The Nanny, the Thief and the Bracelet.

I have a very difficult situation. I am not a highly paid nanny and I need my job and cannot lose this job. I work in the Park Slope area and make $10 an hour cash. I live out. I have three roommates at my home. My boss never addressed having company at her house, and I never considered it until I was out and ran into a roommate getting ice cream with my charge. We walked back to my boss's townhouse together. She came in and had some water and played a bit with my charges and I. That was three months ago.      Over the weekend, we were going out to a club and my friend put on a bracelet that I recognized as my boss's because of it's uniqueness. I don't know the cost of it, I don't think it was over the top expensive, but I recognized it because I had noticed it when my boss wore it. I was frozen and I asked my friend, "where did you get that?" She stumbled with her words, but clearly she had taken it from the house I worked at. She apologized and gave it back to me. I didn't go out with her and hadn't spoken to her all weekend.
    This morning after my employer's left, I left the bracelet somewhere where the mother could eventually find it. I know where it is and I cannot stop thinking about it. I would never steal from anyone. I was on the fence about whether just admitting the whole truth of the story or leaving it when my roommate called me this morning to ask me if I noticed that Clare's stuff was all gone. Now,I am more nervous to tell them, because I don't know that she didn't take something else. I imagine that she didn't. I don't know the right thing to do.
    As we have rent coming up in two weeks and there are now just the three of us to split it, I am especially scared about losing my job. I have only been at this job since January 10. I seriously think I am having an anxiety attack over this.


Wednesday said...

hmm.. maybe it never came up because common sense would tell you that parents would not like having strangers around their kids. Weird why some parents would feel that way. People could steal from them, hurt their kids or something along those lines. If you get fired you do know that you totally deserve it, right? Just be honest, tell the truth maybe they won't fire you. I sure hope you don't get fired. In the end what you did was incredibly disrespectful. Think about this.. if you had called them and asked they might have said "no" since they don't know her but they would have appreciated that a lot more than you just bringing home a stranger. Maybe they won't fire you but their trust will have gone down. It could be rebuilt, sure, but you've only been there two months so you're still in first impression/ 3 months trail mode and frankly still replaceable. I hope it works out and they don't fire you. Really I hope they see that you didn't mean for anything bad to happen but it is their right to do so.

Rachel said...

I would come clean about it. You really did nothing wrong. It's not like you invited friends over for a party. It was unplanned and a person who you thought you could trust. At least then you won't have to worry about it any more. If you are nervous about making rent, wait the 3 weeks, then tell them. It's already been 3 months, so whats the difference! Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

I think it is on the parents to establish "house rules" for precisely this reason. Each family has their own specific rules and comfort levels for what is acceptable around their children and in their home. I would think that inviting someone that the parents did not know back to their home to be around their children (and apparently, this person was also unsupervised to the extent that they were able to find and steal the jewelry) would obviously be inappropriate, but I've also learned not to make such assumptions.
You absolutely have to tell the parents about this, primarily because it is the right thing to do but also to protect yourself. If other things are missing and the parents just haven't realized it, when/if they do, then you would be a prime suspect. They may already have noticed and suspect you, but perhaps are waiting to see if something else turns up missing. If you tell them this after they have accused you of stealing, it will sound like a story that is made up to CYA.
I can tell you that I would not fire my nanny over this alone. If you have otherwise been an exemplary nanny and have a wonderful relationship with the children, I would take all of that into consideration. However, it would be a red flag to me, not only of the poor judgment in having a stranger in my home, but also that you never brought it up prior to this. When I return home each day, especially in the beginning, I ask what my nanny and children did during my absence. I would think it odd if my nanny didn't bring something like this up. It would make me wonder what else I wasn't bring apprised of.
I would tell the MB that you have something important that you need to discuss with her and ask when you can have a few minutes of her undivided attention. Then be direct and to the point. Say that it was a spur of the moment decision and that it was actually that decision which made you realize that it was inappropriate and for that reason, it had only happened the one time. The reason you are bringing it up now is because you feel badly that a personal belonging was taken from their home and you are also concerned that other things might be missing. Be prepared to divulge the identity of your former roommate and any contact information you have if they decide to contact the police.
Be sure to stress what you like about working for the family, and state that you want to keep working with them. Make it clear that you are willing to do what it takes to regain any trust you might have lost. Take responsibility for your bad judgment, but don't allow it to become more than it is, either. Make sure to underline that this is an isolated incidence and one that you had already decided, theft aside, would not happen again. Also, it is possible your employer won't find it a big deal, and if that is the case, then don't be the one who makes it a big deal.
If the worst happens and they do not want to continue the working arrangement, act professionally. Be sure to offer to work for them while they find your replacement. Tell them it is very important to you that you be allowed to say goodbye to the children and keep that goodbye positive. Don't be afraid to ask for a written reference to highlight what did work well about the work you did for them.
Something else struck me about your entry: you mentioned your hourly rate first and I don't see how what you are making is relevant to this situation. To me, calling out the rate was a bid to show that you are being underpaid and somehow justifies your behavior. I have to wonder if your resentment at your earnings has any bearing on your decision to bring a stranger into your employer's home.
Obviously, this discussion won't be the time to ask for a raise, but it is important to pay attention to your feelings on this matter. If you are feeling like you aren't being paid what you and your services are worth, then that will carry over into your daily attitude and approach to your charges.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure people will jump all over me for this, but if I were you I would not tell them. You got the bracelet back in their house. Don't ever let anyone else in their house without their permission.

If I were your boss and you told me "I ran into my roommate while out with Baby and invited her back to your house and then she stole your bracelet but I got it back, here you go, sorry," I would fire you.

bjsbear said...

I would not tell them. You are too new to gave committed that kind of faux pas. Don't do it again. Don't don't cry about your salary.