Working for Spare Change...

Received Tuesday, June 8, 2010
perspective and opinion I have been working as a nanny for family with an 11 month old boy. I have been with this family for almost 5 months, and it is all under the table, meaning no contract. This hasn't been a problem. The hours are what we originally agreed upon, the pay is the same every week (money has been very tight for this family so I make about $30 a day), and recently, they have began allowing driving.
In addition to working this job on Tues-Fri, I am also a full time student taking 4 classes this semester. I work about 7-8 hours a day, and attend class about 10 hours a week. Although this may not seem like much to some, it has recently become quite overwhelming. It seems as though I don't have time for me anymore. Between work and school, my social-life has dwindled down to be almost inexistant.
I have been thinking about quitting my job, and focusing on school and family/friends. I work not because I need the money, but because it was nice to make a little spending money for myself. I live at home with my parents, they pay for my gas and most of my expenses. I have noticed that my grades have started to suffer from working. I was wondering how much notice I would need to give my boss, and what reason I should give for quitting. Should I tell them in person, send an e-mail, give a phone call? I am very afraid of giving the notice because I have become quite attached to this family and their son.


Bostonnanny said...

I would be honest and tell them in person. Tell them that working so much is affecting your school work and that is very important to you. Tell them you loved working for them but it's time to go and you would be willing to give them two weeks. Honestly you can just quit without notice because you are paid well under min wage. But if you like the family and wanna leave on good terms just give two weeks. Also just because your working for spending money doesn't mean people should pay you crap. Next time make sure your getting what most babysitters/nannies get in your area and you can still have a contract if your under the table.

Bostonnanny said...

By the way make sure you thank mommy and daddy everyday because your very lucky to have everything paid for and don't actually have to work.

lynn said...

you make $30 for working a 7-8 hour day? That is less than minimum wage. You are seriously being taken advantage of. If you are in college, schedule yourself for morning classes and advertise your babysitting services for school/camp pick up from 3 pm onward for elementary school kids- I've never heard of a sitter getting paid less than $8 an hour

Another Student Nanny said...

OP, Get out!

I too am a college student who's been working part time for spending money. I work around 15 hours a week, and get paid $12/hr. I don't know where you live, but I'm sure you can find a better paying job. The family is taking advantage of you paying you what they are. Give two weeks notice, and get a better paying job with less hours. Try and end things nicely so that you can use them as a reference if necessary.

Former Nanny said...

You should sit down with your boss and have an honest conversation about it, and give them as much time as you're able.

Also, you could probably, if you really need to, pick up a job that pays twice what you're earning per hour and only do it as after-school care. I was a live-in for a few years, attended school full-time, and worked from 3 - 6-ish. I was paid $7/hour, and this was more than ten years ago! Even after I moved out, the arrangement continued because it allowed me to earn some cash but still attend classes, have time to get the schoolwork done, and have an occasional social life. Come fall, there may be several arrangements like this available to you, but maybe you could start looking into them now.

Phoenix said...

I think you should focus on school. I was in a situation where I had no choice but to work and go to school and take care of my own family. I have no regrets but I was very tired. I really wouldn't change anything about it but I sometimes wish I just focused on school. It would have been easier. That doesn't mean you can't baby sit for them or never see them again. Just be honest, they should understand. But they are not going to get away with paying someone else the same they paid you.

just me said...

I would tell them in person, give 2 weeks, and offer to stay 2 days a week for up to a month until they find somebody (assuming that works for your schedule). That way you are offering a concession, but making it clear what works for you (and still making a little money in the meantime). There's nothing wrong with wanting to focus on your schoolwork, so don't feel guilty.

prof waynewright said...

I am most concerned with the comment, "quit and concentrate on my friends and family"

Honey, get your education. Take some more classes. Why are you taking such an EASY class schedule?
You're a slacker.

You took an easy ride job. You have no drive or determination.

You need spending money. You need not be a dreg of society or live off your parents. Get a decent paying gig and work two days a week.

But as a young girl, you don't need to "concentrate on your friends". Job 1 should be getting an education as quickly as you can.

Ariel-chan said...

I took 15 hours of classes every semester and did a couple summer sessions, and all four years I worked 20-30 hours a week.

I made minimum wage, mostly working on campus (which was still $5.15 when I started school and $6.25 when I graduated) and my last semester when I did my internship- 16 hours a week in a high school classroom- I actually had TWO part-time jobs.

And the whole time I had a very active social life, went to 30+ concerts throughout the year, and went drinking with friends at least twice a month.

You're a slacker. Grow up.

Another Student Nanny said...

Prof Waynewright-

I too am a student, and I have approximately as many hours of classes as the OP does, and I am taking the max number of credits my school allows. By living at home, she is probably saving her parents around 8,000 a semester in dorming and meal plan costs, which I'm sure make up for the gas and other things mentioned. Her schedule sounds about as busy as mine can get, and I know that I would literally go crazy if I didn't get to see my friends and have that opportunity for stress release.

Nanny Sarah said...

I agree that your education should be your top priority now. In order to get that coveted degree, sometimes you need to make sacrifices now and one of those sacrifices should be spending $$. Don't worry, keep your eye on the prize and your reward will come later in life!! So I would just focus on school and forgo any spending money.
As for the job, you are being paid slave wages and should have no guilt feelings whatsoever. This family is paying you under the table for their benefit...if it was "on the books" they would be committing fraud for paying less than minimum wage. If you want to be nice, you can offer notice. But that is up to you. I personally wouldn't because the wage is so darn low. A lot of people may cry I am being unprofessional by doing this, but they are being unprofessional by paying you what I paid my babysitters in the late 80's. Ha! Move on dear and enjoy your life. Work harder in school, you are no slacker. 4 college-level courses are a lot to handle and I cannot believe anyone would think you are being lazy.

TC said...

Are you taking summer classes as well? If you aren't and you can give them the summer to find someone else, otherwise 2 weeks is sufficient.

Have you thought about working for them one day a week or maybe two? Would that give you enough time to focus on school and your social life?

I am a full time nanny, I work 10 hour days and last year my boss put her oldest in daycare two days a week to allow me to go to school. It was wonderful but even then it was hard to keep up with my school work. My opinion is if you're financially secure then I wouldn't work. You have your entire life to work, right now just focus on getting your degree.

Quit Yer Bitchin' and go to School.. said...

Ok..first off...I currently do licensed home childcare and I get more than that a day PER CHILD! You are being taken advantage of...gee whiz! Is Math one of the classes you are taking?

Secondly, I don't mean to be harsh either...as far as a slacker sort of thing with school...but I went to school PT the last few years (online and evening classes)..operated my business (60 hours a week plus all the other things and hours needed to maintain it) plus have a family of my own and started and now failitate the running of a Daycare Association.....and I just graduated with Honors with a perfect 4.0 GPA....quit slacking and hit the books! Personally, I can't abide whiny college kids who "need" more time with their friends.....

Oh...another thing...Pay your damn taxes!!!

repost for anonymous said...

I agree, school first, and work second...however I understand you are trying to find a balance but are we not all in that boat!

I have a bone to pick with the people commenting on this. The girl asked advice on how to quit her job with grace not judgement on her life choices!!! Stick to topic not use YOUR opinions as weapons. You are all very quick to jab her with insults and cutting her down when I bet you are all not perfect in your own lives!!! You may have all achieved great things in YOUR life but I will bet my paycheck NONE of you are great at everything nor doing everything in your lives perfectly! Lay off the kid, you all only know a fraction of her story so stick to the bottom line and careful not to judge someone you know nothing about. I bet if you asked people you work with, or know they would ALL have something less than pleasing to say!

A nanny who cares said...


Don't let the critics on this site bug you! I can only imagine how unsatisfied they are in their own lives to attack you as they are! You are young and have EVERY right to have a social life! But, I do agree that you should be thanking your parents for providing you with the opportunity to go to school and not have to work.

I think 2 weeks notice is more than fair seeing as how they are paying you so little. I realize you probably have a big heart and love your job, but they are COMPLETELY taking advantage of you. As another poster stated, day cares charge more than that per child! I think you should sit down and have a talk with these parents and let them know that your school work is suffering because of your commitment to them and you can no longer continue to work for them. It sounds like you love your job, so I would let them know you would still be open to working some evenings or weekends on an occasional basis, that way you could still have some spending money.

On a side note, people on this site have become so rude to the posters it is making me reluctant to even visit the site anymore. Where are your manners people? Has everyone forgotten the old adage, "If you don't have anything nice (or productive) to say, don't say anything at all!!!"

Original Poster said...

I thank all of you who were kind enough to respond to my original posting with actual advice.
Yes, I do realize that what I am working for is less than minimum wage, but not everyone can afford the high costs of day-care. The family is kind to me, they have bought me passes to the zoo and the aquarium, and they often pay for my food. I took this job knowing what the pay was, and not having a problem with it, so I don't think that any of you should.
Also, for those of you took the time to tell me how lazy I am, I am sorry you feel that way. I don't think that I am lazy at all. My parents know how thankful I am for everything they have given me. I am not taking advantage of anyone. I attend school full time by taking 16-credit hours, attend work, and still have time to help care for the home and any other responsibilities I may have.

why don't ya'll just stone her? said...

OP, you sound wonderful and very driven! People are always going to have something to say about your life so just let it roll off your back! And to Quit yer bitching: Um who cares? If you have to brag about your accomplishments, it makes them less special. Everyone's circumstances are different and yes, some may be more difficult than others but the goal is still the same. You just sound bitter! OP keep up the good work but at least get more for yourself than 60 bucks a week. That is not enough!

Manhattan Nanny said...

OP: Give two weeks notice, in person. Tell them the truth, you need more time to focus on school.
You are making a good decision if this job, which you don't really need, is interfering with your class work. Your education is very important. So is time for a social life. (Some of the most intellectually stimulating discussions I had in college were not in the classroom, but sitting on the dorm floor at 2:00 AM.) Make the most of your college years! Surely you can find occasional babysitting jobs for extra spending money.

Alex said...

Just be honest and tell them. If your grades are suffering you need to focus on them to bring them back up. I am sure the family knows that you don't do it for the money (because if you did you would be paid A LOT more) and that you do it because you truly care.

Maybe they still want you and can cut your hours if you still want to work for them?

Angelina said...

"Quit yer bitching..." :
How can OP pay taxes if she is making less than minimum wage? Duh?! People pay taxes on their earnings and that is earnings that amount to at LEAST minimum wage. How can she legitimately pay taxes on less than minimum wage? How can you expect her to? If she does, her employers will get in trouble for fraud.

June said...

"I have noticed that my grades have started to suffer from working."

That's unacceptable, quit. Grades should be everything at this point in your life, even if you're already in the school you wanted in. You don't know how your life is going to progress, you may need to go back someday. PROTECT YOUR GRADES.

Gosh darn it, seriously, QUIT. Debt is a lot better. Debt can be a terrible beast, but lower grades are much worse.

You should write a nice letter, something along the lines of: "Please accept this letter as my two weeks notice. After Friday, June 23rd..."

Be short, be nice. Explain that you need to focus on your studies. Talk a little about how much you've enjoyed working with their son and how you'll miss him. If you have resume paper, use it and put a formal heading on top.

Spend no more time than an hour and a half on this letter and spend no less than half an hour on it. Accept that this is in your best interest, because, it is.

June said...

Quit Yer Bitchin':

What degree did you manage to get with a 4.0 GPA that didn't require an English class, or was that an attempt at morse code?

You really think a part-time online program of study really compares to full-time course work at a university?

Never mind that you have no idea what OP is studying or where. Where did you go and did you study?


1. There's no way OP makes enough to get above the poverty line. So believe me, she doesn't owe anything.

2. For all you know, while she may be "under the table" for the family, she may be reporting the income to the IRS on a 1099-MISC as a household employee.

That's where babysitters are supposed to stick the info when the families they work for are below the $1,700/year mark that requires reporting. I would hope she is too, because she would likely qualify for tax credits like the EITC.

3. OP isn't "bitching", OP is recognizing her situation and trying to make an appropriate adjustment. OP has said that the money she earns from this work is for unnecessary things and that she wishes to focus more on her studies. Tell me, what is wrong with that?

hehe said...

That should be "Where did you go and what did you study?"

IMO said...

I will never ever agree with people who don't claim what they make. I think anyone who works under the table/pays their employees under the table is just plain wrong.

that being said:

OP, if you don't have to work, rejoice. No, you shouldn't let people on this site bother you with their insults but in all honesty you do come across as sort of ridiculous to those of us who worked our way through school. I worked three jobs, put myself through school, and did not have parents to wipe my bum. You do, and you shouldn't feel bad about it. It's hard to support yourself. I think people got upset with your post because your problem is sort of...silly. You don't need a job, you don't need money and yet you took the time to post this to ask how to...quit a job you don't need? Well...that sounds a bit juvenile.

I am glad your parents know that you are grateful, and I am glad you are grateful for what they are doing for you. But in my opinion, they would be doing a lot more for you if they let you pay a bit of your own way. A young adult SHOULD have a job. Four classes? That really is not a lot. And you are obviously not learning much in college if you would take a job for such low pay. I babysat in college and I made 10 an hour and that was in the early 90s. Just because you love kids doesn't mean you should let yourself be taken advantage of. Hopefully one of the things your parents will teach you is that you can do something you love and get payed at least minimum wage.

Good luck!

Bitchin......done now.... said...

June~ you also have no idea what my degree or university is...so be careful.. (Elementaty Ed with Special Ed certification, BTW). I attended a reputable state university that did a course of programming catering to working adults, and many of my classes were with younger students who just whined about classwork being in the way of their social schedules. Then they further complained when they received a low C on a Psych paper and gave me the "evil eye" when I got a high grade in comparison. My only reason for pointing out my own accomplishments was to note that it is possible to do it all. I do what I do for a living because I want to, make great money and have great freedom, just as I did when I was a long time nanny.

As far as the taxes thing...I can not abide anyone, no matter how low their wage, for engaging in illegal payment "under the table" in any line of work. Its illegal, plain and simple. Someone said the employer could get in trouble for fraud. That is right, and they should. People get in an uproar when people steal from churches or engage in other big business fraudulent activitites...this is no different. Its fraud and illegal.

I do agree, however that I got off on a tangent away from the OP question about giving notice. I do think it should be given in person and at least 2 weeks. If you pursue other babysitting positions that can work better with your schooling schedules, just make sure it pays in a legit way and can accomodate your studying.

Been there, done that said...

The thing is, it doesn't matter whether OP "should" be able to handle her current schedule. She asked for advice on how to quit her current job. Leaving a job is almost always difficult, no matter how much maturity or life experience you have. Wanting to do it right shows good work ethic, rather than laziness.
On top of that, I would say at most private colleges and universities, parents paying the way as the norm, rather than the exception, despite anecdotal evidence offered here. And if OP were my child, I might actually insist that she cut back her work schedule in order to get good grades. Otherwise, that tuition money is down the drain.

NanGal said...

i take 6 classes a semester and work in the afternoons 3-6 mon-friday.
I make $14 an hour so thats enough to pay all my own bills (rent, gas, car payments, food)
but let me tell you if i didn't have to work i totally wouldn't!
quit and enjoy life while you can!!

VAnanny said...

Wow Nangirl! You must do some serious budgeting! You make 210 a week and can manage to pay all that! Kudos! I am a full-time nursing student and I make 200 a week for 2 nights of night nannying and I am struggling! Any tips you can share? =)

VAnanny said...

I meant NanGal. =)

anonynanny said...

I think it's great that there are people who don't need to work, so they work for a low wage to help out a struggling family. How come volunteer work is okay but directly helping out a family by providing them quality childcare at a lower price than normal isn't? If she can afford it, and it helps out a family in need, I think it's pretty great that she's doing it. If I could afford to do that, I would too because I can guarantee it would be better than working for ridiculously wealthy families who feel entitled to everything.

I am a nanny right now, but only by necessity. My biggest problem with the job is that it is only upper and upper-middle class families that can afford nannies, and I just don't really care to help upper and upper-middle class families because they already have everything. I would so much rather help out people who actually NEED something.

OP said...

Once again I thank all of you who replied to my original post with kind words and advice. For those of you who took the time to try and help me figure out my situation, it is greatly appreciated.
I decided to go ahead and talk to the family about the situation and put all of my feelings on the table, and they did the same. We worked out a situation where I would work a little bit less during the week so that I would have more time to focus on my studies and social life. The dad has started his new job which allows some freedom to work from home. Meaning that they will need me less, but my pay would still be the same. They also agreed to me bringing my laptop to work so that I can take advantage of the down time (during the babies naps) to focus on my school work.
I am really glad that I talked to the family face-to-face because we were able to discuss everything and come up with many possible solutions.
Also, for all of you who seem to have a problem with what I am being paid, maybe you should all mind your own business. I am helping a family who is facing some serious money problems. They have been family friends of ours for quite sometime.

June said...

Quit Yer Bitchin':

1. Be careful of what, are you threatening me? You act so offended that I would dare to comment without knowing what you had done, but all that anger is is the admission that you were wrong to comment when you had no idea what program OP is going through.

You did a part-time program where a good many instructors, by design, gave you a little flexibility or more time when it came to deadlines. What did you think they meant when they said it was for working adults? You really think the instructors gave just as much time to their day classes students as they did to their online?

Look, even without any flexibility or extra time, you cannot fairly compare your experience with that of your younger classmates. They have more classes and thanks to thinking like yours, less compassion working against them. Their programs may also be much tougher. Now don't get me wrong, what you've accomplished is commendable and I applaud you for it. However, education is among the easiest college programs there is. It is soft.

For someone in an engineering program, a psychology class as part of general education requirements may be a hassle. It may get in the way and airing their views on that class, or even receiving low marks in that class, doesn't necessarily mean the individual is a bad student or not a hard worker.

On top of that, and beyond your classmates, is the rest of the world. How things are at one school can't always compare to how they are at another. For someone so proud of their accomplishments, you're not the quickest to mention what university you went to.

June said...

Quit Yer Bitchin':

2. Did you sleep with your professors for your grades? For someone who says they are so academically accomplished, you have a miserable disregard for facts. Even after I gave you numbers, that you could have so easily googled, you decided to take your foot and put it in your mouth.

Here's some reading for you:

Any family paying a household employee less than $1,000.00 is not required to report their employment or pay any taxes. Any family paying a household employee more than $1,000.00, but less than $1,700.00, is required to pay only federal unemployment taxes but not social security and medicare. A family paying more than $1,700.00 is required to do the whole deal, social security and medicare taxes included.

Now let's focus on that less than $1,000.00. The intent of this is so families don't have to go through a great deal of hassle to have a casual babysitter.

Of course, there is a natural side effect to this and that is babysitters working for multiple families can earn a great deal more than $1,700.00 over the course of a calendar year with NONE of those families being required to report to the IRS or pay any taxes.

On the other hand, under the law, the babysitter is not a business. So how then does the said babysitter remain in compliance? The answer is the 1099-MISC where other income, including work received as a household employee, can be reported without the need for a W-2.

a. OP's employer is responsible for paying social security and medicare taxes, as well as state unemployment taxes, not OP. Now ordinarily OP's employer could remove 7.65% of OP's wages as OP's contribution to social security and medicare taxes, but after failing to do so, the employer becomes responsible for both shares or the whole 15.3%. OP is off the hook. Legally after paying OP after any given pay period, the employer cannot ask OP for OP's share for that given pay period.
b. The standard deduction for 2009 was $5,700.00. Even if OP made her $30/day all four days every week for the entire year, her taxable income is only $540.00 (6,240 - 5,700). If she has even one exemption, an additional $3,650.00 comes into the picture and takes her taxable income to $0.00.

So when you tell her to "pay your damn taxes" and go on your "I cannot blah blah blah" rants about taxes, I have to ask, what taxes? Unless she has a load of income she isn't telling us about, she doesn't owe any. In fact, with the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Making Work Pay Tax Credit, the IRS should have given her as much as $785.00 for last year.

I would add, even if OP has more income then she has told us about:

For OP to be in serious violation of tax law, she would have to owe at least $1,000.00 in taxes. To do this in the 10% tax bracket, she would have to earn no less than $19,350.00 with one exemption or $15,700.00 with none. That would allow after the standard deduction and exemption for $10,000.00 of taxable income or $1,000.00 in federal income taxes. If she donated even one dollar to one recognized charitable organization, it would nullify the whole darn thing.

Point of all of this is, OP hasn't broken any laws, has nothing to worry about and doesn't deserve your attack on the taxes front. Now the employers probably have violated the law as it sounds like they're sure to have crossed the $1,700.00 mark, but they're not posting here. You say you operate a business?

That all said, I am happy to see that you've lightened up on OP and I agree with you, two weeks notice is an appropriate minimum.

You asked for our help. You asked for our thoughts. To attack any of us for giving them, on topic, is highly inappropriate. If you wanted us to mind our own business about how much you're paid, you shouldn't have come here asking us about your job - or at the very least, you shouldn't have mentioned how much you are paid.

June said...

"babysitters working for multiple families can earn a great deal more than $1,700.00 over the course of a calendar year"

Should have been $1,000.00. Semantics though. Still, time for bed.

work vs. volunteering said...

Volunteering is great: it really is. But I have to disagree with the poster who said why not work for a low wage, what's the difference: there is a huge difference. Volunteering for a homeless shelter, or for a community garden program, or teaching Citizenship classes is a very noble thing: letting yourself be taken advantage of by cheapskate parents? Nothing noble about that. I'd call it stupid. If a parent can only afford 30 dollars a day, they should put their children in a home daycare or apply for state assistance. What? Oh? They don't qualify for state assistance? Hm. That must mean they make more money.

I'm sorry but I really do think OP was being taken advantage of, and still is. Family friends or not, they are taking advantage of your kindness. You asked for opinions, OP. Why is it that young people these days cannot handle the truth? It is sad.

Working is working. If you're gonna do it, do it right. If you want to volunteer, find a better cause than a couple of parents who are tight wads.

Another Student Nanny said...

Knowing now that the OP is working for family friends changes things a bit. I too watch the daughter of a family friend for well below minimum wage. I'd do it for free, and as it is, when I watch her they save about $150 on daycare, so I still feel good helping them in that way.

However, I only watch their daughter full-time when I am on my Winter/Summer breaks, and worrying about classes is not a concern. As family friends, they know how important my education is, and would never think of jeopardizing that.

Overall, OP I'm glad you were able to work everything out so that you can still help out a friend, but not spread yourself too thin.