Burnt Out Nanny

Received Wednesday, February 10, 2010 - Rants and Warnings
I have been working for this family since last summer, they have a 11 month old and a 5 1/2 year old. My average work day is 14 hrs! I am a m-f live in. I do have a contract that states that they intend to maintain a 55-65 hr work week with an average work week of 60 hrs. Well I can count on one hand how many times I have worked only 55 hours a week only if there is a holiday or I am sick. I have been sick 3 times since November, I have never been sick like this and I believe it is due to the hours, I am burning out. By the time they are home it is to late for me to do anything outside of the house. At this point I feel I am being taken advantage of and they are trying to get their money's worth if that makes sense. I just want to quit and file for unemployment. I have been looking for another position even out of childcare. I don't even want to talk with them about it, the father tends to catch a attitude and twists words around and my general opinion of the parents is they won't want to work with me just hire another person until they burn out, I don't think they have ever had anyone long term.


ChelleLeigh said...

If you quit, or break your may be difficult to be able to collect unemployment. The best to thing to as of right now is to keep a book and write down your hours for a good amount of time. At least you will have some proof that the family overworked you if you do quit.

I've been in this position before and as sad as it is, it is partially your fault. You have allowed them to treat you like a doormat, and now they just expect that of you. If you do say something to you employers, don't be surprised if they get offended.

Jack'sMom said...

It never feels good to be taken advantage of. However, if you plan to apply for unemployment, don't quit. In general, only people who are fired, layed off or move more than 250 miles from their former place of employment are eligible.

About the author said...

Just be prepared to possibly fight with your former employer if they already twist around what you say and have an attitude now.
I will admit I got fired from a childcare position because the company owner was a money hungry miser who had a policy for tardiness that I have never seen anywhere else in all my years.
If you punched in more than one minute late in the morning and late at all after lunch it counts against you. Enough of those and you're out. They never took an ounce of explanation to heart.
I had just one too many of punching in at 7:32 *gasp* when I was supposed to be in at 7:30 and she fired me one morning when I arrived. (She even had the guts to ask me if I cared about my job before I got canned)
By the law I was eligible for unemployment and she fought me so hard I almost took her to court. They ruled in my favor before we had to go to court but it was so difficult. I had to be on the phone for hours with the unemployment offices.
I will fully admit it's my own fault for getting fired but the policy was bullshit. She went through so much staff throughout the years.
Your family sounds a little similar. If you decide to try to get out by getting fired just be so so so careful!
Even if you don't think they will work with you, at least give it a shot.

original poster said...

I did start logging my hours, I am wondering if my contract is any good because they sure did not live up to it, I was nickled and dimed to death when I first started the job, I should have listened to my instincts that were telling me mabie this job is a mistake

MissMannah said...

Why in the world did you sign a contract that said you'd have to work 60 hours a week? You won't get unemployment because you agreed to the working conditions.

I was also fired from a childcare position once and went on unemployment. I was a "floating assistant" at a preschool and, for some reason, the main teachers had it out for me. They often told the boss lies about me, about how I was treating the children badly and I would scare them. It was ridiculous, but rather than trying to find out any truth, I was just fired. The boss also tried to fight unemployment benefits, telling them that I was abusive, specifically that I would tell the children "Sit down and shut up!" Fortunately the boss had never written me up and no one had never written a formal complaint so she had no proof to go on and I got my benefits. It was a mortifying experience and of course I've never used that company as a reference.

You could be the best nanny in the world, but if someone's going to have it out for you, you're screwed. Your best bet would be to just break your contract and start a new job, probably out of childcare so you can give yourself some time to heal from all the BS.

what contract? said...

Unfortunately if your contract has you working up to 65 hours per week, there's no way to change that. However, if you state you usually work 14 hours day, 5 days a week, I would just say to your employers on Thursday evening- because I've worked 56 hours this week, I'll be leaving at 5 tomorrow (or whenever you will have fulfilled 65 hours). I've made plans. Then on Monday morning or evening, state, this week is supposed to be 55 hours. Which hours do you want me to work. You are still keeping them in control, you are just giving them the power to decide your hours within what they quoted you.

Nanny On Call said...

Urgh I know that feeling of being burned out. I work crazy hours and I can't wait to get out of here. I don't ever get to have a social life because of the hours and the family is always questioning why I don't make friends. I finally said 'How can I make friends when I spend 14-15 hours a day in your house? Maybe if I could get out before dark it might aid in my making friends.'
They acted all shocked and then the next day I got a text message 5 minutes before someone was supposed to come and let me off work stating that they had decided to stay in the city for the night since the mom had an early morning meeting.
I was so pissed and that was the moment the giving in my notice became no problem.

original poster said...

all the feedback is great! this is a exact quote from my contract " IT IS OUR INTENTION TO MAINTAIN A 55-65 HOUR WORK WEEK,WITH A AVERAGE WORK WEEK OF 60 HOURS" I assumed I would average out 60 hours a week sometimes less or more, I was lied too plain and simple also the mom told me I was a at will employee, oh they are both attorneys

About the author said...

I live in an at-will state too but it goes both ways unless I'm mistaken: they can fire you without reason and notice and you can quit without reason and notice. If you'll want the unemployment you might have to explain yourself, of course but it's something to consider.

cali mom said...

If you quit, your chances of getting unemployment benefits are about one in a million.

The contract states their "intentions" and I thing you'd have a very hard time convincing the unemployment office that because they ran over their "intentions" by an hour a day sometimes, you were justified in quitting and are therefore entitled to the benefit.

You need to have a sit down meeting with the parents and tell them that you need to stick within the bounds of your contract and not work over 65 hours in a week. You could inform them that if you work 65 hours in one week, you will only plann to work 55 hours in the next week, and that you can go over the scheduling every Sunday evening with themt o determne whioch hours they will need you that week.

However, I wouldn't expect them to be reasonable and suddenly change their habits. More likely, they'd start looking for a new nanny and you'd have to find not only a new job, but a new place to live. If they don't take steps to replace you, you can bet that they will then start going over the contract with a fine tooth comb to make sure YOU are sticking to every letter of YOUR deal, once you bring up the contract to them. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

the sad part is as burnt out as I am I get everything done and do not ignore the children, I hope the next nanny they burn out is mature enough to do this

Genealogy said...

I truly emphatize with you, goodluck in finding a new job should you intend to quit! :)

happynanny said...

I'm sorry about your experience. I have just left a position with a family who was always trying to squeeze whatever they could out of me. So now they are out an excellent nanny. The families who act like they are so fortunate to have me a part of their lives are the ones I can't leave, feel energized by, want to help them live a good life! That's life - if we treat each other like the blessings we are, everyone wins. If we try to take advantage of everyone at every turn... wow, what a sad life for the people doing it and unfortunately for the kids being raised by them. That's becoming such a big thing for me as I see people try to squeeze what they can pout of people. So, so sad.