Undervalued Nanny Seeks Guidance

  I work for a multimillionaire Hollywood VIP taking care of her 4.5 year old son and infant daughter. Most of the time the mom works at home with lots of sporadic travel. When I first started working for her almost three years ago I was hired as part time right out of college. I quit two years into the job because I just couldn't work under the table for someone who was controlling, stingy and unappreciative. She is nice but only just nice enough. She worked in the house all day but would avoid me while I was there and wouldn't say anything if we crossed paths in the house. Also when she would pay me she would have her toddler son hand me my check or cash. I felt like she was teaching him that I was paid to be there and therefor wasn't really important. Six months after I initially left the job, she offered me a pay raise and taxes paid to return, I hadn't yet found a profitable replacement position, so I came back.
   It's been three and half months since my return and although my employer isn't mean or rude or anything I still feel deeply undervalued. She pays me cash for hours over 40, but pays a lower rate than my actual pay. And still has her son hand it to me. Also there's still no petty cash available and I still often end up getting little things with my own money. The family has never done anything for my birthday which is okay I guess, and they only just found out when my birthday was because they ask me work on Saturday. She then awkwardly asked her son to tell me happy birthday, which he then said "whatever" and walked away. I feel deeply attached to these kids and I make a good wage with this family but I feel like like my self esteem takes a beating working for people who really don't appreciate me at all. And I feel trapped in the house because she also never lets me take the kids anywhere except the park. I don't know where to go from here, any suggestions?


Anonymous said...

And your staying because? You may be an employee however she needs YOU. If your not appreciated start looking elsewhere. We help raise their children and deserve RESPECT why accept anything less? If it wasn't for "us little guys" she wouldn't have that money. Demand respect, proper pay and funds to do the job right. She wanted you back so make it clear what you expect. Do you really think she would let people treat Her that way?

DanishNanny said...

I worked for a family like that once - pay was good and much more than I needed to make ends meet, and the children and I loved each other, but the parents... Especially DB most certainly did not appreciate me. They acted more like I was an animated piece of furniture. Like, DB would come home three hours late, greet his children, not acknowledge me, and then a few minutes later casually add, "oh, you can leave now".
I only lasted six weeks before I found a new position for half the money but with parents who respected me. I was appalled to find out how much the previous family's treatment had affected me, and even now, eight years later, I still shudder at what they did to my self-esteem.
I don't really think you can change people who think like that - that everyone is beneath them - so if you want my opinion, get out of there. Like everyone else, you deserve to be respected and valued.
If you really want to stay, ask the parents (or just MB) for a meeting without children present, explain how you feel while being as respectful to her as possible, and then give it a month or so and see if things change. If not, give up and get out.

Anonymous said...

to answer above, my guess is that she is staying because she won't find better pay elsewhere. Not over the table that is.

Anonymous said...

Perception is key here. With the son handing you your wages, I see that as her teaching the son to say "thank you" and not treating you as a hired hand.

Taking the child on trips -- if she only lets you take the child to the park, that means they have outside help for errands like groceries and dry cleaning, which were our big field trips when I was a nanny. I would suggest you research age appropriate educational or cultural outings and ask her for permission (zoo, special exhibits at children's museum or the library) or play dates (making certain you ask your parents' permission to even extend an invite before you talk to the other child's family/nanny.)

Birthday? My nanny families would buy me a cake and sometimes with a little bonus for a nice dinner out. I've had corporate jobs where birthdays were ignored and I've had corporate jobs where we got cupcakes or bagels. The sentiment is definitely more important than the dollar value.

To me it seems you have a workable and hopefully improvable set-up. I wouldn't walk away until you've tried to work it out with your employer.