Nanny's Nightmare Referral for a Fulltime Job Flakes Out

Received Friday, June 11, 2010
perspective and opinion I had a current situation happen to me this week and need some perspective on what to do. Okay...I babysat on an occasional basis for this wonderful family, however the mother recently notified me that she will not be using me anymore since her daughter will now be attending private kindergarten. She did state that she may be using me in the future for "date nights" and such. She feels bad for me that I am a single mother myself and struggling to pay my bills so she referred me to a woman friend of hers. Well, me and her friend had arranged for an interview two weeks ago, but she called me (an hour prior btw) to tell me she was sick and needed to reschedule. I understood as people do get sick and agreed to reschedule for this week. Well, I finally interviewed yesterday and the woman said she heard great things about me from the other family that I babysat for and that she really liked me and then hired me on the spot. This would be a full-time job, for two boys and the pay would be good $17/Hr in Bakersfield CA. She even took out her calendar and "penciled me in" for the hours she would need me the following week and asked that I write them down as well which I did. Now mind you, I had another full-time job offer that I hadn't yet agreed to, but after this interview and the fact that she gave me my hours for next week, I assumed I was officially hired by her. So I called the other family and told them I had already gotten a new job and they wished me well. Well, I came home and got online on Craigslist....I was looking to see if anyone was hiring for a weekend babysitter, Fri/Sat/Sun, days she assured me she would NEVER need me. And to my surprise, right there in the childcare section was an ad posted by her. By the time on the ad, it appeared it was posted exactly one hour after I had left! My heart sank and my body went numb!! I couldn't believe it! So I sent her an email and told her that I assumed I was hired since she actually told me the days/hours that she needed me for next week and even asked me to write them down in my agenda! She claimed she had decided after my interview to "look around", but if she didn't find anyone in a week, she would get back to me. She claimed she wanted to call me after I left, but said she was too ill to call. (Funny, how she wasn't too ill to write a Craigslist ad!!) are my questions:
1) If you are at an interview, and the parents tell you to come in the following week (or whenever) and give you days/times they want you to show up, isn't that technically "hiring you?" Or am I just an idiot who is missing something here?
2) Since I assumed I was hired, I gave up another position and am now I have a right to be mad??
3) What do you all think has happened here? If she didn't think we were a good fit (as some families do), I have no problem with this. Couldn't she have said she will be in touch after she makes a decision? Why would she ask me to write my hours for next week? And no, she never stated it was "tentative" or anything.
4) Finally, do you think this will affect my relationship w/the woman that referred us? In other words, she obviously liked me enough to refer me, but will this taint her opinion of me??

Again, I am a single mother who has been seeking a nanny job for months now. As Murphy's Law would have it, I then get two job offers, and since I primarily accepted the first (as it was from a referral), I am now back to square one. I cannot believe this has happened to me. I feel like a bumbling idiot and am trying to piece this thing together to see what I could have done to avoid this. Any advice would be great, but as I am in a depressed state now (looking for work to pay my bills, etc.) please no harsh words. Thanks a bunch. :)


xfileluv said...

Is it too late to call the second family, the other one who offered you a position?

of course be mad! said...

Of course you have a right to be mad.

Call the other family and explain to them what happened and ask if they are still hiring.

aunttomichael said...

Snap out of it. :-) This woman is a flake and you did nothing wrong. You sound like a great person and you need to get on the stick and call/email that other family (who made you the offer) and say, "I understand you may no longer be interested but I wanted to let you know that I realized the fit wasn't right for the other position and I have decided not take it. I am available for you if you want to go forward but if not, it was a pleasure meeting your family and best of luck in your search." You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Don't worry about your former employer's opinion of you. These things happen all the time with referrals/friends of friends.

Focus! And whatever you do, don't take the job from the flake friend if she does end up *really* offering it to you.

djembé said...

I'm sorry this happened to you. You did nothing wrong. The woman is erratic and unreliable, in fact she kind of did you a favor by letting you know before you started working for... it would have been a lot worse to find out after the fact that you were working for a flake.

If she ends up wanting to "officially (re)hire" you, don't accept!

Just do what the others have suggested and get in touch with that other family first. If that falls through too, all you can really do is proceed from square one. It sucks, but best of luck to you.

CanadianMom said...

I know you are anxious for a job but you are probably better off not working for someone who totally messes you around like this. You are right to be angry/confused, but I would just chalk it up to experience and make sure that any future job offers are confirmed in writing, or at least by email. For example, if you have been verbally offered the job, you can say "Please can you just send me an email to confirm my start date, pay and hours, and then I can tell the other people that I have been interviewing with that I have accepted another position". If your prospective employer is going to be a good one, they will appreciate and be respectful of a professional and polite attitude.

You can try to conact the other family again but I understand your hesitation - they are not going to like to feel that they were considered second best at some point, but unless you make the entire situation clear to them they will think *you* are the flake (to just say that on second thought the fit wasn't right with the family you said you had decided to work for will make it seem like you can't make a decision properly). Having said that, you've got nothing to lose by approaching them so go for it!

Good luck and I hope you find a fantastic family to work for, you sound like a nice person and I am sure any family will be lucky to have you!

agree with everyone said...

It sounds like she is desperate for childcare and was willing to use you as a fill-in while shopping around to find the best possible person. And yes, she sounds like a flake. I agree you have nothing to lose by contacting the other family. But you need to somehow make it clear (while stating in respectful language) that you chose the other job based on referral and that the mom flaked out on you. However you can word that respectfully. Sorry you have to deal with this.

oh well said...

I would call the other family ASAP and explain the situation. These things happen. Hiring a nanny for your children is a rather emotional, often irrational process. I am not excusing this woman's behavior, you have every right to be mad, but I think you should not take it personally. And I don't see why your
relationship with your former employer should change. Friends' referrals do not always work out. Good luck and keep us posted

MissMannah said...

The same thing happened to me once! I was "offered" a job and thus cancelled an interview with another family. Right before my start date the family changed their mind and I had no other prospects so I just decided to call that other family I had an interview with and said the offer had fallen through and guess what? They ended up being fantastic people and I nannied for them for 2 years. Give it your best shot and from now on, never assume you have a job until you've been given a formal offer and signed a contract. I also agree with djembe that this woman is a flake. Write her off, babysit for her next week and make sure she pays you! Do not accept an offer from her because she might just change her mind again. Good luck!

Lindsey said...

Be glad this happen now, before you got attached and settled in. She sounds like the type of person with no reguard for anyone else's time or situataion. Try to call the other family. If thats a no go, just keep trying to find one. Ask the previous Mom if you could give out her # or email for a reference to other families. Just tell her what happen. It's not your fault or her's so she shouldn't be mad, and you shouldn't be mad at her.

Good luck!

Original Poster said...

Thank you so much guys for your great opinions! I feel so much better and I agree with those that stated that it is better to find out now as opposed to later what type of person this is. Also, until I have a written offer...I will not consider myself hired no matter what!
I did try calling the other family, no one answered but I left a voice message asking them to call me back, but I never heard anything back. I also tried to send an email to the family, but still no go. I understand that they probably do not want to be my "second choice" so I will let this go. I learned a valuable lesson here so I am trying not to think of this whole thing as one big negative.

cali mom said...

OMG, this is horrifying and completely unnaceptable!

First off, call the othe rfamily IMMEDIATELY in case they have not yet made an offer to someone else or in case they have but their offer has not yet been accepted.

Second, this woman is a flake, an asshole and completely untrustworthy. You have every right to be FURIOUS, and at the very least, I would contact her and lay out the fact that due to her "offer", you turned down another offer, and make her feel as guilty as possible. I'd say she should make it right by paying you for the hours she asked you to write down on your schedule but that's unlikely to happen.

At any rate, she is a complete asshole.

cali mom said...

After reading the other comments, I agree that you shouldn't say that "the job on second thought did not seem to be a good fit". Better to say that the family changed their plans and ddecided not to hire right now after all (which is true!). That way it puts the cause of the problem squarely where it belongs – NOT on you!

Yasmine said...

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. Twice no less. It's a bear. Children are easily the strongest argument for being a nanny. Think about the job description without mention of children or play.

You will be required to deal with crap and urine in public places, laundry and dishes at home, errands, and screaming at random and probably embarrassing times. You'll need to be ever watchful to prevent injury. You will end up with paint, chalk, mud, grass stains, vomit and other liquids, unidentifiable stains and smells on your clothing. Some will be sticky.

But children make it all worthwhile.

Parents on the other hand, too often make themselves the strongest argument against being a nanny. Fortunately, when you find the right parents, the right family, it makes all the pain before worth it.

Original Poster said...

Cali Mom you hit the nail right on the head!! I love your advice. Now I feel 110% better.

repost for anonymous said...

Run don;t walk away from this job... this women is flaky and is going to leave you high and dry many times over the course of your relationship together.... call the other employers back and say ' i'm so sorry that there was a misunderstanding, but if the position hasn't yet been filled i would love to accept.' hopefully you still have a chance there, and if not i would look for work elsewhere... I have worked for these kinds of people and it is NOT a good idea.