Difficulty in Deciding Day of Departure

I have an issue I need opinions on. Here's the situation. I have already decided to quit my current nanny job. I was planning on leaving at the beginning of September, which would mark my 1 year point. This is an extremely stressful and difficult job, and I've just realized that it's too much for me to deal with. Now here's where it gets complicated. The family goes to their summer home for 2 months. The other nanny and I were planning on splitting the time at the summer home, because it is a much more demanding situation being there. There's little time off and the hours are LONG (think 15 hour days). So we were going to switch on and off so we could both get some much needed R&R in order to maintain the necessary flexibility. Now it came out awhile ago that the other nanny has a health issue that would make it so she could only go to the summer home for 2/3 of the first month. Because of that, I would end up being the only nanny for 6 weeks straight. I was given the first 3 weeks off, and it was understood that that would offset whatever overtime I would accrue while at the summer home. I was okay with that. I knew it would be a difficult summer, but I had made my peace with it. Let me reiterate that this summer staff schedule was approved MONTHS ago. I knew what time I would have off, and I made plans for that time.

Fast forward to 3 weeks ago. I had determined that I was going to quit. I was planning to give my notice as soon as I got to the summer house, so the family would have a month to look for a replacement. I was planning to offer my assistance to make the transition easier. I knew it wouldn't be pretty, and it was making me look forward to being there even less. Then, while I was in the middle of making that decision, I heard secondhand from the other nanny that the family had decided that she shouldn't go to the summer house. They felt that with her medical condition she wouldn't be able to keep up with the rigorous schedule. That is all I heard about it. I already had my summer schedule, and summer plans, and I was never asked to switch things around. There have been times in the past when the family has not wanted a nanny at the summer house, depending on their activities, so I thought maybe it was one of those situations. And now, fast forward again to this week. I was basically told that I would be working the entire summer. The other nanny and I were reprimanded for not arranging our schedules to make sure they had full coverage. There were some words exchanged. It was stated as being "unacceptable", and they informed us that they don't have time to deal with something like this, and we need to figure it out. I told them that I would be able to work the schedule that I was given months ago, and no more. I don't think I'm in the wrong here. It was not the other nanny's choice not to travel with them, so I don't think it's her responsibility to take care of finding a replacement. And I don't think that I should have to cancel my plans and rearrange my life because they want me to. 

Now here's the actual question. I have a feeling things are going to be hostile. I have one more week at the house before the family travels to the summer home. I know when I get to the summer home in a month, they're already going to be upset that I "left them in that situation". And then, I'm going to get there and give them notice. That is going to make for a horrible summer. What do you think I should do? I could give them notice now. Technically that could be considered either 4 weeks, if you count the 3 weeks I was scheduled to have off anyway, or it could be considered 1 week, if you feel as they do, that I should be working during that time. I don't really think that's enough notice. I could give my notice now, and tell them that I'm happy to still come work during the time I was scheduled if they haven't found someone else and help with the interview process. That's much more notice, and then they have the option of finding a replacement during those first 3 weeks and then I may not have to go at all, but I'm still available if they need me. Or, I could just do as I had planned originally and give them notice when I get there in the summer. Honestly, none of these scenarios are ideal, because I know they're going to be so mad and I'm going to be miserable. I have money saved up and if I get this new job (I have my second interview tomorrow so I'm crossing my fingers!) I'll only be without a job for 3 months. I'll just be going home to stay with my parents during my off time, so I would love to have as much time as I can get with them and my friends. I just don't know what to do. Any advice?


Sarah NY said...

I'd give them notice now. Then they have ample time to find a replacement for you. Don't go to their summer place, 4 weeks is plenty of time to find a new nanny and it isn't needed unless it is in your contract that you need to give them more than a months notice. I would write them a letter with your end date in a sealed envelope and also orally tell them you are leaving and your end date. They seem to be pretty horrible snotty bosses. Just be prepared to be screamed at and treated like trash until you are done working for them...

Shore nanny said...

I agree that you should give notice now, but let them know you are willing to work your summer schedule if they needed you. I think if you use the 3 weeks your off as part of your notice you might not end up getting paid for it. DO NOTTTTTTT give in to anything! Don't rearrange your plans! Take it from me- I was in a similar situation. In my contract it stated I'd have a week off in dec- the week between Christmas and new years. So of course I had plans to go see family in another state. The week before I was to be off- MB said she wasn't sure if I could because she was unable to take off since she had just started a new job. DB had that week off though- so I was upset that they'd have me work when he was off. I kept explaining that I already had booked a hotel etc, but they didn't care. DB said he couldn't handle the kid by himself and needed help. I stupidly agreed to work and canceled my plans. After this- they walked ALL OVER me. I dealt with it for 5 more months then quit. So stuck to the original plan. It's not your fault that the other nanny cannot help and it's not your responsibility to fill in. If you're ok financially then give your notice. Do it professionally and if things get hostile tell them you are uncomfortable and won't be returning the next day. Just make sure you get paid! Good luck!

NannyShell said...

Give them notice now. That way it will be over with and they can start looking for someone now. If you do have to go there to work then you giving notice won't be so fresh in their minds.

I understand why you feel obligated, but I honestly wouldn't work for them this summer. You can go home to your parents and spend time with everyone who is important to you.

Bethany said...

I would tell them now. Let the chips fall where they may. Be professional tell them in person and also give them a letter in writing and keep a copy for yourself.

I agree with you that it is not your responsibility to fill-in for the other nanny or to find another nanny.

If they turn nasty do not return to work another day.

blurp said...

1. What does your contract say about how much notice you are to provide?
2. If they're at their summer home won't that be difficult for them to find a nanny? I mean, if they live in Manhattan but travel to Cape Cod each summer, they'll want a nanny in NY, not in MA.

Magen said...

I'd say give notice now, and don't return for the summer. Do you have a copy of your contract and your responsibilities? When I started thinking about leaving my nanny job (because of low pay and no other reason) I asked for a written letter of reference. It sounds like things are falling apart at your job and if you don't get out soon, they'll pull you under. You'll only have one week left of work and then you are free. It would be possible to find a summer nanny job in the interim for cash if you need it. If they treat you poorly after you give your notice, tell them that you are unable to fulfill your duties in a hostile environment and that you will not be returning. Don't expect a reference from these people unless you are prepared to bend over backwards (more like a pretzel) to appease them. It may also be a good idea to actually talk to them. Tell them that as an employee you agreed to the schedule set months ago and cannot agree on such short notice to drastic changes. Also note that because they are the employer, it is their responsibility to "figure it out". Unless you are working as a team with your own business and are an independent contractor (which I highly doubt) you are not responsible for that portion of the task handling. Best of luck!

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

So, it's 3 months until you MAY start a new job. You have 2 months to work in a summer location, which you are dreading. You also mentioned getting comp time for long days over those 2 months, I think.

It sounds as if they will be really annoyed no matter what you do. If you tell them now, do you have means to live until you find another job? I.E., if they tell you to get out when you give notice tomorrow, will you be OK financially?

If so, tell them now, and suck up the horribleness of your summer if they don't fire you. Be professional, work your contract, and ask for a letter of recommendation.

If you cannot make it financially without a job, then suck up the horrible summer and give notice as soon as you are back from their summer house. Sounds like then you will have a month to work there to fulfill your contract, and a month in the normal location with normal hours, at that.

Either way, if you are not fired, you can kiss comp time or extra pay goodbye.

Next time, mandate OT in your contract on any and all occasions.

Kloe said...

I agree w/the other posters that you should give your notice now and see how they react.

I think it is unfair that they made the decision to not have the other nanny at the summer house and expect to have you there for the two months. 15 hr days sound much too long for me and they had no right to blame you for "putting them in this situation." They did it themselves by giving the other nanny time off.

Anyway, I think they will be pissed and probably let you go prior to going to the summer house. Just my gut instinct here. I also have a feeling if you do go, you will be in a hostile work environment and dread part of your summer. They will probably be enraged that they have to use their vacation time looking for another nanny.

Ideally, make sure when you give your notice, you have been paid already. I wouldn't count on working for them this summer.

I think you should see your family.

OP said...

OP here,
Thanks for all of the great advice!
A few things to clear up.

My contract is an "at will" contract, which means that it can be terminated at any time by either party with or without cause or reason. That is stated pretty much verbatim. I was trying to be nice by giving them notice. I don't like to burn bridges, and I try to be as fair as possible without being a total pushover.

I do have overtime in my contract, and it is paid after 55 hours, but the contract also states that overtime can be replaced with supplemental time off. That's the way the summers usually work, and that doesn't bother me, as long as both parties have approved the schedule, which we did.

I'm okay financially. I may look for a part time job near where I live, just so I don't get bored, but I won't suffer without the income for the few months.

I'm not too worried about a recommendation letter. All of my previous references are awesome. Also, I know that I can get references from at least 3 other staff members, one of whom is the staff manager, as well as the nanny agency who placed me. I doubt these parents will give me one once I tell them that I'm leaving.

The agency they work with is actually closer to their summer home than to their main home. I was recruited by this agency while they were at the summer home. I have no doubt that they'll be able to find a new nanny, but they probably won't want to.

I'm now leaning more towards just giving notice and leaving. I've learned now that I won't get paid for the 3 weeks off I was scheduled for. Apparently getting paid was only going to happen BEFORE they asked me to work during that time and I said no. I can understand that, but it makes me want to stay less.

I'll know tomorrow if I get the other job. They now want me to start in August, so if I get it, it wouldn't really make sense for me to travel to the summer home anyway.

I'll let everyone know what happens!

Bethany said...

Good luck to you, OP.

You may want to research contracts.

A few of the nannies here have good ones, I think it was Tales that has given an example.

Make sure you negotiate yourself a fair one in all future jobs and hold your employers to it.

Also you are not obligated to stay an endure an abusive environment.

I made that mistake in a past job because i didn't want to be a quitter and leave before my contracted time.

There is no money, paper, or agreement in the world worth being mistreated even if for a shortened time.

Good luck!

UmassSlytherin said...

any employer who would get hostile when their nanny gives notice is unreasonable and irrational.

give your notice,op, and good luck. you sound way too good for them!

luckoftheirish said...

Youre never responsible for another nanny getting sick or for whatever her medical issues are. One of the most frustrating feelings is being held responsible for something that you can not control. It sounds like you don't need a letter from her, so I wouldn't ask. Id give notice asap. Because its the right thing to do. You do what's right regardless of others behaviors. And the whole comp time and fifteen hour days sounds so unreasonable to me. But if you're okay with it, who am I to complain? Lol Good luck to you.

Too bad! said...

DO NOT got to the summer home!

I have an idea, they can take care of their own kids.

*Melanie Raye* said...

I say give notice now,and don't go to the summer house.

Lyn said...

Does this trip to the summer home remind anyone else of The Nanny Diaries? Haha. RUN!

Mrs. Billy Lamar said...

Since you do not need the money nor the recommendation letter OP, I would just leave as soon as I get my next paycheck. Make sure the check clears first, then give your notice.

It's entirely up to you whether you want to leave now or wait a few weeks. Since you are w/an agency, you might want to give notice so you won't look flaky to the agency.

However, if you go to the summer home, you will be trapped to work for them and they might be mean.

I agree....why don't they look after their own children this summer??!!

another nanny said...

No question, OP. Give your notice now and don't with them to the summer house. They have already proven themselves to be unreasonable, so I doubt there's anything you can do to end things on good terms. You'll just be setting yourself up for absolute misery if you go. I would do as you say, and just look for something part-time close to home. Good luck getting a new job!

OP said...

Well I got the other job! They want me to start on the 7th of August. I'll be giving notice today or tomorrow, and I'm so nervous. Just have to rip off the band-aid though!

RBTC said...

let us know what happens

Nanny Franny said...


Congrats on the new position!!! ☺ for the fun part....let us know what happens.

OP said...

Well I did it. I gave notice this morning. She didn't throw a tantrum like I expected, but did give me a big guilt trip, saying things like
"You really need to think about this before you get another job. When you work with kids you have a responsibility to them to not get close to them and then just leave."
"I thought you would be here at least 2 years which would be so much better for her" (I don't get why 2 years would be better than 1. Leaving sucks regardless)
I told her that I think my biggest responsibility is to myself, and she said "I disagree with that. I don't think anyones responsibility to herself is more important than their responsibility to children."

Then she talked about how I'm leaving them in a bad spot, and she doesn't want to get another young nanny because they all leave after such a short time.
I would have suggested that maybe she think about WHY all of her live-in nannies leave after a year or less... but I know that it wouldn't make any difference. I would love to stay with a family for many years. I hope I do, in the case of my next family. This family just makes it impossible. I wish she could understand that.

So yeah. I agreed to go to the summer home for two weeks before I start my new job. If she treats me badly there I have no problem leaving on the spot, since my home is pretty close to there.

Thanks for all of the support. This wasn't fun, but I'm glad it's over. I'm going to miss my little one so incredibly much. It's always hard to leave them, but even harder when you worry for them.

Village said...

I'll bet the farm the two weeks at the summer house go unpaid. I hope I'm wrong. She is going to consider that HER two weeks notice.

It was smart to hold your tongue. Nothing you say will impact her. She is a horrible employer who runs off nannies.

Please let us know if you get paid, and GOOD LUCK! I hope you find your long term family.

Brynne said...

I agree with Village..I hope you get paid too. I wouldn't do it, sounds too risky.

Phoenix said...

I don't understand why parents can't watch their own kids. My friends family had 6 and they never had a nanny. They also had ALL the kids over at their house, meaning they had 4 kids ranging from 17 down to 14 so as teens they had 4 friends each. Since they were in a mansion all of us would be over there. It was anarchy. But the parents never compained they needed help. They just became the taxi and food provider, never complaining

pro-nanny mama said...

The guilt trip your MB tried is eyeroll worthy, OP. I find it hilarious when employers think that their commitment to their children should be shared by nannies. Nannying is a JOB. A job that involves love to be done well, but a job that is left at the end of the day, as part of a full and rounded life. It isn't a 24/7 responsibility. If a nanny wanted that she or he can become a parent. Thanks for posting followups to your story, OP!

MissMannah said...

"I disagree with that. I don't think anyones responsibility to herself is more important than their responsibility to children."

OMG that is hilarious! Did you kindly or maybe not-so-kindly remind her that they are not YOUR children?

Bethany said...

Good for you!

Sounds like someone forgot that she is the mother!

Take care of yourself, the first sign of disrespectful or abusive behavior walk out the door!

I take it you got the job you interviewed for! Congrats!

OP said...

Haha you all are cracking me up! I pretty much bit my tongue and didn't say anything. I started to, but then just said that it really doesn't matter anymore at all.

I really do feel so bad to leave the littlest one. I love her and would gladly stay on forever if I didn't have to deal with her parents.

The best part about "needing" a nanny at the summer home, is that the two oldest kids are 11 and 14... and there's a staff member to drive them around! I've been told repeatedly that it's my primary job during the summer to "play" with the 11 year old. This child never wants to do ANYTHING. I suggest 10+ activities that he shoots down, and then he calls his mom and tells her that he's bored. He then hands the phone to me and she tells me to find something for him to do! It's mentally exhausting. I've gone out of my way to let the little one play on her own sometimes so she doesn't develop the same problem. (Which is, by the way, not allowed. Nobody is EVER supposed to leave her alone in a room. She's five.)

PS, I'm also the poster from a few weeks back who can't stand her bosses ;) I guess it doesn't matter now since I'm leaving.

luckoftheirish said...

Shouldnt an 11 y/o boy be playing with other 11 y/o boys all summer? No offense what so ever to the nanny! However, I believe that is a road block, for any nanny! A boy that age needs playmates his own age. A grown woman just isnt a suitable replacement, imo. (again, please dont take offense)

Susannah said...

I agree it's odd that the 11 year old doesn't have any friends his own age.

But, OP is correct in that it's probably because he was never required to develop that skill set along with independent play, at that age the nanny should be around to supervise play and transport to and from activities not create them as if for a toddler.

OP said...

Oh no offense taken! I know that it's not normal at all. It's basically my job to be a clown and constantly entertain them. If he ever goes off to play on his own, MB sends me to find him and play with him. Which I personally think is crazy. He NEEDS to learn to play on his own.

He should be playing with other kids all summer. He just doesn't. Nothing I can do about it unfortunately.

OP said...

Oh and I should mention, he does have friends. He's quite popular at school. He's athletic and likes to be the center of attention. He's fine when he has a "playdate". Except that MB makes me come up with CRAZY FUN activities for them to do, instead of just letting them come up with things to do on their own.

I can't even begin to get into all of the issues here.

MissMannah said...

I know it has nothing to do with the conversation, but I just want to say that I absolutely hate the term "playdate." It is semi-acceptable for toddlers, but not at all for an 11-year-old. It is close to the top of my list of annoying made up terms.

Just had to get that off my chest. Anyone else agree?

Susannah said...

I don't like the term either.

Playdate sounds so pretentious to me.