Received Monday, October 18, 2010
I took a job as a live in for a family with 3 children. I read over the contract, discussed it with 2 other nannies and a previous employer to make sure it sounded okay. I was moving out of state for this job and wanted to be sure before I took that step. Everything seemed to be in order.
Between 40-50 hours a week, 1 Saturday every 2 months, 2 weeks paid vacation, 3 sick days, 1 month notice to end the contract from either party, and the only downfall no benefits but one of the parents was a doctor.
I met with the parents first and liked them right away. They invited me to their house to meet the children and I agreed. They were so cute and so sweet and we got along really well.
The trial was 1 month and everything went well so I thought I had found my dream job. The way the contract was laid out I was not only a nanny but a household manager. I took care of all the household laundry, made all the beds in the home, did the grocery shopping, ran personal errands (returning clothes and other things that weren't needed) and was responsible for light cleaning of community areas (living room, kitchen, dining room).
Eventually things started going south.
I had a hand written monthly contract made by MB. Some months the hours were much higher than I was told and the weekend work started becoming much more frequent (I worked 17 weekend days in 10 months). I hardly saw MB cause she worked so much so one night after I got a hand written schedule I sent her an email outlining a few issues I was having (hours, overtime, work being added on) and she emailed me back saying we would talk about it.
Eventually she explained to me that I was to work 200 hours for a 4 week month, and 250 hours for a 5 week month. Which meant I worked 50 hours per week or more some weeks and less others. Once they even took a 4 day trip and left me home alone with the 3 kids. She considered my hours from 7-9 instead of counting it as a 24 hour day. I obviously had no time off during that 4 day weekend and was not paid overtime. I did get a $100 bonus and a 6 page note of things I did wrong, even though the kids had a great time and i did all I was asked.
Eventually things just started piling up and becoming too much. The weekend work, the extra chores (cleaning the big family closet, cleaning and organizing the basement, cleaning out the garage), the oldest child wasn't disciplined after kicking me and telling me to shut up, when I picked my week for vacation (over a month early) I was told I could take it but it was extremely inconvienant to them, anytime I brought up something that I thought was going against the contract I was told they needed someone "flexible". The dad always having to go do something at the time he was suppose to be letting me go at night. It was just a lot of things like that.
I finally decided enough was enough and even though I'd tried talking to MB three times nothing changed. When I gave my notice i just said I wasnt very happy and no longer felt I was a good fit for their family. I had already started applying for other jobs and had accepted one when I gave notice. I told my new MB I had to give 1 month notice and she was okay with that. I gave my one month and went on about my work. On a Friday I was sent a text telling me that it would be my last day, that was 4 days after I gave notice. I was so glad I had found another position because if I hadnt I would have been living in my car until I had.
I packed my things and was moved out in 5 days. I was so happy at my new job and even though I missed my former charges I knew I made the right decision. A few days into my new job I started receiving emails from previous MB. She had found out about my new job and accused me of leaving her kids for other kids and that I shouldn't talk badly about her to her friends, which I would never do and had never done. I babysat regularly for some of her friends and if I was talking badly about her to them I doubt they would have continued using me. Eventually I got so tired of her harassing emails that i just apologized and wished her well and she did the same.
My problem now is I'm applying for jobs and I emailed all my previous employers (nanny and babysitting) to get my references in order. She responded by telling me she was still disappointed in how I left and couldn't promise she would only have good things to say. I still have all the hand written schedules, notes she left me, emails and the original contract from the family. I'm unsure of how to present this to prospective employers. I don't want a big gap in my employment but obviously I don't want to use her knowing she wouldn't say good things. How do I handle this?