Fool me once....

Received Tuesday, June 15, 2010
perspective and opinion I need help ASAP!!! Now, I will state upfront that I know that I have allowed myself to be fooled by my employer's false promises of "things will fall together", and that I am generally too nice. So I do not need people telling me I have allowed myself to be taken advantage of, etc. because I know that. What I need help with is how to professionally, yet firmly take charge of the situation, and what to say to them. Having said all of that, here is my situation.

I am a live-in nanny.I have been with this family for 3 months. I watch twin two year olds. The children are awesome, and I love spending time with them. I watch them Monday-Friday, for around 11-12 hours a day. Both parents work outside of the home. Upon accepting this position, I agreed to work approximately 60 hours a week, prepare meals/plan playdates/take children to all appointments, etc., in exchange for: health insurance, use of a car/car insurance, room/board, cable/internet, credit card for work expenses, gym membership, and zoo membership.

Fastforward to now. I have the car/car insurance, and the gym membership. I have been given $40 in 3 months towards gas, and am frequently having to pay for the children's activities/medications, etc., upfront and then wait to be reimbursed. They have arranged the health insurance, but it doesn't start until the end of the month. I asked my mom about the zoo membership last week, and she said they now don't have the money to purchase it. I make a very low salary, and accepted the job due to the whole benefits package. I also have no cable because the father hasn't installed the cable box. The parents are good parents, and treat me decently.

I am horrible at confrontation, and sticking up for myself. I am doing everything (and more) that I agreed to in the contract. I would love to sample conversations! I don't know what to say without coming across as emotional. I am in "that time of the month", and am a bit emotional. But I cannot keep this up. I am burned out, and at my whits end. I want to talk with my employers today or tomorrow. Any helpful advice is appreciated! I do not have a car, and so cannot accept a live-out position at this time, or I would have left a long time ago. And as everyone knows, the economy is horrible, and live-in positions in my area are hard to come by. Thank you in advance!!


repost for anonymous said...

Hi there,

I think that the best thing for you to do, might be to wait until you're not upset, and ask the parents if they can take some time out one evening when the children are in bed, to have a meeting with you to discuss some things that are on your mind. Prepare for the meeting by writing down all of your concerns, that way when you have the meeting, you can keep everything straight to the point and allow them the opportunity to change the situation. Sometimes employers get so preoccupied with work and other things, that they aren't as aware of the things us nannies might notice (like not giving gas money), this may or may not be the case with your job. Please don't quit though. If anything, start saving as much as you can now, so that if things don't get better, you can have enough money to leave in a few months and find something better. If it helps, most nannies have been where you are at. It's not easy being a nanny, or being a parent. We have to do our best to support and respect eachother, and keep the lines of communication wide open:) Hope everything works out for you.

Village said...

I would put it in writing. Be very clear about the short comings, and start the letter with praise for the children, and your desire to work for them. Your letter here is very good. Start with that. You might just want to show it to them. I thought it was excellent you pointed out you took the job for the excellent benefits, and now you are not getting them.

ADVICE - Don't drive any more than the gas the money will buy, and don't go anywhere unless you are provided the money up front. You may need to explain to them how a petty cash system works. They leave money in a jar, and you leave receipts for the money taken. They can reconcile it once a week. But without the money UP FRONT, you and the kids stay put. Don't finance the parents!

Lola said...

What about the credit card? Is it at the limit, or what?

Nanny Sarah said...

I agree w/"repost" above...wait until you feel a bit normal emotionally before you talk to the family. This will make it easier for both sides to deal w/.
I hate confrontation as well, okay..let me be frank here, I actually HATE confrontation and dread it to the nines. But I commend you for mentioning the zoo membership already, I don't even know if I could do that much. :)

Alex said...

You NEED to stand up for yourself. Don't be rude but call a meeting with them and start with all the positives, how you love working for them etc. THEN bring up the concerns about what you were promised and you having to shell out your own money (when you don't have a lot of extra) isn't fair.

OP said...

OP Here,

Lola, I haven't even recieved the credit card yet! They keep making excuses about how the first one didn't get approved, and now they are waiting one that they did get approved to show up...That was almost 3 weeks ago. It's been 3 months, and in the meantime, I have been covering 80% of the gas costs myself because I don't want to sit in the house all day.

Manhattan Nanny said...

It really isn't fair to expect you to lay out your own money. Explain that you are frequently low on cash yourself, and therefore can't be depended on to have enough money for the children's activities. Make a list of the expenses you expect to have each week, and the amount you will need to cover them, plus extra for unforeseen expenses. Ask them to provide this petty cash at the beginning of the week, and assure them that you will keep a record of what you spend. When ( if? ) the credit card comes through, you still need a petty cash fund for things you can't put on it.

Since it is the dad who is supposed to install the cable box, ask him ( in a pleasant manner ) when he thinks he will have time to do it. Or offer to set it up yourself if you think you can. It is really quite simple unless you have a lot of components.

I hope the problem is busy parents, and not financially strapped parents who promised more than they can afford.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

STOP SPENDING YOUR MONEY! Stop now. Do not spend one more dime on gas or anything else. Do what you can to entertain the kids at home, and if the parents ask why you aren't out and about tell them that without the credit card they told you you would have to buy gas and pay for outings and other expenses, you can't go anywhere.

And do sit down and speak with them soon to explain that your new policy is that you will not be spending your salary to entertain their kids. You can phrase it politely, and you can also ask about all the other pie-in-the-sky promises they've made, but son't be shocked if nothing changes.

I would also start searching for a new position if I were you.