List the Red Flags: Part II

Hey ISYN! I am getting ready to leave my current position after two and a half years in order to pursue work in a totally different field. I gave my four-weeks notice earlier this month, and my bosses have posted a couple ads online for the job and started interviewing new nannies, but it's been SUCH a crapshoot so far- a combination of people with no experience applying anyway and women who ask for major concessions on schedule or to bring their child, but demand the highest possible pay. The funny thing is, my job is really great. The family is totally sweet and smart. They really did adopt me into their family, and I am friends with the kids' aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins... everyone!

The parents are involved and informed about the kiddos. MB is a WAHM but doesn't come out of her office too much, but lets the kids come in and visit with her if she isn't busy. She and I have been friends from the start and I never felt I was being watched or judged. There are no nanny-cams, the kids are encouraged to pick up their own messes, and chores really are limited to tidying toys and the baby dishes (although I do a bit extra because I can). The pay is pretty average for this area, and time off is mostly unpaid, but I've always gotten not only a solid Christmas bonus but a few smaller "just because" bonuses the rest of the year, and MB tells me "Thank you" before I leave every single day. The kids are well-behaved and polite, and the parents do discipline them and enforce the rules that I make when I'm away. They're little ones still, so there are meltdowns at times but both are smart kids, and already potty-trained.

My bosses are just looking for someone with at least a couple years of experience who will encourage the kids and take them on fun outings. I just can't understand why, with the number of girls I see complaining about picky or cold bosses, or jobs that pay under $10/hr., qualified candidates aren't jumping all over this position. Also, when they do find a new nanny, we're going to do a couple transition days of myself and the new girl working together. I want to keep my eyes open and make sure they've got a good candidate, but I haven't spent a ton of time with other nannies in the area - what should I be looking out for as potential red flags when I'm talking to/working with another nanny? - Anonymous


Susannah said...

To answer your questions:

The nanny being interview has no idea how nice your bosses are as she is just interviewing with them.

A job with 2 young kids and a WAHM is a red flag ffor some people.

Unpaid vacations are a red flag to experienced nannies especially those that fully rely on the income to support themselves are their family. Especially when the pay is only average.

IMO transition days are pointless every nanny has her own style and the kids will freak out either way.

I also think it's a huge liability for you if the one you pick turns out to be a dud.

OP said...

Clarifying - I'm not "picking" the new nanny, they are. My boss knows how to hire someone. I just know that when I work with the new girl she's going to say stuff to me as a "fellow nanny" that she wouldn't say in front of my bosses, and I want to keep my ears open for anything that could indicate a serious issue.

I'm going to talk to MB today and let her know about some of the stuff that I know is a red flag with other nannies (although I don't get the prejudice against WAHMs) such as vacation and see if she can work on it. I'm just really nervous about this whole process as I can tell the more she interviews, the more she wishes I would just stay.

Bethany said...

Perhaps you aren't the best judge because you know them so well and where lucky to get close to them.

You're glasses are now abit tinted and can't see their faults.

Two or more young children is alot of work. I don't what they are offering ,but perhaps it needs to be a bit higher to entice the kind of person they want.

The other thing is career nanny with family responsibilities isn't goign to be ok with unpaid time off when she's aailable to work. She can't hope the bosses will throw some spare cash at her the rest of the year to make ends meet.

It doesn't matter how nice the kids are or the parents are bills need to be paid.

Some nannies prefer not to work in a WAHP situation. Not always, but it can make the situation more difficult if the kids know mommy or daddy are around.

Bethany said...

I'm not sure what to tell you about red flags.

I doubt she's going to tell you much if she wants the job.

She'll be more likely to ask you questions to find out what it's like working for your bosses.

Nanny gal said...

I have been in this situation, but as the applicant nanny. There were 2 kids, MB was WAHM, and nanny had been with them 2.5yrs! Coincidentally, no vacation pay and some wks in the year were only part time/half day due to summer camps etc. But hourly pay was decent and I needed a job! Needless to say I was hesitant. But, here was the deciding factor for me... I got an opportunity to talk with the nanny herself. (I'm not sure if this was planned or fluke.) After the interview MB said the kids and nanny are at the park down the street if you want to meet them for a min. Well I did and talked with nanny for 15mins... She said how much she loved working for them, she wouldn't of stayed for 2.5yrs if she didn't love the environment/set up, etc. Nothing derogatory was said from her or I about MB/DB, just said she was sad to leave and why.

Previous nanny had NO say in hiring me by the way. But I got the job, and we did a transition day. We didn't do this for the kids, we did this for ME. I got to know previous nanny's schedule, see where she takes the kids, get insight on personality likes and dislikes, and she gave me tips on MB and DB. I highly recommend doing this because we all know nanny has a different perspective from the parents! I did of course create my own routine/schedule but knowing hers was great help!

I worked with this family for 1 yr and loved it! (I only left when it was time for both kids to be in school full time.)

Manhattan Nanny said...

There are two obvious reasons they are having trouble finding someone. Time off is unpaid, and mom works at home. Many nannies are reluctant to take a job with a parent working at home. Sometimes it works out fine, many times it doesn't. They need to make it more attractive by offering a contract with a guaranteed weekly salary 52 weeks a year, sick/personal days and holidays included.

talesfromthe(nanny)hood said...

Echoing other posters, but the huge issue is un-paid time off (bills occur 52 weeks a year, and nannies get paid 52 weeks a year), and a WAHP.

Making all work weeks paid might get applicants to give the WAHP thing a shot.

OP said...

Clarifying again - the ad for the position does not mention that time off is unpaid. This is something I know from working for them but the ad doesn't state either way, so that's not affecting the type of applicants they're getting.

Nanny salaries here range from $10-15/hr typically, and they are willing to pay up to $14, so I doubt that pay is the issue.

I understand that the WAHM thing throws some nannies off although (as I mentioned) I don't get it myself... I've worked for 3 WAHMs and always had a good relationship with them.

It's baffling to me because I see so many girls here, in person, and on other nanny sites complaining that their bosses don't look after the kids, don't respect the nanny's schedule, don't enforce rules, want to pay minimum wage, BIG things. But here is a good job that happens to have a WAHM and no one wants it?

I should mention also re: "unpaid" time off that I get... I often actually get paid half-time for those days, and sometimes they go ahead and pay me full, but they never say anything about it and neither do I, my check is just suddenly $500 instead of the $400 it should be.

Also when I take vacation by my own choice, it usually "happens" to coincide with a surprise bonus. I took spring break off this year and got a "spring bonus" of $250. I took two days off last month and got an "early birthday gift" of $100, etc.

OP said...

Nanny gal, that does sound similar to our situation. :) Maybe I should tell MB to provide my email address to applicants so they can talk to me even before transition? I'm also going to talk to MB about maybe lowering her standards a bit. I've been with them so long and have so much experience now that I think they've forgotten that when I started I only had 6 months of full-time childcare experience, and NO toddler experience!

katydid said...

How many kids and what are their ages?

That could deter some nannies.

How many hours a week are they offering?

Also OP you are not sitting in on the interview with them so you have no idea how your bosses are portraying themselves and the job to candidates.

When we are close to a situation we we tend not to see the big picture or how the situation is to those on the outside.

The job is could to you because the way things are set up are good for you. I would not consider this a good job.

IMO the pay is far to low for multiple young children.

It's low if they want someone with 2 or more years of experience and they want someone to take the kids places.

I hope they are providing a car and gas!

Honestly the way you describe the pay is totally unacceptable to me and probably other nannies.

A nanny needs to depend on a set work schedule and pay thats not being unreasonable.

If your bosses want certain things they might have to change their ways from the bad habits they formed with you.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

I agree that a parent who works from the home may be a deterrent in a Help Wanted childcare ad. While it is nice that things have worked nicely w/you, in most cases they do not. I have had so many bad experiences w/parents who telecommute that I always skip over ads where it states one of the parents work at home.

Also, you state that the pay is just average. That may also factor into things as well.

gypsyy said...

$14 for two kids & unpaid vacation? Sorry, I wouldn't be interested. The wage is too low IMO. And if that parent is home, its hard to relax. I would rather not work than work under such conditions. Its not that I couldn't work for a wahm, I could. It would greatly depend on her personality though. I wouldn't take the risk. I think she needs to offer $16 an hour & promise 52 weeks a year of payment. This should solve the problem, hopefully.

De said...

A WAHM and low pay? Of course she is having trouble finding a quality nanny. I could maybe get past the lower pay but I could never ever deal with a WAHM.

leftcoastmama said...

Your MB needs to pay more, and agree to pay a full weekly wage every week even if the nanny is not needed.

14 cheap for two kids?!! said...

How is $14.00 for two kids cheap?! I Live in the Midwest. 14 for two kids is awesome. Why demand such over pay? Are you guys sleep trainers le teaching a foreign lanuage ? or are you guys residing near DC?

gypsy said...

I live in the SF Bay area. $20/hr is the going rate for two kids. I was making more than $20/hour in 2004. Id rather be a sahm than make $14/hour.

That's just my personal opinion & where I'm at. I could see $14 as possibly being great. I agree with you that location matters. But since they're having such a hard time filling the position, I doubt it is great, for their area.