Saturday

Do I cut my losses now?

Received Saturday, December 22, 2007- Perspective & Opinion
I was hired as a nanny for a family with two boys last April. I'd just had my daughter and it was part of the deal that she would be with me. I wouldn't take on a job with small children, but the boys were 12 and 15 at the time. They DO need supervision, they're on multiple meds (don't get me started) for ADHD and manic depression.

There was no contract. In the interview, I was told that there would be no "housekeeping" required of me, but that their current nanny would, from time to time run the dishwasher if needed. No problem, I'm a rational person.

The parents are divorced so I was working in two separate households in the same town. On my first day at the mom's house, I got a very nasty voicemail from her letting me know how upset she was that her kitchen was "gross" when she came home, and how she didn't like coming home to a messy house. I called her back and said that if I left MY kitchen gross it was still in the same state at the end of the day too, because it doesn't magically clean itself. That's when I knew there would be trouble. I mentioned it to the dad at this time.

Within a week, there were chore lists left for me every day at both houses. We're talking about the father expecting me to fold his size 53 underwear. I didn't do it. I kept at what my "assigned" duties were, and that was it. My mama didn't raise no fool. Around this time the mother dismissed me, so I was only working for the father. I worked with them almost full time all summer long, hanging with the boys and taking them places.

In September, with NO notice, I was told that they wouldn't need me any more, only very occasionally. I expressed my displeasure, but because something was better than nothing I still took the few hours now and then. Then I found out that they'd simply hired someone else who would clean their house AND nanny and they were only calling me when she wasn't around.

Today I sat in the house all day with the older kid while they had insulation done. It was an easy day's pay...however I found a thank you note on the kitchen table from the other nanny, thanking them for the beautiful earrings they'd gotten her for Christmas. She's been with them about a month and a half! I didn't even get a card, but I've been with them for 8 months.

Do I cut my losses now that I see how little value they place on me?

38 comments:

marypoppin'pills♣ said...

#1 ... let me congratulate you for standing up for yourself and doing it diplomatically.
#2 ... YES! Get out. They value you more as a Housekeeper than a Nanny (which has always gotten on my craw). You were hired to care for their children and contract or not, they still had a verbal one with you and can't expect to make those kind of changes on you.
Slighting you at Christmas on a present would definately be the final straw if it were me. That was just rude and insensitive.

MissDee said...

You poor thing! As a mild ADHD child, I understand how hard it was for adults to care for me. I got older and outgrew my ADHD, for the most part, I remember the challenge I was, due to what I had.

These people sound like total assholes, not to mention obnoxious! NEVER would I fold my employer's laundry-I do children's laundry, and I wouldn't have my housekeeper do my laundry! The purpose of a work agreement between the nanny/family is to make the job responsibilities clear. And for the new nanny, she's crazy for taking the job. I wouldn't want to work for these people!

Keep ya head up honey, and look for the family that will give you the earrings! If you need a work agreement, let me know-you can borrow mine!

mom said...

I would never go back there...not even once more.

Yes, that Cristi said...

GOD YES!! you should have left DECADES ago!! Why have you not already been looking for a job?

Yes, that Cristi said...

GOD YES!! you should have left DECADES ago!! Why have you not already been looking for a job?

Anonymous said...

what a-holes. i would've found a new job 7months and 29 days ago.... get out now and pls, give NO notice... as they didnt you

Anonymous said...

Do not go back! Find a job with a nice family, and get a contract that spells out your duties. Good luck.

Beth said...

IMO, you could have handled it a bit better by saying to them "during the interview process, I was told there would be no housecleaning duties, if that is going to be a new duty, then we need to renegotiate salary/benifits whatever."

Yes, this family was in the wrong in the way the handled certain things, but as a professional, you should have handeled things better too.

milwaukeenanny said...

Yes, and don't turn back!!!! Good for you for standing up for yourself!

Anonymous said...

Beth
I must ask - after the way they treated her, how in the world do you think she should've handled it better??

Anonymous said...

Can I just say ... working for 2 households in the same family was only a disaster waiting to happen. Don't put yourself in that predicament again.
I think you were hurt and upset by the way these rotten people treated you - and I think you handled it as best you could. Now, get out!

bag said...

IMO you are both at fault. I think your response to requests for extra duties was rude and unprofessional. Yes, your employers sounded impolite and had expectations that you would do more than discussed in the interview - but someone with a professional work attitude would not respond as you describe. Obviously the employee-employer relationship is going to suffer. In any other occupation employees generally try to get along with/please their employers even if they have to put in extra hours in the office, perform tasks that weren't specified in their contract etc (within reason)- it's called a work ethic. From what you describe "I sat in the house all day with the older kid while they had insulation done. It was an easy day's pay." it doesn't sound like you have much of one.
What exactly did you do all day as a nanny for 2 teenagers - are you saying you had no 'down' time at all to fold a load of laundry or clean up a kitchen. Yes it wasn't in your contract but going above and beyond the call of duty or displaying a bit of initiative when things need doing around the house is likely to result in a happy, satisfied employer - maybe one that feels like rewarding her nanny with nice earrings etc.

Anonymous said...

Fold size 53 stinky underwear?? You would do that, bag?
Ick.

Anonymous said...

She has a new baby with her, for one thing so that would not leave much down time; add two medicated teens and I would say that she probably had enough to be getting on with. She said that this most recent day of work was easy, not that it was easy when she was working all the time.

bag said...

7.44 - "stinky" ??? They were freshly laundered! I can't imagine how big size 53 would be but isn't that a bit unkind. Undies are undies whether they're size 10 or size 53- they still cover the same bits. I have to say - I'm was a physician so I've had to do a lot worse than fold someone elses underwear.
7.50 - I missed the fact she had a new baby with her when I read the original post. Yes - I guess she would have less time to devote to the employers household/kids. I still maintain the OP's responses to the situation were inappropriate in the context of an employer-employee relationship. I guess neither party was/is happy with the relationship - the employers sought someone new (and seem to be getting what they want out of it) and OP should too.

Anonymous said...

Bag and the OPs employers sound like the obnoxious people I work for and quit on within days.

I make it clear that I DO NO HOUSEWORK! However, I do tend to do the dishes if I have down time but it's never expected or asked of me.

Condoleeza said...

Get yourself a good lawyer and sue their asses for discrimination and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Anonymous said...

Bag
I would say that size 53 is, um, how do we say graciously ... beefy, fleshy, paunchy, rotund, portly, stout, obese - do you get it now?
And you are a Dr.?

Anonymous said...

Oh - and laundered or not - they'd be hard as hell to fold!

Anonymous said...

53 is huuuuge. My large boyfriend wears a 44, and I thought he was big!

bag said...

11.10 -lol - I get that they're big.
But I tend to think of size in lbs or BMI rather than pants size, so find it hard to visualise the dimensions of said undies.

cali mom said...

OP, I agree that you should have left long ago, and you should do it now. Only drawback is, it won't be as dramatic or as u of an inconvenience on the parents as it would have been before they reduced yoour hours to on-call PT temp, etc.

Anonymous said...

Next time they call you to work for them tell them OK then never show up, unprofessional, but oh well they get what they deserve.

Anonymous said...

GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE SAY GOODBYE SEEYA AND THE HELL WITH THEM YOU CAN DO BETTER THAN WORK FOR SCUM LIKE THEM.

Anonymous said...

I do agree with Beth that you could've handled it a bit more diplomatically.

However, with this family- I'm really not sure that would've helped you any. It's something to keep in mind for the future though.

I'd definitely quit and move on.

In your next job- do NOT begin or agree to start without a contract. Do not. It is silly not to have a contract. It's beneficial to everyone involved and takes minimal extra work with all the great samples around. (nannynetwork.com has one that I used in my new position.)

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I should say it sounds pretty straightforward. You are not happy with them. They do not seem happy with you. Just call it quits but it never hurts to remain civilized.

Anonymous said...

It looks like nannynetwork.com forgot to include a cost of living increase! $8-$10 an hour is the going rate?

Anonymous said...

nanny network sucks.
besides where does their money come from? agencies and other businesses subsidized by parents/employers.

Anonymous said...

In the nanny world their is no such thing as a CONTRACT- since it is not LEGALLY BINDING.
Please use the correct term-
Nanny/Family Work Agreement.

Also, each nanny job and nanny are unique. Salary is based upon many factors.
It's up to the nanny to decide what duties she wants to be resp. for...
The nannies that are flexible and are open to more duties, are the ones who generally know how to neg. a higher salary.

As for NannyNetwork.com-
they are the ones who have brought up the nanny profession.
Just visit their website and you will get good information.

Good Luck- only you can decide if you want to be taken advantage of or not.

Anonymous said...

Nanny Network is an off-shoot of 4nannytaxes.com and 4nannies.com , yes, nanny businesses/parents input the cash to fund the sites. WHO CARES??!! ALL off them are *excellent sites.* They push the nanny world forward leaps and bounds. Their nanny/parent message boards are *the* most professional out there with years and years of experience posting with legally paid, well compensated, highly educated nannies and respectful, highly regarded employers. If you want the correct answer to anything nanny-related--- go to nannynetwork.com OR a reputable nanny agency in the area. Do NOT post your issues on a silly public blog such as this...

Nanny Network has empowered many a nanny... and the more knowledge that you have, the more apt you are to NOT end up in the above mentioned situation. Communication and pre-determined guidelines and parameters are key in any working relationship... ESPECIALLY the nanny/family one.

we need a nanny union said...

Yeah, I'd be done with them for good. No notice or anything. You have no contract, so no obligation. In fact, I'd just simply stop answering their calls and 'break-up' with them using the ignoring tactic. They deserve no explanation. Plus, you wouldn't want them as a reference anyways, and that would be the only reason to maybe leave gracefully.

Anonymous said...

3:20
I agree that nannynetwork.com, etc. all have good Information. But this is far from a 'silly little blog'. It serves a great purpose/public service.

And before you get on your high horse (because I know who you are) ... I'm not saying you shouldn't be careful about what source you get the *right* info from, I'm just taking issue with you calling it that.

Anonymous said...

1;15 PM
"The nannies that are flexible and are open to more duties, are the ones who generally know how to neg. a higher salary."

I disagree, in my experience, nannies who do housekeeping and errands tend to be the less qualified, and lower paid. because many of them are illegal, and/or have little education, they are not in a position to negotiate and are frequently taken advantage of. The nannies earning top salaries do only child related duties, are college graduates, and can be selective about what jobs they accept.
This may not be the situation in all markets, but it is what I have observed.

sara said...

I am a professional nanny with seven years experience and a bachelors degree in sociology. I wouldn't work for a family that didn't have a full time housekeeper. I interview the families just as much as they interview me. It's a nanny market. And the last time I was on the market, I asked a certain salary and was offered MORE to come and work for two different families. They were bidding against each other. I made the right choice though. I would never work for a self indulgent SAHM. I only work for intelligent and well intentioned people.

Sarah and Mitch said...

Definitely run away, don't walk. These guys very obviously don't appreciate you, each other, and probably not their children either. It is not worth your time to work for a family who doesn't appreciate ANYTHING you do, let alone the peace of mind they would get (if they were normal parents!) by having someone that was trustworthy and capable taking care of their kids while they couldn't.

Get away as fast as you can, and if you need to tell them why, put it on paper so they read it a few times before scapegoating the blame to someone else.

So so sorry you had to deal with those awful, rude people!

Anonymous said...

11:10,
Everyone knows that doctors are idiots.

mom said...

Well, there's a very broad sweeping, and generally unfair comment.

marypoppin'pills said...

Wow ... I agree, Mom.
My Doctor is such an idiot that he saved my life back in '96 when I had a difficult to treat strain of pneumonia that left me hopitalized for 6 wks. and almost killed me.
Go figure!