They Fired Me and Now Want Me Back!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Perspective and Opinion on ISYN So they fired me and now want me to babysit for them!

I was a nanny for a sweet little 9 month old baby girl for just over a month. We agreed this would be our trial period. I gave my 30 day notice (as agreed) at the end of the trial and had hoped to leave on good terms and planned to work each day as scheduled and give my best to the baby each day I was with her.

I gave notice because I was starting to feel stressed and unhappy. The dad worked at home and since it was a small space we got in each others way often, the baby would get upset when she saw Daddy and he couldn't play with her for more then a few minutes and also he would micro manage. By this I mean once I put her pants on and he insisted they were pj bottoms so I had to change them, ok no big deal there. Another time he insisted I change her hoodie when it didn't match well enough with the rest of her outfit. One time he gave her cookies right when I was making her lunch and then she refused to eat what I gave her and one time he let her drink some pop!

After awhile I learned we were not on the same page, the dad and I, but the mom and I seemed to be for the most part. One night I babysat and told him that the baby had cried and I left her in her room alone to see if she'd calm down after 5 minutes (she did) and he was really upset. I asked the mom about it right after and she was fine with it and said not to worry and if I did it again not to mention it to him. I wasn't comfortable with that though.

The day after I gave notice in person to both parents, the dad called me and fired me on the spot! He had gone over the agreement and asked me to get mine out so I did. He said that according to clause 4 I had not a responsible nanny because I had missed 3 days of work and did not have a good reason for it. That was the first time I'd heard him say the reasons I gave were not acceptable and I think he should have told me that, but that was fine, I felt relieved not to go back to work for them again.

That was in August. Since then the mom called me once the week after I was fired and asked me to babysit, I thought maybe she was asking without the dad knowing since he was out of town (I knew because we had talked earlier about his out of town buisniess trip) and I said no I couldn't babysit for her. Then the mom called me again about a week ago and asked me to babysit at the last minute and I was busy so I said no. Then the dad called me 2 days ago and asked me to babysit tomorrow night. I said I'd have to check my schedule.

The truth is I really don't want to babysit for them again. If they think I'm irresponsible then I don't think I should be their nanny or babysitter. The dad called earlier and I let it go to voice mail, I'll check the message later. What should I say to them? Should I just not answer when they call or should I be honest with them and tell them I just don't feel comfortable babysitting for them because of the way I was fired and that he said I wasn't responsible?


Nana said...

You worked for just over a month and had three sick days?

nc said...

Just tell them you aren't interested in babysitting for them.

Best Seller said...

I agree, 3 sick days in a month? I wouldn't tolerate that many absent days, unless of course it was really serious, but you were still very new!

I think you should just move on. Tell them you have another job now and it would conflict with the hours they need you, or something.

Consistent Moniker said...

The three days is neither here nor there at the moment. She's asking advice about the babysitting. Let's stay on topic.

You are not obligated to do anything for them. Why put yourself in a situation that you know has the potential to be unpleasant? I think you should just be straight up with them. Let them know that based on your past experience with them, you are not comfortable accepting further employment with them - including occasional babysitting. End of conversation.

Good luck with that and with your future engagements.

Janet English said...

Change your phone number!

How rude to "fire" you just so they can have the last say.

If you are real bitchy like me just say: no thanks I'd rather go out for drinks with my friends than work. I've had to say that many times to people who think they own you post employment. No ways will I help someone who tried that with me.

narcotic nanny said...

What's up with everybody trying to be a blog monitor and bitching about de-railing threads? I'm sure we'll get called out on it if it get's bad enough!
For the OP, you don't owe them anything. Just tell them you're done and not to call anymore.

And I think changing the phone # is too extreme over something like this! OP's friends, family, and business contacts would have to be called and given the new # - too much of a headache.

nannyinmanhattan said...

Tell them you're busy watching TV. HEHEHHHEHEH.

cali mom said...

Well, the only reason I would recommend against telling them straight out that you will not do ANY babysitting for them is that it might convenience them more than you would want. After all, they were rather nasty about "firing" you after you gave notice, so you could let them continue scrambling around for childcare and chasing you unsuccessfully until they give up.

OR, you could get the gratification of explaining to them exactly WHY you want no further contact with them. That the reason you gave them notice is because you do not want to have to deal with people like them, though you TRIED to keep things amicable by giving them proper notice, and explain to them that they are delusional if they think you will now be willing to act as if nothing negative happened between you and help them out.

TC said...

Flat out tell them you will not babysit for them because of how they treated you. Maybe they will think twice before doing that to another person

OP said...

I'm the OP. The first time the mom called me was a real surprise. I wasn't sure if the dad had told her what his conversation with me had been like. I laughed when she told me the baby was in daycare (all ready) and how many times she'd been sick! lol Each time she had called me to babysit she'd mention how many colds the baby had brought home since starting daycare.

Naomi said...

You should answer and tell them both ( especially the father) WHY you won't work for them. Not just cuz you don't feel comfortable, but just the lil tidbits you added in this post.
Hopefully they'll ( mostly him) realizes that as a stay at home dad with a hired nanny, he needs to give space. And he needs to take the stick out of his butt.

You're not losing anything by being honest!

Nanny Taxi said...

I worked for a family like that! Dad worked from home and he would come in and take over dressing his daughter cuz her shirt didn't match her eyebrows or something! Very unnerving. Tell them you can't babysit! Both parents and the nanny need to work as a team, if one parent is on a different page it's not going to work out.

Village said...

If you really don't want to see them again, then don't.

However, you may also want to give them a chance to make things right with you. Did they cheat you out of your severance? Tell them to mail you a check for the full amount due. Then decide how much you want to charge them for baby sitting. I suggest DOUBLE your normal rate, paid UPFRONT. They have shown themselves to not be trustworthy.

You never know what people like this will agree to. You are not the first caregiver chased away. You may be the Mom's favorite, which is why they are trying to get you back. Just make sure the pay is commensurate with their pain in the butt behavior.

I once had a couple who only wanted me to sit with their child, and I didn't want to do it. (Infant) In the end they paid me three times my going rate. It was worth it to me.

millows said...

be honest. explain why you dont want to babysit, what do you have to lose? then move on and ignore the calls if they dont stop. sounds like a wierd position.

honest nanny said...

DO NOT babysit for them again.

I've been taken advantage of by parents before...It's not fair to you emotionally or career wise. What if you were to sit for them again and they accused you of being irresponsible or worse? You don't need to chance it.

The ONLY way I'd go back to work for them, even periodical baby-sitting is if they agree to writing a good reference for you (in writing on professional header paper with a notarized signature).

Otherwise tell them you feel you were treated unfairly and you would like to not be contacted again. It's a bit extreme to change your phone # until you tell them you don't want to be called and THEN they continue to do it.

As a nanny you have to stick up for yourself and your rights. We don't have unions or protection from arbitrary "firings."

Keep your head up. It's not your fault.

OP said...

I was never given any severance! According to the dad I had breached the agreement we made by not giving an acceptable reason each time I was not able to come to work. In our agreement we had in writing it stated that if I had been fired for doing anything to break the agreement there would be no severance pay.

I do feel cheated by them. I think the excuse he gave to fire me was really lame. I didn't do anything about it though because I was relieved not to have to go back. I was really stressed and I didn't want the baby to notice this so was quite glad not to go back again,but I would have and would have dealt with the stress for the next 30 days if I needed to.

I just don't feel comfortable going back now. What if I did something wrong that either parent (ok the dad) didn't like or agree with? Then I'd be in trouble.

Now I'm thinking they really shouldn't be asking me to babysit at all since they fired me for "breaching" the agreement. I'm pretty sure they had daycare waiting for them before they fired me. That's why they got in at the end of that week. Wait lists here are really long.

Village said...

Even if you have no intention of going back, you should get your severance and letter of recommendation. Just ask them for it. Tell them after they have paid you and given you a letter, you will talk about baby sitting.

PinkNanny said...

i don't want to be a broken record, but i wouldn't babysit for them UNLESS the father talks to you on the phone and sounds really sorry and/or totally changed.

sometimes people have to lose something to realize what they had.

anyway, babysitting isn't a major committment like nannying. if you watch the baby while the parents go out, you won't have to deal with that dad.

Nanny Prints said...

I agree - don't babysit for them!

I too was a nanny for a family with both parents 'working' from home. The dad basically sat in the same room as us and played on the computer and micro-managed. Telling my the socks I picked out weren't right, or that I should take the kids to this specific park or shop (he wouldn't let me pick where I wanted to take them...he didn't say go to a park today, he'd say go to THIS park today). It was a nightmare!

Anyhow, I would never go back to babysit for them - even if we did part on good terms.

NannyInCharge said...

This sounds exactly like a couple I worked for a few years ago but they had a 9 month old baby boy. They told me at first that every great once and a while one of them may be working from home. They did not however, tell me that Dad would be working from home. Everyday! I am not a mother's helper, or a father's helper either! I can't stand that kind of position. Anyways after a few weeks I wanted to take the baby out for a walk in his stroller around the neighborhood. They weren't ready for that. The dad would come downstairs for 2 seconds then the baby would be upset for an hour that his dad came and left so quickly. He would micromanage and it was annoying. I quit after 2 months... the couple divorced 2 months later and the mom called me non stop asking me to give statements on what a bad father he was in their divorce hearing. Ummm no thanks!

I would just tell those parents that honestly, it wasn't a good fit. You don't have to have any reasons. You don't have to tell them anything. If you want them off your back, tell them you got a new job, can't take on anymore hours right now, and didn't feel it was quite working out any longer. Being upfront and honest right away will save a bunch of drama.

Also, unless you were in the hospital bleeding or on fire, there is NO WAY I would ever miss 3 days in a month, let alone the first month of my employment, let alone my trial period!! I don't even miss 3 days a year. Being a nanny means you go to work and schedule other things around it unless you have no other options and have been around long enough to prove yourself. Actually IMO that goes for most any job.

OP said...

Since I no longer have the parents e-mail address,I found the mom on facebook and sent her a message. I told them that I didn't think I could babysit for them right now since I was upset about the way they fired me.I said it wasn't fair and that I should have had my severance pay. So now I wait for a reply.

OP said...


I was in the hospital sick,bleeding and on fire though ;)

Just kidding,but I was quite sick 2 days with fever,nausea and um....well I won't mention anything else. The other day I had some flooding that I had to deal with asap in my home that no one could take care of since I was living alone at the time. I did call as early as I could to let them know and asked if I could come in later and offered to stay later as well,but they declined.

nora said...

I don't know about most people, but I only check my facebook once every week or so. You might not get an immediate reply.. just saying.
Good luck, though.

Nanny in Beautiful San Diego CA said...

While it dosen't sound good to be sick for 3 days, hey...when you're sick, you're sick. When I get a fever, nausea, etc. and other flu symptoms, I usually am sick for at least five days. It never is a one day thing, so as employers they should understand since I am sure they have been ill before since in spite of their behavior, I am sure they are human beings just like us!
I would not baby-sit for them. Just let them go. After all, it was only a month and you can explain if you want, but you can just say it wasn't a good match.
I have worked with parents who telecommute from the house and it is the hardest thing for me. The child knows the parent is in close quarters and usually behaves in a different manner than if the parents were altogether gone. Also, I always feel like I am constantly being watched and I probably am. It is annoying when you have the parent there, saying..."Don't forget to give little Susie her veggies" or "Let me put her down for her nap, she is tired."
I won't ever again work for parents who stay home, even if they have an office there. It may sound bad that I can only work for parents who leave the house and go to work, but anyone who has experience with this will understand.

OP said...

They got back to me right away this morning. Here is some of what they said to me.

"Firstly, we are both saddened and dismayed by the accusations of duplicity on our part that are apparent in your message: You are being both rude and unfair to us."

That was in response to me saying that it seemed like they fired me right after I gave notice because maybe they had been looking for daycare before that and that is why they found one so fast.

"Finally, I would like to remind you that after your termination, **you offered** to continue to babysit for R. Because your inadequacy was related to reliability and not to your (excellent) manner with R, we figured that it could be an acceptable compromise for both parties. Now, it seems that your offer was not made in good faith, so we apologize for bothering you."

That statement is only somewhat true. When I gave my notice I said that I'd be happy to babysit for them from time to time,but the next day I changed my mind after the way they fired me,though I guess that wasn't understood since I didn't verbally take back my offer to babysit.

In their e-mail to me they did not explain why they waited to tell me that my reasons for not coming in to work were not acceptable until after I gave notice. I guess I'll never know since they also said they did not wish to hear from me again. So I think they really getting to have the last work ;)

OP (again) said...

Darn! I meant "word". They like to get the last word!

honest nanny said...

ha, nice catch there OP.

well, at least you are done with them.
some parents are extremely passive aggressive and don't mention things that are bothering them when they should... so us nannies can do better at our jobs.

for future, some advice. i have an "open door" policy with anyone who employs me. if they won't agree to it i won't work for them. basically it means that at the end of every week we have 5-15 min. of check in. just to hear how the week went for both parties. this gives us an opportunity to COMMUNICATE about pay, hours, discipline, kid related issues. i totally recommend it! with my last family it was fabulous because it was a "safe" time and no one felt bad for mentioning things that were bothering us (like me being late one day or them not calling me to tell me they were going to be late).

think about it. it could be altered to bi-monthly or monthly evaluations as well. just good to emphasize how important OPEN COMMUNICATION is. Good luck to you!

cali mom said...

Well OP,you TOLD them you'd like to babysit from time to time and now you are outraged that they asked you if you would want to babysit a few times? How exactly did you think they would know that you had changed your mind? Did you think they were telepathic? Not that I'd want to babysit for them either if I were you, but duh!

OP said...

Cali mom,

After being fired the day after giving notice,not getting any severance pay AND being called unreliable and irresponsible wouldn't it be obvious that someone wouldn't want to even babysit for you anymore? Well,Duh!

I was never outraged,by the way when they did call me and ask me to babysit,just a little surprised is all.

mom said...

OP, it sounds like the dad fired you because when he got the work agreement out he realized they would have to pay oyu severance unless they fired you for cause. That's pretty cheap. I've known some people that cheap and you will never get around him, so don't even try. The only way you'll get anything from him now is to pry it out of his cold dead fist.
Although..I hafta admit also that I do have a slight bit of sympathy for what he must have felt thinking that he had to pay you for (was it two weeks severance? I am assuming that here.) 50% more work than you did after only one month of work...especially considering that you missed more than 10% of your scheduled workdays during the trial period.
I know that sicknesses and emergencies happen...but I suspect it was somewhat suspicious to them to have both a sickness and a dire home emergency keep you home all within the first month. Face it, a lot of employees will miss work for a sniffle or a headache, which ruins it for those (of which you may be one) who actually call in sick only when they are truly very ill. When you missed all of those days in the first month it probably made them think you were flaky...fair or not.

Still, the right thing fo rhim to do would have been to pay you at least some severance if it was called for in the agreement. But does a trial period even allow for severance? Because it seems to me that it's not actually severing a's more like the test period showed you all that it would be unwise to enter into a contract.

I suppose there is no more dilemma now since they are also upset with you. I would have refrained from making the accusation about the daycare since there was no proof of that and just asked for the severance (if it was, in fact, due) based on the fact that they did not complain up front about the sick day excuses.But still, the letter you received was very cold. Be done and be glad the whole thing is over.

OP said...

I worked for them a little over a month,so yes severance should have been given if I was fired without cause. I'm sure that was just an excuse not to pay me.

There were some red flags that I should have paid more attention to,but I really liked them and the baby when we first met. It was the dads idea for the the trial period,he put that in the agreement on his own,but I thought it was a great idea. We said it should be 30 days,but I noticed it had the wrong dates on it,it was for more then 30 days/4 weeks it was for 6 weeks. I don't know if he made that mistake because I had worked for them for one week and then they went out of town for a week and then I started with them full time the week after that or what. It didn't make much sense to me,but when I asked him about it he verbally changed it to the right date. Still I gave my notice a little after the 7 week mark anyway.

In our agreement (that he pretty much wrote) he agreed to paying me a small amount of severance if I was let go during or at the end of the trial and more if I was let go well after it ended.

I was really trying hard not make it sound like I was accusing them of all ready looking for daycare but I guess that's how they took it :(

They said they had no choice but to find daycare and take the first one they found and they really are not happy with it at all. They did have a choice though. They could have let me stay on for the next 30 days and looked for a better daycare or another nanny. They chose not to though.

Either way I'm happy that I'm not working for them anymore and that they won't be calling me again. No need to change my number now ;)

Steven said...

Stability and trust are of paramount importance in these sort of relationships. They broke one and violated the other.

On top of that, they're unreasonable. If you were sick and had come to work, and the baby got sick? What would Mr. Pajama Bottom have had to say then?

OP, you did the right thing.

Forget them, there are better families out there.

My best wishes.