A few years back, there was a hot trend among the internet set: inexpensive personal assistants from India. Evangelized in a book aspirationally titled “The Four-Hour Work Week,” nearly every nerd I knew tried these assistants on for size, paying less than a hundred bucks for the completion of a set number of tasks per month. And nearly everyone ditched these services as it became clear that the tasks that could be performed by a guy on a phone in India were frustratingly rangebound, no matter how hard they tried. It’s hard to assist personally from the other side of the planet; it doesn’t help much to have someone tell you where to get your clothes dry cleaned when you actually need someone to pick up the dry cleaning.

It looks like the personal assistant trend is about to kick up again, thanks to a bunch of start-ups making web sites and phone apps that aim to match New Yorkers with real-life people who can do a variety of tasks, from house cleaning, to baby sitting, to running around town and doing pretty much whatever you can think up.

Some services, like and TaskRabbit, personally interview and vet each of their servants-for-hire. Some, like Zaarly, work as a sort of inverse Craigslist: you put up the task and the price you’re willing to pay; others can accept the task if they choose. And of course, there’s still the services category of Craigslist itself. (An app called Exec will do the same thing now for San Franciscans.)

But having hired help seems weird. It could just be my middle-class mid-western upbringing, but hiring help is (in my head) something that only snotty, lazy people do. And as much as I’ve warmed to one-off service–moving guys with trucks are a luxury worth springing for when moving homes–I still feel strange about, say, hiring a cleaning lady. Or paying a guy who won an Emmy to bartend. It’s less about feeling like I’m taking advantage of someone (although that’s a bit of it), but more about the idea that if it’s really something I need done I should do it myself. Protestant work ethic guilt, ahoy.

Because I can’t make ethical decisions without outsourcing it to my friends online, I asked some folks on Twitter how they felt about hiring help. (And I used the term “servants” in particular, because the semantics of what words I use to describe people I pay money to help me is definitely in play.)

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/#!/joeljohnson/status/176694681265123330"]

There is a power-balance connotation to “servants” that for some reason “the service industry” doesn’t quite share.

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/#!/primesuspect/status/176700385661169664"]

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/#!/dmoren/status/176695241305366529"]

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/#!/sethporges/status/176696508840820737"]
Some people called out the word choice and the hand-wringing.

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/#!/samfbiddle/status/176695381630001152"]

But on the whole, people mostly just said that paying people to work is no big deal.

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/#!/jesusdiaz/status/176707373476491264"]

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/#!/anthonystauffer/status/176696138768973824"]

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/#!/mdflores/status/176696200513339393"]

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/#!/ejacqui/status/176694802589548545"]

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/#!/KatManalac/status/176696620442853377"]

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/#!/blackavar/status/176706320492265472"]

In fact, if I don’t get over paying people to help me out, I’m probably unamerican.

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/#!/BadTinnitus/status/176699894336196608"]

So I guess I’m going to hire a servant! Except I have no idea for what. Maybe to remind me not to call them servants.