Wednesday

2 weeks of Housesitting for Employer - 12 ounces of Chocolate?

Received Wednesday, September 1, 2010
perspective and opinion I've been working with a family with one child for about a year now, although I guess I'm technically not a "nanny" since I'm not under a contract, but I do work about 20 hours a week for them and we have a really great relationship. The family recently went on a 2 week trip to Israel and asked me if I would like to house sit for them, including going over everyday to feed the cat and clean her little box (responsibilities do not normally have when they are in town). The mother never mentioned that she would compensate me for house sitting, but I assumed they would give me something, especially since she knows working for her is my sole source of income and my wallet takes a hit when they take a 2 week vacation. I assumed because she asked me to sleep there every night and take care of the cat that I would be paid some sort of sum for this, especially when I know that most house sitters get paid a ridiculous amount. When they got home from vacation she gave me some chocolate bars from Israel as a thank you gift but never once mentioned monetary compensation. I admit that I was just assuming I would get paid when they got back so I wasn't so concerned that my bank account had slowly dwindled over the two weeks, just figuring I'd have something to deposit when they got back. My question is, should I mention anything to her? She really is a wonderful mom and the family is amazing for me to work with and I'm sure she'd appreciate my honesty but I really don't want to make things awkward and I guess I should just swallow the fact that since we didn't discuss anything beforehand I shouldn't have expected anything...any insight? Thanks!

21 comments:

Elle said...

Of course you should say something! Why in the world would they expect that you would house sit for them for no compensation??? Your first mistake was not going over payment for your services when they asked you, then when they came home and didn't compensate you, you should have addressed the issue with them. Who cares if they are great? A great employer would not screw you like that. I house sit on a regular basis for my family when they go out of town, and am always compensated at the very minimum my regular weekly salary, plus extra.

Ha said...

You don't understand, that chocolate was made from a special kind of cocoa bean that doesn't even exist anymore.

redridinghood said...

It doesn't matter whether you think she'd appreciate your honesty - you should let her get the benefit of it anyway! Yes, you should have probably discussed remuneration beforehand, but the fact that you didn't should not mean that they can cheap out like this. Sit down with them the next time you see them and raise the issue - and come back to let us know how you got on!

CanadianMom said...

I understand being nervous to discuss this with your boss but I think if you can muster the courage, you should do so. Maybe you can say that you had assumed that they had decided to employ you rather than whatever usual pet/house sitter arrangements that they had in the past and would compensate you accordingly, and that you agreed because you really appreciated the opportunity to continue to make some money while they were away. If you take some responsbility for any misunderstanding/miscommunication I think that would also be diplomatic, e.g. "I'm sorry that there seems to have been some misunderstanding on this and maybe I shouldn't have made assumptions about the arrangement, but I'm afraid I did think that I would be paid for house/cat sitting for you while you were away since otherwise you would have had to hire someone else to do it. I assumed you decided to hire me to do it because otherwise I would have no income while you were away, and I really appreciated that". If they are as nice as you say, I am sure they will realise they've been a bit cheeky and offer you some compensation. If they don't, then they are obviously pretty thick skinned and I wouldn't worry about their feelings, and they probably won't ask you to do it next time they go away. If this or something similar does come up again at least you will know to discuss the payment terms in advance.

BUMBOCLATT said...

you should never ASSUME anything!
ever hear the saying when you ASSUME you make a ASS out U and ME

another nanny said...

I agree with CanadianMom...take some responsibility for the misunderstanding so as not to seem like you are attacking them in any way. But definitely bring it to their attention, or else you set up the precedent of working for free.

I used to housesit for my former employers with compensation, which worked out great for everyone. However, they had neighbors who would employ housesitters and not pay them. They thought the privilege of staying in their (admittedly, very nice) home was enough compensation.

Jacqui said...

That's pretty ballsy of her...weird that it wouldn't have occurred to her to pay you. I agree with what everyone else said. Of course you should have discussed it before they left and yada yada yada. Definitely say something. I am a huge wimp when it comes to approaching my employers about money matters, so I can understand where that nervousness may come from, but you really do deserve some sort of compensation other than chocolate. Good luck.

awful said...

I think it says a great deal about this family that they didn't even consider compensating you monetarily for your time. It basically says that they do not value you as much as they should. I would tell them that you wish you had told them that you expected to be compensated for your time, and that you are regretful that you were not.

Laura said...

UPDATE! So thank you everyone for being so encouraging. Basically the only reason I posted this on the site was because my roommates thought I should definitely say something and my mom thought I definitely shouldn't, so I figured I'd throw it up on here and gauge the general feeling. So I spoke to the mother this morning, and I got unexpectedly choked up about it...but she was totally understanding and said "I know money is an uncomfortable thing to talk about but please don't ever feel awkward discussing things like this with me. I guess we just assumed you would enjoy having your own space for a while blahblahblah" I guess she doesn't realize that my apartment is bigger than hers and I'm happy to sleep in my own bed without a loud whiny cat trying to claw my face off. But, moral of the story is I'm happy I stood up for myself and got what I deserved without having to compromise my relationship with the family. Thanks so much!

melo-mommy said...

I find this is so ridiculous that some of u thinks she should take responsibility for not discussing compensation before hand. If her boss didn't ask her to house-sit, I am sure she would of gotten someone else to do it and she would have paid that individual. Why is it ok for her employer to not pay her for her time and energy. I am sure she could of been doing something else with her time, like working short-term for another family to make some extra cash especially since her employer didn't pay her for the time-off they gave her for their trip to Israel. And I think it's so low of her employer to offer chocolate in exchange for her time. Nanny if I were you don't take the chocolates home, just leave it somewhere in the house where your employer can see it. You should know your worth, and am sure it's not chocolates. If they can afford to go Israel for 2 weeks am sure they can afford to pay you. Don't feel bad about asking for what is rightfully yours, your time and energy. And next time she asks you to do anything remotely the same don't agree to it. Use this as a learning experience.
Judging from this posting am sure this Nanny/Babysitter has a hard time with getting paid on regular basis. They probably pay below the going rate and have outrageous demands, like house-sitting and cat- sitting for free.

cali mom said...

This is what happens when you assume...

Clearly the family ASSumed you'd be housesitting as a favor for them so it appears you have a major problem on your hands.

ericsmom said...

OP

I am glad all worked out at the end. Trust me they will respect you more.

Meme said...

I was honestly kind of on the fence on this one. I'm so glad to hear it all worked out well for you.

alex said...

uh wow! You definitely should be getting paid for that! You could tell her how much you love working for them etc. but you thought you would be getting paid for house sitting. I mean that is gas and time that you had to take out of your schedule.

A Non A Mous said...

She (OP) already updated. It all worked out, so those of you getting all hormonal can silence yourselves now.

Glad it worked out OP, for the most part, you received considerate thoughtful advice! You definitely did the right thing by communicating and speaking up. We all learn from our mistakes, and I'm sure you won't assume next time (no big deal)! (=

Jacqui said...

Melo-mommy needs a time out. So aggressive. I got a headache just skimming that comment. OP, glad everything worked out for you :-)

Bug said...

I'm glad it worked out for you, OP.

My "family" asked me if I'd take care of their dog while they're gone over Thanksgiving and we didn't talk about compensation. But- they live very close and have said I could handle it however I want (come by to walk the dog just stay at their house, or bring the dog to my house). And I'm getting paid my regular weekly salary even though I won't be working as their nanny. And, finally, I love the family and the pup. So if they give me some kind of gift or bonus, it will be a nice gesture, and if not, no big deal. I think it's a fair enough deal since I'm always paid my weekly salary even if they don't need me.

for the trip said...

To me, the issue isn't about being paid to house sit. The issue is whether you got your normal pay.

MissMannah said...

I'm glad it all worked out well for you, but I have a question. If you've been working for them for a year, why the heck don't you have a contract?? You even sound like you don't want to write one up. You know you won't have problems like this if you address them before they arise.

ruth said...

How much do you nannies get for dogsitting or catsitting then? I was offered 200 dollars for 7 days of dogsitting for a family I worked for but declined because I hated their dog, their apt, and their neigbourhood (murray hill, manhattan), instead I went dogsitting for free for a friend the same week and didnt make a penny. His apt is great and so is the dog.
Ive seen people on cl asking for dogsitters in exchange for staying in their nice apt for free.

Crazyfrog said...

Actually i think that you should have gotten paid the time they were gone and then extra for house sitting. You should tell her that about how you feel and if she doesnt appreciate what you did then try to find yourself work with a nicer family that will think of you as a human. I totally agree with redridinghood.