11 February, 2013

I thought the recession was over

I have a horrible dilemma to share with you. I have worked for a family for five and a half years, since the birth of their first child. I work M-F from 8-6, always. This morning, both parents returned home at 9AM. They hadn't been to work but went to breakfast in town and returned when I had just the youngest to speak to me. This put me off right away because like I said, I have worked for them for five and a half years and the first three, I lived in their home. So I tried to prepare myself, but, it was even worse than I thought. They started by thanking me for all my years of service and telling me how much I meant to them personally. Then they said they had a business problem to deal with as they looked at managing costs over this next year in particular. (?). He apologized and said our relationship never felt like business, and that this was hard for him. He says he has contacted two nanny agencies to inquire about hiring a nanny to work from 1-8, Monday through Saturday. They said that they had gotten costs estimates. In respect for our relationship, they would "half the difference" between what I make and what they would pay brand new nanny. (For example, if I made $1200K and the replacement nanny made $900, they would split the difference for me at $1050 as my new salary) but I would need to work the same proposed hours, because this is the arrangement that would best serve their family. This family knows my personal life. They know I am now a single parent with a two year old myself. I feel so hurt because they went behind my back and looked into so many things without so much as a warning to me that my job was in jeopardy. I feel like they know I couldn't work those hours, too. I almost wonder if they proposed those hours just to make sure I didn't want to stay on. But I am so emotional right now, I don't know what to think. You said you would get this up on the site right away, so please do. I can't even begin to process this. I ended with a very strained but polite, "you've given me a lot to think about." Then they gave me the rest of the day off. I am so confused. I don't even understand the money thing because they just planned a trip to Maldives for Spring Break and no expense was spared.

20 comments:

Nay The Nanny said...

Oh my goodness...I am so sorry. I cannot imagine how hurtful and stressful all of this must be on you. I agree that they should have given you a heads up as soon as they knew there would be a problem to give you as much time as possible to find a new position. I know they feel like family to you so it is beyond a boss betraying you, it is a good friend. It is especially hurtful that you hear of them discussing trips ,etc. The best advice I can give being fairly young and never having been in your shoes would be to let them know that as much as you love them you need to support your 2 year old and this won't be enough for you to make ends meet. I am sure that is what they are expecting to hear from you anyway. Keep it super friendly though, you will need their reference. If possible, ask them to write you a written letter of recommendation. Start looking for a new position immediately. I'm sorry I don't have more to offer you, maybe some nannies on here will have been through this and can give you more advice...:(.

Village said...

Oh boy, I am so sorry this has happened to you.

The job you had is gone. They have offered you a new job with different hours and a different salary. Since neither the hours or the salary will work for you, you need to start looking for a new job. You don't necessarily need to tell them that until you find a new job.

This is one reason it's so hard to be a nanny. Lines blur, and nannies think their loyalty is going to be returned, but as DB said, he is just taking care of business. You are an at will employee and nothing more. I know that's hard to hear.

DB is lousy at business. The way he went about it could not have been more crude. Also, I'd be concerned about two nannies working the same hours. Are you really training your replacement? It would be just business, of course.

Now you need to put your business hat on. Don't tell them you are leaving until you get YOUR ducks in a row. First, tell your employers that with your new hours at less pay, you will need to babysit to make ends meet, and you need a letter of reference. Second, start making applications to find a new job, at the hours and pay that work for you. Third, when you find it, quit without notice. No need to be better at business than (*)(*) DB.

Pittsburgh nanny said...

I am so sorry this has happened to you...this kind of thing can happen. I was with a great family for 7 years...the last year when the kids were in school the mom wanted me to come in at 5 am so she could work out...even though that was the very class I went to..or would demand date nights and it didn't seem to matter that I had weekend plans or not. Or the mom would want me to drive the kids somewhere 30 miles away in traffic and I wasn't given any sort of reimbursement. I didn't think these things were fair to me...plus I had started doing a lot of housekeeping stuff that wasn't my cup of tea. When I quit I missed the kids but I wasn't willing to do what they demanded. I think you need to look for a new job..sounds to me like it may be held over your head that they are paying you more, which they should! You have been there 5 years and of course have more experience than a brand new nanny. It's nuts they would offer you crappy hours and a pay cut. I don't see them compromising but you could try..also it's weird to me that this is how they handled it. Look for a great job and in the meanwhile if you have to do the hours..it's not fair at all but that's life. Don't feel bad when you move on. Start mentally preparing now and soak up every last minute with those kids!! Call an agency and also keep the fact that you're searching to yourself.

nycmom said...

I don't really see this as horrific employer behavior. If a nanny had financial stress in her current job, wouldn't it be wise for her to research her other job options in the economy, then have a calm and educated discussion with her current employers to see if it were possible to find a solution that worked for everyone?

Would anyone advise a nanny in the reverse situation to disclose all her financial woes to her employer and put her job at risk without doing any research first?

Yes, it sucks that the parents cannot afford to continue employing you in the same job description. It sounds like they are actually trying to be completely honest about their childcare needs and budget, and possibly pay more than you currently earn on an hourly basis(and more than they would pay with a new caregiver) in order to find a way to make the situation work for everyone.

I do not think it is a personal affront that they researched the job market and proper salary before sitting down with you. I don't think they "went behind your back." If you needed to earn more money, you would certainly be encouraged to see what your other job options were before making a decision about your current employment. If the parents did not want you to stay on and were trying to set up a situation that they knew would fail for you, I doubt they would offer such a well-thought out compromise. If I am reading correctly you currently work 50 hours for (example) $1200 and they were offering $1050 for 42 hours. Of course the exact numbers would determine the final outcome, but this sounds like a possible increased hourly rate.

Further, the parents then gave you the rest of the day off to consider the options. This just doesn't sound like terrible behavior. It sounds like parents in a financial crunch trying to be honest and fair to an employee they value. Again, you may provide further information that changes my opinion, but based on what you have written so far it doesn't sound like they fired you without severance, started treating you poorly, refused a good reference or any other horror story.

I don't see hoe their personal family trip is relevant. No matter how well you know them, you have no idea what order their spending on the trip, new financial stress, or myriad other factors play into this larger decision. A single family vacation expense and long-term budgeting for an ongoing cost are very different matters. Regardless, they get to choose how to spend their money.

Perhaps there is information or subtext here I am missing, but I really don't see how these employers are treating you as poorly or unfairly as you perceive. In response to a situation like this, you should put your family's financial situation first as they have done. Be honest. Tell them the new job offer won't work for you, mutually agree on a parting date, get a good reference and ask for their help with your job search. They sound willing to assist.

Bethany said...

The courteous thing to do would have been to give her more advanced notice of the possibility of her salary and position changing.

I've been in this position twice. One employer did the right thing and gave me advanced notice, so I had time to get things in order.

The other did the wrong thing and sprung the info on me even though they new several weeks in advance of the change..

I look at this the same way I look at nannies who suddenly quit and leave their employer without care. It's about respect and it's a two way street.
Keep in mind it is not only nanny's that develop a reputation but employers as well. Yes, nannies talk.

OP, start your job search today sign the contract for your new job and be done with these people. Give 2 weeks and that's it. Do not involve yourself with training or hiring the new nanny.

Also look into unemployment if you do not find a new job within their time frame you may be eligible.

Best of luck to you.

Megan said...

I am honestly more inclined to go along with what nycmom said above. Going off on the information you gave, it sounds like your employers feel really bad about the situation, and want to hopefully work out a compromise that suits you both. I don't disagree that it is a sucky situation, but you never stated (unless I overlooked it) when these changes would go into effect? Maybe this is not short notice, and they are planning to keep on with normal hours and salary for two more weeks? Either way, I would start searching for another position immediately.

As much as it sucks, in my opinion, this is just part of being a nanny. Unless you are working within a contract, there just isn't a lot of job security. Although I have a wonderful relationship with my currently employers, and would like to think they would give me as much notice as possible if something happened, my position could really be terminated any day without notice. One or both parents could lose their jobs, maybe a decrease in pay at their work and they need to cut cost?

nycmom said...

Megan,

Yes, thansk for clarifying the issue better than I did. I also am assuming this was not effective immediately since the parents reference they would need to hire someone new if this nanny cannot work the new hours. So I also thought, based solely on OP's info, that they are actually giving her notice. If they are doing as Bethany said and telling her take it or leave it NOW, then I agree that is unfair. Both parties should abide by the contractual notice, which is usually a minimum of two weeks.

hmmm said...

i have always thought that the nature of a nanny job changes entirely every 18 months or so and you have to ask yourself:

if I interviewed for this job, as it exists today, with these hours and duties for this pay, would i take it?

and then you know if you are in the right place. my job of eight years with the same family looks NOTHING like the job i did five years ago or even three years ago. and that is fine with me.

I think either accommodate the hours change or move on. Sounds like they are giving you a few weeks to think about it, and even if you want to leave wait til you find something else to let them know.

UmassSlytherin said...

I totally agree with NYCmom. If OP had been looking for another job, she would be foolish to give them a "heads up" or warning. That's just the way things work.

OP, I do feel for you. You should part amicably because then you can be sure of a good reference.

Am I to understand that you bring your child to work with you? You do understand that is a luxury in itself. If you have kept the job for the last two years of your child's life, you are very lucky and should consider yourself so.

Get busy finding another job, girl. And good luck.

MissMannah said...

I agree with Nycmom in that they didn't "go behind your back" but rather they are looking at all financial alternatives. There is nothing wrong with that. However, if they went and hired another nanny and fired you on the spot, there would be something wrong. Or if they said "Starting Monday, you will be working these hours at this salary," there would be something wrong. You are letting your emotions get the best of you, which is understandable because this is an emotional kind of job.

My biggest question is, can you afford to live off the (slightly) lower salary? That should really be your only concern because if you can, go for it. You seem happy with this job. If you can't, tell them exactly that and I really don't think there will be hard feelings. It seems to me your employers are being very respectful about this issue.

PS: It is none of your business what your employers do with their money. They are still planning to pay their nanny a fair wage and that is all you need to be concerned with.

katydid said...

Disagree with nycmom.

I think the family is in the wrong.

The good news for you, OP is now you see the family's true colors.

This is why I always caution nannies not to think they are anything more than employees even if they think they are oh so close to the family.

Very few employers adopt a people first mode of conducting business.

It's all about them and the money this is no different in the nanny world.

I would agree to the new salary and hours so you will have some income.
All the while be looking for another job, and when you find one quit.

It's up to you how much notice you give. I would try to give 2 just as a courtesy.

Anonymous said...

Say you can't do this & you need to seek new employment. They should at least provide you a great reference.

Why do they need a Saturday nanny?

They're a-holes.

Anonymous said...

Id do it while I start looking for a new job.

Marty said...

First of all, Im truly sorry for the situation. However, I have to say that I agree with nyc mom. Plus I'd like to add, why you keep saying "they know my situation"/"they know this hours don't work for me"? This might not work for you, but it does for them. That's what they currently need and they are your employers- why should they put your interests before theirs? On that note, why do you feel they went behind your back? You're the one saying that this new situation won't work for you and since (as you stated) they know this, they had to make their researches. I'm sorry to be this tough, but us nannies need to understand that our job is no more special that any other job. In any other business, your boss wouldn't think about your personal situation before revising your salary/ replacing you. He or she would give you a two-week-notice and that's it. No heads-up. I don't understand why some of you think these parents (i.e. these EMPLOYERS) should have acted any different. I think they handled this in a fair way and now it's up to you deciding to accept the new deal or not. Lastly, their planned vacation is none of your concerns. If they want to spend more on leisure and less on child care, that's their decision to make. Again, you were given an option and all you can do now is taking a decision.

Megan said...

I agree with Nay The Nanny! I don't mean to complain, but all of this spam is really annoying. Can we go back to having comments approved before being posted??

talesfromthe(nanny)hood said...

I'm guessing that MPP did a lot of work deleting and hunting down spammers. Since she's out of commission for now, it seems like it's just something to put up with. I'm sure that once MPP is healthy again she'll keep the spam down.

If Jane were to go back to having to approve posts, I think the blog would suffer a slow death - my impression is that Jane Doe doesn't have the time MPP generously gives to do post by post approvals when needed.

Anonymous said...

The family did the right thing, I agree with nyc mom. I know it sucks but people are cutting back. What they spend ona vacation is none of your business.

Kat said...

PLEASE do something about all the spam! MPP would be livid if she saw it!

JaqAndGus said...

I realize this post is a little old, but I feel the need to comment. First, I understand the OP being upset that the job is changing to hours she can't do. However, her employers hours must be changing too and this is what they need. This does mean that the OP will have to work less hours, but wouldn't you rather the children get to spend that time with their parents? I'd happily take the hourly raise they've given me and work the other 8 hours for another family - perhaps doing before school childcare. Then the overall salary would be even greater than what the OP is making now.

NayTheNanny said...

I'm sure you're right tales...but what a bummer it may unfortunately go that route anyway thanks to this ignorant person.