New York City doorman.

They Don't Make as Much as You Think

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While it seems like a doorman in a building where apartments are going for millions should be making bank, that's rarely the case.

"We all get paid the same amount," says one doorman. "It doesn't matter if you been working for 20 years at the building or 2 years at the building. We get a little over $20 an hour." If you want your own less-than-stellar salary to last a lot longer, it's time to learn the 40 Easy Ways to Stretch Your Paycheck!

And You Should Really Tip Them

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Tipping at the holidays can make a big difference for your doorman, and you really should give them as much as you can. "I would say that you should give what you can afford to give provided that we've done a good job. I truly appreciate all tips," says one New York City doorman. "What I don't appreciate is getting $5 from the guy who has a dog in therapy and an endless conga line of strippers and coke dealers going in and out of his apartment telling me he wishes it could be more but it was a 'tough year.'"

They See Some Truly Monstrous Behavior

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Doormen often see the darker side of humanity, with some rich tenants behaving in truly egregious ways. "I've seen a woman fire a nanny because she was diagnosed with breast cancer, citing it as an 'undue hardship' for her, the employer," says one doorman. Doormen aren't the only service industry professionals with horror stories, however; the 20 Secrets Your Flight Attendant Won't Tell You are serious shockers.

But There Are Some Pleasant Tenants, Too


Fortunately, the good often balances out the bad. Many doormen say that the tenants in their building are polite, friendly, and generous. "Some of the most genuinely kind I've met has been through this job. For example, one tenant once gave me access to his personal catalog of poetry (which was pretty extensive!)," says one doorman.

Most Are Part of a Union

Union workers

Much like your plumber or electrician, your doorman is probably part of a union. So, while they may not be making a huge salary, many doormen say that the security and excellent benefits make the job worth it.

Their Salary May Have a Cap on It


Not only do doormen not make a ton of money, there's actually an upper limit on what they can earn. In New York City, for example, union doormen have a salary cap of just $44,000 per year.

They Aren't Allowed Much Entertainment

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While it seems as though your doorman should be allowed to divert him or herself during down time, they aren't actually allowed to do so in many cases.

"The tenants do not want us on our phone or computers. We have to be sneaky about it when we want to use our phones," says one doorman. Others say that they keep books behind the desk, even though it's technically against the rules.

People Show Off Their Racist Side Around Them

Stressed out man

Some really dark behavior—particularly that of the racist variety—comes out when tenants don't think their doorman isn't listening.  "There [are] some remarks about the Jewish people who live here. All behind the back though, and the people who make the worst remarks are probably the nicest to their face," says one New York City doorman. "I was surprised when I first heard some slurs and ridiculous things being thrown around about them."

They Have the Inside Scoop on Apartments Coming on the Market

Empty living room

Need a lead on a luxury apartment? Don't ask a realtor, ask a doorman. "The inside information we get is when the tenant dies or tells someone they are moving," says one doorman.

Their Shifts Can Be Ridiculously Long

Looking at watch

Looking for a job that's light on responsibilities and hours? Doorman work isn't for you, then. One NYC doorman recounts working a triple shift for a total of 24 hours straight on the job.

Some Tenants Go All Out for Their Doormen

Car key

While some people are stingy about tipping, others really treat their doormen like family. And in many cases, they're actually treated better than tenants' flesh and blood. One doorman says that he knows of a fellow doorman who received a $2500 tip, while another says that he heard of a tenant giving their doorman a Mercedes at Christmas. Looking for an upgraded car of your own? The Best New Cars for 2018 are this year's clear standouts.

Hotel Doormen in Big Cities Have Frequent Celebrity Run-Ins

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Hotel doormen have a lot more celebrity encounters than you might imagine, even outside Los Angeles and New York. One Detroit doorman recalls encounters with everyone from Neil Patrick Harris to Gerard Butler to Miley Cyrus. At luxury hotels, sports teams are a fixture, as well.

They Get Some Cool Stuff From Rich Tenants

buying gifts

Tips and the occasional Mercedes aren't the only things tenants give them. "Got a full bottle of alcohol once, which was great for 18-year-old me," says a New York doorman, who also recounts receiving records, stuffed animals, and even a painting from tenants.

One of Their Major Jobs is Security

Walkie talkie

Your doorman's job involves more than just signing for packages and hanging up your dry cleaning until you get home. "I think the biggest benefit is the security. My wife has had bad experiences living in walk-ups (she was followed up to her apt once). Often times we would leave our door unlocked when going on short errands, and I never had to worry at night if the deadbolt was locked or not," says one resident of a doorman building in New York.

They're Not Maintenance Men

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While your doorman may wear many hats, don't assume that they're there to provide maintenance services. Doorman work is largely unionized, so their job description is pretty specific and doesn't generally include fixing your sink or changing out your light bulbs.

Getting the Job Isn't as Easy as it Seems

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While it may seem like anyone can walk in the door and land a doorman gig, that's hardly the case. In fact, most doormen say that they knew someone who already worked at the building in order to get their job. "You kind of need a connection to get this kind of job or find out which management company owns the building and see where they are located to hand in a résumé and hope a position opens up," reveals one doorman. Want to land your dream job? The Secret Trick for Getting Your Résumé Noticed will put you ahead of the competition.

Hotel Work Makes Having a Personal Life Difficult

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While celebrity encounters can be a major job perk, the lack of a personal life that most hotel doormen suffer isn't exactly worth it. "If you are even considering a hospitality career kiss your weekends, Friday nights, holidays, and birthday goodbye," laments one hotel doorman.

There's Not Much Room For Advancement

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If you're seeing the same doorman day in and day out for decades, don't assume it's because they're unambitious. The union benefits often provide incentive for doormen to stay in their current positions, and there's not much room for advancement, anyway. Doormen can occasionally make their way up to the superintendent position, but those positions are often held until the previous super dies. If you're ready to make your move to a job with more mobility, discover the 40 Best Ways to Jumpstart Your Career!

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Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more
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