Nanny needs your help!

     I have worked as a professional care giver for several years, and several different families. I am currently working in a situation that is far different from all of the rest. Previously, I have had a wonderful working relationship with all my families, and felt well-respected. The duties were made clear from the start, and were not abused on either end of the relationship. This situation now, is far different in the respect that I don't have that "closeness" to the MB or DB that I shared with other employers. Ok, that's not too bad, so we don't go out for a cocktail or have dinner biggie. Here's the biggie: I feel completely disrespected, under-appreciated, and helpless. I have been working for this family for nearly a year as a "nanny." I use that term lightly because I started as a nanny, and am now doing household chores (not pertaining to child), all childs laundry, packing/unpacking for any trip, preparing ALL food (including preparing meals to get them through the weekends when I am not working), errands unrelated to child (about 4 hrs worth, which is meant to be done during working hours while carting child around to various high-end stores), there house is cleaner than a museaum, and I was told I couldn't mess with the heat temp or I could be "dismissed" (they keep heat @ 64!) I'm meant to take child out EVERY day (regardless if its 10* out or not), and clean everything to an extreme. I work 55-60 hrs a week and rarely see the MB. Both are in intense careers, so to get a free moment with them is hard.
     I went on vacation with family to an island and was paid my normal weekly salary (including flight/rooom) and nothing more. Didn't know this wasn't normal. I had a few groceries picked up for me 2x/week, but all meals while out on the island were from my pocket. I worked EVERY night when they went for dinners, and not once got offered a meal! I ate frozen pasta dishes for dinner each night, except for the night they brought me home some left-overs. When I brought up the fact that I felt I should have a bit more compensation-I was "reminded" that I had all expenses paid, and because I went along they had to rent a larger villa. Not normal, right?
     Then, the icing on the cake. I have "5 personal days"-which I used 1 for a day of doc appointments (as I don't have any time to do so when working 13ish hours a day), and 2 days that I got approved WAY in advance to be with family for a special function. I had an immediate death in the family. I had 3 days for that (6 hrs away)-1 for travel, 1 for the wake and one for the funeral. That used up my personal days, and on my salaried position I was docked a days pay for attending my family members funeral! I normally just let them walk all over me, but brought this up w FB and was told "it's not about the money, it's about the princepal." ??!??!? I work 60 hrs a week, and got docked for taking a day off to be with my famaily as I grieved the loss of a very immediate family member!! Is this NORMAL?
     I also "cut them a deal" when it comes to overtime. I get a flat hourly rate for anything over my salaried 55 hrs, and they had asked me for an "overnight rate"-in which "should be lower" than my hourly rate. I am at the point where now I don't want to compromise my overtime rate as it's "not about the money, but about the princepal"-as it can't be one sided if they are going to put their foot down about one issue to their benefit.
     I feel taken advantage of BIG time. I am not the nanny, but the assistant now-whereas I am looking after a child and thousands of dollars worth of merchandise at the same time-probably not a good idea. And, my responsibilies have been increased, but not my pay. I make about $17/hr so its "good pay"-but live in an area where that is common for a NANNY not assistant. No healthcare or big perks. There are several other factors that play into this (doing months of overnight shifts when I was originally told i would maybe be required to do 1/week at most, etc.)-I guess what I am looking for is some help. Should I bring these issues up with MB/FB? How could one do that (I'm really nervous to speak up about these things)? Should I be looking for something else-and let them know the way they've treated me won't likely be tolorated by someone else? Help!


Bostonnanny said...

Start looking for a new position. Unless your as firm and demanding as they are with you, they will prob just walk all over you during a meeting. If you think you can stand up for yourself and control the conversation, then write everything you want to discuss down with valid points and be prepared to answer every question.

Ask for a new contract and be prepared to walk out without any notice. Make sure to have your pay check cleared before you have the meeting just incase it doesn't go well.

But if it was me, I'd start interviewing and line up a new job then quit on the spot.

Samadhi said...

Help? Honey: help yourself and get out! Start looking for another position ASAP. You sound wonderful. You are a kind, patient person and you have been taken advantage of. It happens to all of us. But get out now, baby, while the goin's good!

This family is not normal. You can do so much better.

Good luck and please keep us posted!

p.s. Don't tell them you're looking, or you'll be out on your ear. And when you find a job, give no notice. These people suck.

JustPeachy said...

I was in a similar situation once, where I went from being the NANNY to more of a PERSONAL ASSISTANT, and ended up doing most of the billing and such for MB's business. I didn't mind the extra work at first, but eventually it impacted my care for the child, and I ended up basically having to "park" her in front of the TV to get the other work done that I was being required to do each day. She started to suffer because we no longer had time to go on outings or even just cuddle up together and read books. The last straw for me was when I started getting in trouble for not keeping up with HER financial books, and honestly, that is wayyyyy more of a risk/responsibility than I needed to be involved in. I am not an accountant, nor was I trained (or paid) for what she was asking me to do.
Please be careful, in your post you said you are responsible for thousands of dollars of merchandise. If something goes wrong....they will ultimately try to hand off any blame to you, which is NOT your responsiblitly as thier NANNY.
I would start looking for a job now, and be prepared to stand your ground and walk if your meeting doesn't go well. They will only continue to walk all over you. As someone else suggested, make sure your paycheck clears first, and get a letter of reccomendation now (tell them it's for weekend babysitting, or church, or something)....because if things go south, they are not likely to give you one after the fact.
Best of luck to you, you sound like a great nanny, and many families would be lucky to have you!

JustPeachy said...

oh, and them not compensating for your meals or extra working hours while on holiday with them is not very kosher. They "reminded" you all expenses were paid, but apprently not if you provided your own meals. If they brought you along to work while on vacation, they should be responsible for ALL of your expenses, including meals. The only thing you should have had to pay for out of pocket was your own souveniers, etc. Parents should be prepared to properly compensate thier nanny to come on vacation with them (which is NEVER a vacation for the nanny).

Village said...

No one can take advantage of you unless you let them.
So stop letting them.

I doubt you can put the genie back in the bottle with this family. It's hard to stop being stepped on once they start.

I suggest you find a new family, get a contract, and learn how to say the word 'no'.

Jump Sky High said...

When I last went on a trip with my last family they covered gas, food - eating out with them that is, tickets (Disneyland) and even a few souvenirs (sp?). That's what you need to find.

nycmom said...

This is crazy which you also seem to know also, since you have prior normal employment situations for comparison.

There is absolutely nothing in your post that indicates this family respects you as an employee or a person. Things will not get better. Start applying for other jobs immediately. Getting a written letter of recommendation is a good idea if you can swing it, but if not, you still need out asap.

Assuming you cannot afford to quit immediately and need to answer the overnight rate question: Say NO. If they insist, give an rate that is so high it would be worth your while.

Nanny Sarah said...

Get out fast!! You need a position that the parents will treat you with respect. I am so sorry for your loss.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

First thing, ask for a letter of recommendation right away, and say it is for your portfolio, or for a college class you plan to take on-line or for church, or whatever.

Then, start job hunting ASAP. Register with agencies, use on-line resources, whatever you need to do. Be prepared to leave as soon as you get a GOOD new position.

Next, set your overnight rate sky high. Double time would be good.

And finally, start asking them now when they will sit down with you for contract negotiations for the coming year. Then, get prepared. Focus on the job YOU signed on to do, and the job your want to do. Emphasize all you have been doing that is above and beyond stadnard nanny duties. Decide how much money and what benefits you would need to stay with them. Figure out vacation compensation, etc.

And finally, if you LI, arrange emergency housing now, so that if you do get fired, you have somewhere to go.

Good luck to you!

find a new job asap said...

wow,they are definitely taking advantage of you. And docking your pay because you went to a funeral? Um, they are totally inconsiderate too!! The principle of the whole matter is they shouldn't even have a child if they are going to have you work 60 hours a week to take care of that child. Plus if they are requiring all the errands WITH the child, I can see where that is VERY difficult!! I don't know how easy they are to talk to (probably not easy at all) but you can't allow this to continue.

Ohhh.... and the trip!?! That happened to me once, I was paid $200 for babysitting for an entire week, all day every day because they said they had to pay my airfare, umm, like I was going to pay it? I was too stupid to speak up. And not providing you food??? Unreal!! I'm sure food was much more expensive on the island than it is at home and when did you get to enjoy this so called vacation they took you on??

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

I have to disagree with Anon's comment. Nannies: You are NEVER and will NEVER be considered part of the family! Family members usually are loved on an unconditional basis..meaning you will be loved no matter how you act, what you say, etc..but in an employee/employer situation, this is not so. If things go South, there is no loyalty from the parents, they simply move on and find your replacement.
Anyway, you need to leave this position. If you stay, nothing positive will come of it. These people are users period and their true colors have already come to light. Nothing you can say to them now will make them change.
I don't know your finances, but unless you are in a bad place financially you would not be in the wrong if you left w/out any notice. They do not deserve the respect of having you give a proper notice. In fact, they deserve for you to be gone and for them to scramble to find someone ASAP to work 60+ week. Do it.
But make sure your payment clears first,that you have a place to live, and that you have enough in savings for a few months in case you do not get a position immediately which is highly likely in this bad economy.
Good Luck and Please keep us posted on what happens.
As Nannies, we care about you and most of us relate to what you are experiencing as most of us have been in your shoes at one time or another.

Nanny Ada said...

You are 100% being taken advantage of and you need to stand up for yourself. Really the worst thing that can happen is them firing you, but let's be honest, you need to get out of there unless things change ASAP anyway. I mean, do you even like their kids? What is keeping you at this job besides the "good pay?" (By the way, fair labor laws state that any work over 40hrs needs to be paid time and a half. You have the law on your side on this one!) You should definitely bring this up with the MB/FB, but at this point, I honestly feel like this abuse has gone on too long for you to expect a huge change from them. You can find another job with similar pay that doesn't make you miserable.

anonymous nanny said...

Anonymous said...
Look for a new job!!

I worked for several families over the past 8 years... and only ONE time did I have a "patchy" relationship with my employers and that ended negatively.

I have the mentality that a nanny should be treated as "one of the family." Not like a child and not as an employee. If something doesn't feel right with my potential employers during the interview process-- then I cannot take the position. There HAS to be some sort of connection as I am helping raise their child(ren.)

My last job-- I was desperate. I admit that. I was in a miserable situation-- I was unemployed for some time (had temp work, but nothing I could hold for long-term) and I moved cross country to be close to my family and get the financial support I needed. It sucked. At 25 years old, I had no interest in living with my parents-- so I accepted a position with huge question marks attached.

I was BARELY paid what I am worth. I was salaried at 40 hours a week, but worked 55 over the course of 4 days. I would create activities, and projects that mom and dad didn't appreciate. We could not go ANYWHERE. They wanted me to clean ALL the time and omg they were DIRTY!!! It was stressful. I would come home in tears, and my boyfriend (God love him!) ran the bath water and poured me a glass of wine at least once a week.

They ended up letting me go ON MY BIRTHDAY, to rehire their old nanny since school was out for summer. They swore I was great, and that they were letting me go for personal reasons-- though nothing personal against me (they did have some family crisis) but they did not write me a letter of recommendation, or call back any one looking for a reference. It was BATTLE to explain during my interviews why I had a 6 month "gap" on my resume even though I had been employed.

Seriously. To my point: FIND A NEW JOB!!!

My employers now, have nothing but respect for me. They're awesome. They treat my like a friend who takes care of their children (if that makes sense.) We can freely talk about anything and everything... money too. If I work over my hours, it's negotiated that I get more as per my contract. Don't let them walk all over you!!!

Mar 9, 2011 8:48:00 PM

repost for anonymous

simply anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
THEY ARE NOT FORCING YOU TO WORK! If you think how you let them treat you is such a big deal then quit. Stop working there if you feel it's not right.

Simple as that.

Mar 10, 2011 2:21:00 AM

repost for anonymous

cali mom said...

OP, they are assholes who are screwing you and will continue to do so as long as you are available for screwing. In a perfect world, you'd line up a new job and tell them where to shove it in a note that they find on the kitchen table when they drag themselves out of bed at 6 am having to make their own coffee and feed their own hungry kids who woke up early.

But in reality, the only sensible response to a clueless person like Anonymous who asks why you are still at the job is that UNEMPLOYMENT THESE DAYS IS AT NEARLY 13% IN SOME AREAS! In other words, jobs are hard to come by and most people don't have a fairy godmother to support them. So, find a new better job as soon as you POSSIBLY can, (get a reference in the meantime as others have suggested) and then leave with no notice, preferably at the most inconvenient time possible for them.