Tuesday

Unceremoniously Duped...

8-9-10
perspective and opinion I'd like to know what other nannies think of this, and what their own experience has been.

I nannied for a family for several years. Recently I gave notice that I was looking for another job but would continue working for them while they looked for my replacement (if they wanted me to), or if they preferred, I would leave immediately.

The parents and I always had a pleasant enough relationship, although never what I would call completely comfortable or free. I just never "clicked" with them (they tend to be reserved and self-absorbed), but we didn't have any conflicts or disagreements during my tenure. I loved the children and we were bonded, and the parents never had a single complaint about me, nor did anything ever go wrong in those years as far as the well-being of the children or the integrity of my work.

Anyway, the parents wanted me to stay on while they looked for my replacement, so I did. Things went just fine for several weeks while I job-searched, and they searched for a new nanny. I knew my days were numbered, but assumed I would know somewhat in advance when my last day would actually be so I could talk to the children and vice versa. (I did not initiate a discussion of my departure with the children because I felt that was the parents' call and I was uncertain of the exact timing.)

Finally, one night I received an email sent at 9:30 p.m., telling me that the next day would be my last. When I arrived at work the next morning, the children were visibly upset, such that I believe they were only told that morning, before I arrived, that it was my last day. At the end of the day I was given a generic gift (not something I want or need; I believe it was a re-gift), and no monetary bonus.

I want to know if I am taking this too personally because I feel rather marginalized and unceremoniously "dumped". Yes, I did initiate the job change. And no, the parents and I weren't particularly "close". But we were on consistently amicable terms; I saw the mother through a pregnancy, birth, maternity leave, in-law and relative visits, nursing struggles, incorporating a newborn into the household, returning to work, etc.... all stressful life-changes that bring extra challenges to a nanny as well as to the family.

I guess I didn't anticipate a complete lack of sentimentality or interest in the transition; aside from the children being understandably confused and upset at [what to them seemed like] my sudden departure, the occasion seemed completely devoid of significance to the parents.

I tend to think of myself as low-maintenance, but this just didn't sit right with me... so I thought I'd ask the other nannies here what they think, and what their "last day" experiences have been.

P.S. I absolutely love my new job, which is something completely different than nannying -- I'm glad I made the change, although I miss the children.

38 comments:

Manhattan Nanny said...

Do you mean duped or dumped?
Don't forget, you quit, they didn't let you go. Sometimes when a nanny quits parents take it personally, or are upset at the stress it causes the children, not to mention the burden of finding a new nanny.
It might have gone much better if you and your employers had sat down and discussed how you would handle explaining your departure to the children, and how much notice they, and you would give each other when you found a job/nanny.
In any case, if I quit a job, I wouldn't expect a gift or bonus. I would be very sad if I didn't get a chance to ease the children into the transition however, so I can understand that this sudden cut off was upsetting for you.
I'm glad you are happy in your new job, and hope you can put this behind you and move on.

Carrie said...

I think the reason that it seemed like an insignificant event is due to what you told us in the beginning. Even though there was no real animosity with you and the parents, there also was no real warmth between you as well. + remember you quit first. That being said, I think you both moved on and it sounds like you are doing quite well! Congrats on your new position and Good Luck in the future OP!!~

Seattle Nanny said...

You got to say good bye. Be grateful for that much. I would have given a lot for it, one time, about two years back

mothergoose said...

You expected monetary compensation for quitting? I've never heard of that...

With that matter aside, I think moving on from a job and saying goodbye is always difficult. Just be glad it didn't end with a fight (been there) and as the previous poster mentioned though not ideal, at least you got to say goodbye. Unfortunately, no matter how good we are at our jobs (in any field) it seems that departure is always a bit awkward and never "flawless". I'm sure the parents were preoccupied worrying about replacing you with someone worthy and didn't feel it necessary to shower you with gifts or compensate you for a decision you chose to make (that in all honesty negatively affected them and their children).

On a positive note, I'm glad to hear you have chosen a new job in which you enjoy! I'd simply focus on the future, and think of nothing but the good in the past - every experience is a learning tool.

don't sweat it: move on said...

I think it was nice that they gave you anything.

I once nannied for a family for a year, and I got pregnant about a month after I accepted the job (unplanned pregnancy, although I was married) and they treated me like absolute crap. I worked until I was 8.5 months pregnant, giving them plenty of notice before I left, and on my last day, they did not even say thank you.

At least you got a present, and presumably a good reference if you got your new job. Don't sweat it. Sounds like they were sort of jerks all along.

p.s. congratulations on the new job! Good for you! :)

nanny2 said...

I agree with all the other posters, and I will add- some people are just better at goodbyes than other people. Some want to mark the occasion, make it special, give everyone a chance to express their feelings and say farewell. Other people have a hard time managing their feelings, so they are more likely to minimize the occasion. I would guess that the parents did feel hurt that you quit, so it was probably difficult for them to deal with.

Phoenix said...

I think they did the best they could. I mean I understand their behavior because it sounds like something I would do. To avoid any emotion don't engage. Plus if they were upset it would even make the children more upset.

You shouldn't expect gifts for quitting though. That is quite strange and slightly selfish

VAnanny said...

My "last day" experiences have all been amazing. I was showered with gifts and hugs. There were even tears. But then again, I had a close relationships with all of my employers and the reason I was leaving was not the reason you stated. For 2 families, I had to end my time with them because the children were starting school. With the last family I worked for, I had to leave because I got accepted to nursing school and was no longer able to work full-time. My point is that I did not just decide to quit.

I think it was nice of them to get you something. I understand your missing the children and being sad but as the other posters have said, you quit. It's unreasonable to expect nice gifts and/or a bonus when you are the one who was leaving them. I think the situation would have been somewhat different had you sat down with them and discussed things. Just put it behind you and enjoy your new job.

Lucky you got anything said...

I have to agree with the other commenters. You should not have expected anything (you offered to leave immediately-which kind of says to me you really didn't care one way or another about the job/family) and you should be happy they got you anything. You quit-do you expect the job you have now to give you a bonus when you quit? They probably found a new nanny that was willing to start the next day and you told them (by offering to leave immediately) that you don't need any notice when they found someone new. They could have e-mailed you at 9:30 saying you weren't needed anymore and mailed you your last check. At least you got something (which I would think the family would be pretty offended if they knew you were complaining about their gift since they didn't have to get you anything) and you got to say goodbye to the kids.

MONKEY SHINES said...

I dont mean to sound rude, but being a nanny for over 20 years I will say this. As much as you love the children, you are not their "blood", you are an employee and I don't know what you expected from them. Being a nanny for so many years I have found mothers who leave their children to pursue a career and let their children be raised by a stranger, to be somewhat cold.

nannymame said...

I agree with what just about everyone has already said. While it is understandable that you would have liked a warmer send off, you admitted that the relationship between yourself and the parents was never particularly close. It probably isn't so much that they didn't appreciate the nanny services you had provided as it was that they were focused on finding your replacement and trying to get their family through the transition. If you ever decide to make a return to nannying, consider drawing up an employment contract, so that expectations are clear as to what happens when you leave, whether it be through dismissal or on your own terms.

Jersey In The House said...

Working in some else's home and family, unless you are a total moron always gets personal, we as nannies are expected to be professional and yet still are demanded due to the parameters of our job to be very personal. Every nanny position I have left, I have left a part of me with those kids and family, but because we are also professionals, we have to move on. You have done so successfully, cong rats. But I know your pain. We are not just nannies in the professional sense, we are mothers in the absence of they biological mothers. That part cannot be compensated for.

OP Here... said...

OP here -- thank you for the comments everyone! I knew there was a different way to look at this and I'm glad to read your thoughts. That is a good point that because I quit, a bonus should not be expected... I had been thinking that a bonus was a family's way of showing their appreciation for a job well done and it didn't occur to me that it would be withheld if one resigned but that did make sense once it was pointed out to me.

As for the gift, I certainly received it graciously and with warm thanks, but inside I would rather not receive a gift at all if it's going to be a generic, impersonal one that probably wasn't even purchased for me in the first place. But maybe I can work on that attitude as well.

Just to clarify the fact that I offered to leave immediately, I only did that because in some cases the family is very uncomfortable to have you hang around if they know you are looking elsewhere. I wanted them to know that I would respect their wishes either way they preferred, it wasn't meant as a show of disrespect or to suggest that I couldn't wait to get out of there. Since I gave them so much notice, I guess I assumed they would return the favor and not wait until the night before to boot me.

But mostly I was very bothered that the children were given no preparation for the transition and in their eyes, I just left abruptly with no concern for them.

Oh well, thanks again everyone for giving me food for thought and different perspectives. I truly have moved on and will always love the children, but I also am very glad that I made the change!

bippityboppityboo said...

Don't overthink things too much. I completely understand where you are coming from. Everytime I have left a position it was handled differently as to when the children were told. I actually preferred the children weren't told until a day or two before because otherwise it made for a long a painful goodbye. I'm sorry you wished it had been handled differently. In regards to the gift don't worry too much. I think it was appropriate and nice that they did give you some kind of a gift. I think of it as if it were any other job and you quit you probably wouldn't even get that. But as a nanny I also understand that this job is very personal and some parents don't think that part through
Good luck with your new job

nycmom said...

Although I do agree with the nannies above that a gift is not expected, as an employer I do think your sendoff was unnecessarily cold. We parted with a nanny of 4.5yrs about 3yrs ago. It was a difficult parting and there were hurt feelings along the way. Ultimately, we all handled it maturely and I'm so happy I was able to get past my anger. That nanny had definitely been somewhat manipulative near the end - lying about her intentions to stay on while we juggled a very difficult schedule during the birth of our new baby to enable her to attend school.

In the end, though, I was able to focus on the 4 wonderful years of loving, reliable, professional childcare she gave our kids. I gave her a nice monetary parting gift and wrote a nice card/letter thanking her and addressing the difficult transition. About 3 months later, she returned to our family to do occasional weekend sitting and still does so 3 years later. This has been really important to my son who loves her very much, and to me, to maintain this connection with someone who helped me raise my kids for so long.

Anyway, the point of my long-winded story OP, is that I DO think your employers should have recognized your years with them with either a more heartfelt gift or at least a heartfelt card. I don't think it was unreasonable of you to hope for this, even if you quit. After all, you transitioned to a new field of work, and did not "leave" the family for another nanny job. But I also don't think they were being malicious, just thoughtless. I have stated many times that it took me years to learn to be (what I hope is currently) a good employer and to navigate the employer/nanny relationship. Best of luck in your new job!

pro-nanny mama said...

To OP update,

Of course the children will be upset. They love you and you are leaving them. Expressing their emotions isn't a bad thing. I don't remember you listing their ages but up until 6 or so it is best to not give a lot of notice to kids, they don't understand time the way adults or older kids do.

Glad you are very happy now.

Eva said...

I worked for a family for 8 years. I started part time - only on the weekends, and then full time for 5 years. So it was 8 years total.
My last day - I had no idea it was my last day. I read the kids their bedtime story, I started reading "Little Prince" to a 6 year old girl earlier that day, and I said I would read some more next day...
Anyway, after I put them to beds, mom came home and as I was getting ready to leave I said bye, she said she and her husband wanted to talk to me. So we went downstairs, and they said they found someone who would do both housekeeping and childcare, and gave me a month pay. The husband bought me a gift, mom just handed me the envelope with the money and said she needed her credit card and house key back.
I was heartbroken. I didn't show it, but I still cry almost every day thinking I will never see "my babies." They didn't even let me say bye to them? After 8 years? The husband said that I could come and visit the kids, but when I leave him a message, he doesn't respond. As far as I know, the kids were told that I got a full time job and left them.
It happened in June, and it still hurts.
I had a great relationship with them, they helped me a lot and I could always count on them.
I was always on time, there wasn't a day I would get sick. For 8 years, I was ALWAYS there for them.
And that's what I got at the end. The mom didn't even give me a hug, no handshake either.
I guess it's not how I pictured my last day..
:(

Seattle Nanny said...

Eva,

That's awful. Not being able to say good bye hurts. I can't understand people who won't allow the opportunity. I had a similar situation, where I had no idea my last day was going to be my last. And the family seemed so nice.

At least your family told you in person. Mine chose email and phone. On the other hand, saying good bye to the children is what matters most. Neither of us got to do that and that's not right. It's been almost two years for me, and it still hurts. I still wish I could say good bye.

It nearly knocked me out of nannying. However, I didn't work for them near as long as you did with yours. I feel for you. What happened to you would have destroyed me.

I hope you've found a new family/job.

OP here again said...

The last several "my last day" stories are heartbreaking. I don't understand how parents can view the nanny-child relationship so frivolously. I guess my experience was not so bad at all in comparison.

Someone upthread asked me if I would expect a bonus at the end of my next (non-nanny) job... I think that's comparing apples and oranges. A nanny job is in a different category than most other jobs. Yes, you must be a professional but there is no denying that you are intimately involved with a family on a level much deeper than you are involved with your co-workers and employers on any other job.

Language gives you away... said...

I find it very telling that in your follow-up comment, you mention the money, the gift, one other things...oh, and yeah, the kids.

OP here again said...

I find it very telling that in your follow-up comment, you mention the money, the gift, one other things...oh, and yeah, the kids.
Oh yes, I'm obviously selfish, greedy, and materialistic.

sleepymom said...

About 3 weeks ago I got a phone call 8:30 pm from my mom boss. She called to let me know that she couldn't afford to pay me anymore and when did I want to meet her to give her key back to her. She also asked if I wanted to meet while the children were there. I was shocked. She hadn't been working since April but she asured me my job was safe. We agreed to meet the next day at her house. The next morning she texted me and asked me to meet her at the Starbuck's in the Genardi's. It threw me for a loop. I asked if there was a problem and she said no she loved me but she didn't know when she would return back to work. I felt duped.

Comfy Heaven - Anita said...

don't you have to give each other two weeks notice either way?

Eva said...

Seattle nanny -
I found another family. It's my 3rd week working for them. They seem really nice. They had a bad experience with their previous nanny who left them without notice - she went on vacation and never showed up for work. So they went to file a missing person report, and they later found out from the nanny's facebook friends (or family) that they couldn't believe she has done it to them. Apparently she decided to go back to school full time and didn't know how to tell them.
Anyway, the family needed someone right away, and they hired me. They remind me of my old family. I just hope they are not "like" my family at the end.

Even after what happened to me, I'm grateful for the experience. Nobody can take away my great memories. I still love them and I wish them the best.
They (the dad) gave me great references. A few other families called him for references as well, and later I found out he said wonderful things about me.
I miss them terribly, but they say that time heals.

I believe that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.

weird said...

eva, why would they file a missing person's report? wouldn't that be up to the nanny's family? even if she were live in, I would contact the nanny's family and tell them and let them deal with it. as an employer, it is not your job to file a missing person's report. i doubt the cops would even file one from someone who was unrelated, unless they conacted the family first.

TSTES said...

Eva, just remember that there are two sides to every story. Quitting without notice, without a word, is a bold thing to do: perhaps there are details that you do not know about.

Village said...

Give the nanny a break. She is being honest. She gave the family notice, she thought she would be rewarded, she wasn't, and she gets that now. Gee, no need to call her materialistic. A nice gift for her would have been a SYMBOL of her value to her family, and she didn't get it, and her feelings were hurt. Excuse her for being human. She is obviously warmer and more cuddly than the parents, and that may be why the children were crying so hard. Their safe place to fall was leaving. It was sad all around, except for the parents. It doesn't seem to have bothered them much. Substitute one nanny for another. They don't see or get the difference. Again, no wonder the children were crying. And the reason the parents didn't tell them until the day before? It was easier on the parents to handle it for as short a period as possible. Let the new nanny deal with it. Poor kids.

Meme said...

Very good points Village.

RM said...

Anonymous said...
Although it was you who initiated the departure (as you admitted) it certainly would have been nice for the parents to, at the very least, prepare the children beforehand (for their own sake; what a shame to catch them off guard like that!) and maybe have them make you something from the heart since you were with them for such a long time. My experience was the polar opposite; I was with the same family for almost 2 years, clicked with them immediately, was and still am crazy about the children and left after having been given multiple months notice because their youngest was starting school full time. My last day was very sentimental; I made them a scrapbook and CDs full of songs I sing to the kids, and they both took off from work and took me and the baby out to lunch, had the kids make me gifts (a ceramic cupcake, picture book, a short with their handprints saying "You Helped Us Grow"...) They also gave me a thank you card from them and an overly generous monetary bonus that I was not expecting. I realize I will never have such an amazing nannying experience again, and it was my first. I know our situations were clearly different, but I guess in the future know going into a job that you really want to be included as a member of their family. It makes all the difference in the world.

__RM

Eva said...

Weird - because the nanny was from Botswana (I think) and they had no emergency number to call. They didn't know what to do.
One of the first things they asked me for, was the number to call if something happened.
I'm not sure what the cops said, we didn't go into details about it.


TSTES - you're right. I wasn't there, I don't know what happened. There might be more to the story. The mom told me yesterday that she got an e-mail from that nanny asking to forgive her the way she left.

Last Day Nanny said...

I work occasional evenings for a family and one evening I showed up and the day nanny was still there. She and I talked for a minute and as she was leaving she told me it was her last day (the parents had gone out an hour or two before.) I felt so bad that the parents didn't even wait around to say goodbye on her last day. The 4 yr old didn't want to give her a hug goodbye (you know how 4 yr old boys can be) and I could tell she was stalling leaving even though she was in her car. I convinced the 4 yr old to go give her a hug and I could tell it meant the world to her. I texted my full time MB and told her if she ever pulled a stunt like that on my last day I would be very hurt! She texted back and said they are more worried that I would quit. I know emotions run high for everyone on a nanny's last day, but jee whiz, at least hold off on the drinking for a couple of hours until the nanny leaves!

criss said...

As a nanny my self i've heard lots of stories and seen lots of things.so all i have to say is we as nannies have to be strong do our jobs and don't expect anything in return..

TC said...

My first nanny job ended after 9 months and honestly I was grateful. The bit..err mom was the one I mentioned in another thread that docked my pay 2 days when her child got me sick and I couldn't come in. There of course was many other reasons but I was looking for a way out and it finally presented itself.

Mom worked full time and warned me ahead of time that there was going to be massive layoffs in her company but she also assured me that she would be safe. They of course let her go and she let me stay for another 2 weeks and that was it. Things were different though because I babysat for them and the rest of the neighbors so I still saw "my boys" all the time and was invited to all the parties and such. Soon afterwards though they moved out of state for her husbands job and I still keep in contact with them (they happen to be best friends with the people I nanny for now)

I got a card that was really sweet and heartfelt and I believe a 25 dollar gift card to some place.

MissMannah said...

TC, before I got to the end of your post I was just about to ask if we worked for the same woman! Your situation sounded very much like mine, my job lasted only 9 months too, funny coincidence. The difference being all I got was a "good luck" and a very generic letter of reference. No thank you card, no gift. I expected this because I also didn't get so much as a Merry Christmas last year. Also, on my last day, they "surprised" me by only making me work 45 minutes. All we did was eat breakfast and get my boy dressed. I was so disappointed because I had a special day planned for him but the mom said she was making things "easier" for everyone.

TC said...

That sucks MissMannah.

What was so odd about my situation is the mom actually is a nice lady....as long as you don't work for her :) She and I got along great for the year before she moved away and we text back and forth often and she always adds me to the email list of pictures of the kids and she makes a point to make sure I see the kids when they come to visit.

Piscespets said...

You don't deserve presents for quitting a job. The fact that they gave you a present was very nice on their part. If you were watching my kids and quit I certainly wouldn't feel obligated to shower you with gifts.

MissMannah said...

TC...

Well now you're just trying to make me jealous. :) This family lives 3 miles away from me and I know (short of bumping into them in public) I'm never going to see them again. No idea why, I didn't leave on bad terms and they are perfectly nice people, but they're just very standoffish I guess.

PS: Piscespets, love your moniker!

April said...

I totally understand how you feel. the samething happend to me I had told them I was starting school part time and the next they just walked out to the deck and said well today is your last day. I was in tears.. I raised the kids and I had a simple.. bye. I didn't have it in my heart to tell the kids I was not coming back so I just told them I would see them later. I know not the best thing to say. The parents told me that they are not even sure what they are going to do with the kids but that with me starting school they feel its in the kids best intrest to have a new nanny.. A NEW NANNY.. I felt like I lost my kids. It was horrible. I do love the job I have now but I was so upset with how things ended.