Received Thursday, January 28, 2010
Hi, I'm posting today because of a complicated situation (it takes some explanation, please bear with me through this part). I'm a 23 year old recent college graduate, with previous nanny experience and excellent references. Currently I'm a live in nanny for a 15 month old boy. The husband lives in a different city and the mother works ~70 hour weeks, meaning that I match her hours. I get one day off each weekend, and sometimes not even that. When I first started the job in September, I was told that I would get ample extended vacation to compensate for the longer hours, and that in-laws would assist me from time to time. I was also told to vocalize any concerns I may have, since they understood a happy nanny to be a better nanny, a philosophy I wholeheartedly agree with.
I've been with the family for five months now. I can honestly say that I take great care of the child, and that, while I like my employers as people, they have not held up their end of the bargain in several matters: they are chronically late in payments, I have rarely had outside help, including when I've been sick and still babysitting for 30 hours straight. The house is without internet or cable, which wouldn't be a huge deal if it weren't for the fact that I don't have time to go to internet cafes to check my email, most of the time. I've talked to them about it, and they have brushed it aside. This part is slightly embarrasing to admit, but I will say it anyway so you can get a better picture and hopefully help me: I'm being paid 1000 a month, which I now understand is far below what most NYC nannies get paid, even for live-in.
So, this weekend some good friends from home are flying in, and I was planning on spending time with them on my day off. On Tuesday my employer asked me if I could babysit from Friday morning to Monday morning, so she could go out of town on business. I replied that I had made plans to see my friends. My employer seemed miffed, and I was told, in the future, to 'let them know further in advance' because they (her husband and her) are 'banking on me being there.'
Before this incident I was planning on talking to them about hiring a second nanny/payraise, but now I'm confused about everything. I really love the child, but don't know how to negotiate what I feel is fair and what, based off what I just told you, what they would be willing to give me. I feel like I'm being taken advantage of--not only that, but I truly am drained by the long hours, so 'extended vacation time' is not helpful when I'm tired now. It's partially my fault for not setting up clearer boundaries earlier on--(this is not the first time that they have expected me to babysit on my day off, with no extra pay). So I have two questions: what should I ask for, and how should I ask for it? Thanks, Ms. Confused