Received Monday, January 12, 2009- Rants & Warnings
Let me start by saying the following is going to sound incredibly absurd to the point one may believe it to be made up. It's not. When I told this story to my current employer she said "Wow, I've never really thought of it from your side, we (employers) are always so worried about our own safety we don't realize the risks you guys take with just an interview."
I'm not that naive, I'm young, I'm not new to this and I understand that people are not always who they say they are. That being said, here is my story.
About two weeks before Christmas I got the boot from my former employer, my first nanny job I found through nannies4hire. Not an ideal job, but not terrible. No severance pay, nada. So I was stuck in a bind. I had no money coming in apart from my part-time job which currently was case-less (I am an IEI therapist, so pay is case based.) Nannies4hire doesn't offer much for areas in Maryland that I am willing to cover. So I expanded my searches to Craigslist, GreatAupair, Care and some unknown, sub-par, lousy services. I generally trust websites where employers have to pay (only in this field, for obvious reasons.) So I was ecstatic to get a call from someone on GreatAupair. I did research and saw few negative reviews, so I figured it was a safe bet. Right?
Well, my phone call was from a single father with two kids, looking for a live in. Of course this situation in itself, at least to me and in my area, is out of the ordinary. There are very few single fathers with full custody of their children, especially so young (ages 1 and 3.) So, automatically, I am wary of the simple fact that the person seeking my services is male, without a partner of any sort. Again, for my area, this is uncommon. I'm sure there are others who can understand where I come from with this. On the phone, he was a bit, pushy, shall we say? But I accredited that to his situation. He said his nanny of a year or two had gotten home sick and engaged over the break so he needed someone within the next two weeks. Desperation, okay. So he wanted to have an interview that night. He was the first to suggest that it be somewhere public, as he understand that a male in his situation is often awkward and sketchy. We talked about a few details over the telephone, he went out of his way to explain to me that he was looking for someone to perform the duties of a wife--but not in the bedroom (which he reiterated more than enough.) He wanted a companion and a mother for his children. I understand that.
So given all the circumstances, I decided the Starbucks in a place that I knew very well. Conveniently located directly across from my boyfriend's house (who is a 6 ft 4, easily angered Irish man ;).) Normally I meet families in home, this was the only exception. So I was still hesitant even after making the plans, but my mother talked me into it and convinced me I was just uncomfortable because he was a man.
Well, on the way there I got at least 2 phone calls from him asking where I was, knowing I was in rush hour traffic. Understandable, again, he has 2 children that are waiting for him. Third phone call is what gave me that gut feeling. He told me that he would be sitting on the hill, in his silver Camry with his lights off. I was baffled, why not just go in and say "I'm wearing _____" So I say okay. I have no intentions of going anywhere near his car or even letting him see mine as I am becoming more and more wary of the situation as I get closer. Now, I know I will probably get flamed for being stupid, but I had a hard time distinguishing that gut feeling from actual fear or stereotyping. I figure in a public place there can only be so much harm. So I arrive and park my car on the other side of the building, call him and tell him I am inside.
We meet, he seems nice. I'm an outgoing person, generally pretty abrasive. As was he, but above and beyond what an employer should be. He told me he wanted a live in, which we discussed earlier and I'd informed him I was not interested in that, I lived close enough that a commute was not a problem, as he'd earlier confused my area with one much further away.
He told me his life story, in entirely too much detail. About how he'd had a child with another woman that he didn't know about 13 years ago and how weird it was that he has a son that he never sees. Then he asked me about my life, about my boyfriend which he'd asked about on the phone earlier. I understand the questioning about a boyfriend. I am not a parent but if I am entrusting my child's care to someone for extended amounts of time, especially, I want that person to have good people in their lives. But he seemed more interested in my relationship than my actual qualifications as a nanny. He also told me that if the opportunity arose to move on with my boyfriend (as in get engaged or married) that he did not want to "stand in the way of love." Sweet. Then he asked if he (we'll call him W for now) would pose a problem to my relationship. He asked how close I thought my boyfriend and I were to being engaged, which completely shocked me, as he knew that I was only 20 and honestly, the idea of marriage this young is pretty foreign to me. This led into the discussion of how he met his children's mother, now ex wife.
W tells me they met in Miami while he was on business and she was a fresh 18, he was about 32 or 33. He found out she was stripper, they got married anyway. She is 22 now, a "druggie" and "crack head" and just up and left him and their children. This is what kind of set off something in my head. He kept complimenting me and telling me that if things don't work out between me and my boyfriend that he'd love to date me, he commented on how tiny I am and how he likes tiny girls.
There are a ton of other things that made me want to just up and run out of the Starbuck's after that, but I'm sure that it doesn't need to be said as you can see why I think this person is such a creeper. So not long after this I decided it was time for this interview to end, get out of there as quickly as possible. So I go to leave, he walks beside me and tells me he is going to walk me to my car, this is where I was stupid. I was a little panicked, I didn't know what to do, luckily I was in an open area. I walked over to the car, he pulls out his phone as I'm trying to leave and tells me to look at pictures of his children. I do. And rather than a handshake or wave good bye, he goes for a hug. Not beyond weird, but just not something I am comfortable with, or anyone in my position would have been.
He gives me his business card, I leave.
Lucky for me and hopefully someone else reading this, Maryland has a wonderful online court system (the actual judicial system is another story) in which you have complete and total access to all Maryland court records. With someones first and last name, you can find out if they've ever been in the court system. So for you employers and employees or anyone in Maryland, make use of this.
I had such a bad feeling leaving this, I did my research. On his business card, it had his first, middle and last name. I plugged this into the website, and got over 30 hits on HIS name. I verified this was indeed the same person I'd spoken to by making sure the birth date and area was correct (he'd told me when I'd mentioned mine, since they were pretty close.)
I looked through as many as possible, nearly every single one were serious criminal charges. He had been indicted for kidnapping, charged and convicted of Rape 1st degree, 2ND degree, false imprisonment, multiple counts of domestic violence, peace orders, restraining orders, battery & assault, violating exparte/peace order, possession and distribution of both Marijuana and cocaine, burglary, theft and multiple counts of alcohol/drug abuse (which he'd told me in the interview that he was now a recovering alcoholic, albeit he left out the part where it is a forced clean period.) assault 1st degree, reckless endangerment, deadly weapon with intent to harm/injure.
Another record showed that he'd recently been let out of department of corrections and was in the Penitentiary that was in Jessup.
So, the reason I am posting this is to ask if anyone else has interviewed with this man, and knows who he really is. His business card that he'd given me said that his first name was Warren, however when I looked at who hotlisted me on GreatAupair, his first name was Alan. You'd think maybe it was a middle name he goes by, but after searching through the records, I found that this was never a known name.
So please ladies (and gentleman?) be careful. Employers, think about how you worry about your own safety and reverse the roles; someone who doesn't know you is coming to your house, in a crazy crazy world where anyone can pretend to be somewhere else.