You become a virtual prisoner in the White House, unable even to walk across the street without a contingent of Secret Service agents and a gaggle of aides.
You will have to endure 24-hour scrutiny and criticism of your every word and action, surround yourself with aides planning tell-all memoirs and scheming among themselves for power, and work 12-hour days in which your schedule is planned almost down to the minute.
Expect a constant battle with a hostile news media and an opposition party dedicated to frustrating and impeding your every move, from your grand economic agenda to your lowest appointments.
Only difficult decisions reach your desk – the easy ones have all been answered at lower levels of your administration.
But you will have the chance to put your personal stamp on a country of 308 million people and indeed on the entire world.
You will shape its economy, culture and society, and win a chapter for yourself in the history books alongside George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan and other American luminaries.