Thursday, May 7, 2009

How do you know when the writing is on the wall?

Jobs end for lots of reasons. They don't always have to be bad reasons.
Some are happy reasons.
If the nanny decides to have a child of her own,
or if the nanny gets married and moves away those can be happy reasons.
But the most common reasons that jobs end are:
*Children grow up.
*Some parents just don’t see the need for a full time nanny once their children are in pre school and often times pre-schools offer extended care.
*Parents lose their job and have to downsize
*Parents find alternative care that is cheaper
*Nanny finds a job that pays more
*Parent and nanny no longer agree on lots of issues

If you are on the fence about leaving your job you might want to make a list of the pros and cons of your job. Give each pro or con a point value and see which side has the most value to you. This can be a helpful tool in making your decision. Sometimes it's sort of like counting your blessings, we often take the best things for granted.

If you ask nannies who either left jobs by mutual consent or left jobs that they have outgrown, they will often tell you that they saw the signs, they just did not want to believe that their job was coming to an end.
If you are unhappy in your job, the chances are great that your employer is also unhappy.Over the years I have advised countless nannies in person or via the internet about problems they are having on their jobs. The first question I ask them, is if they have talked to their employers, they always answer NO.

Being a parenting partner in a family is very much like any relationship.
Relationships can not grow, they can not solidify, nor can they survive if you do not have good communication.
There are lots of ways to communicate: Daily logs, phone calls, weekly meetings, monthly dinners, email or a combination of these. The bottom line is that if you are not using any of these, you can’t expect your job to last long term.
More than once I have talked to nannies who say they are unhappy in their jobs. Once they decide to start looking for a new job on the internet, they are completely SHOCKED to find their job being advertised online.

So, to better prepare yourself, it is smart for you to know what the warning signs are that a job is coming to an end.
How do you know when the writing is on the wall?

What are the signals that it is time to move on?
I solicited feedback from nannies online asking them the signs that it was time for a nanny to move on.

The number one response to that question was:
1.When you stop communicating
I could type all day on just this one topic but the bottom line is that this is a relationship and when you don’t communicate there is no relationship.
When there is no relationship….soon there will be no job.

2.When the parents stop trying to be respectful or accommodating to your needs. As a nanny you have the right to a life beyond your work. In fact, you will be a better rounded nanny if you have a life beyond your work. Do not allow your employer to diminish the importance of your life over theirs. You have the right to be sick, the right to go to the dentist and Dr. and the right to take care of yourself.

3. When the parents start to take on responsibilities that used to be yours.

4. When everything is an issue .

5. When everything is an issue for “you”.

6.When the parents don’t back you up even after a discussion on the importance of doing so. You tell your charge no TV while eating breakfast but you walk in every morning to the TV on and the kids eating breakfast in front of it.

7. Your paycheck bounces

8. Lack of respect

9. Your employer belittles you in front of others

10. Parents correct you in front of the children.

11. Parents disagree with everything you say

12. When you start the day and wish it was already over.

13. When you dread going to work.

14. When the parents stop responding enthusiastically to plans you have made or things you have done.

15. When your employer asks you to return all credit cards etc. in an effort to use only cash to better track expenses

16. You stop having regular meetings

17. You feel like you are walking on eggshells.

18. The children have outgrown your level of expertise.

When you are unhappy in your job…..Your employer is probably unhappy with you.
If the writing is on the wall, you need to read it and heed it.
If you don’t, you might find that your employers will make that decision for you.
It is much better for you to choose to leave, than to be told the job is over.
When it is your decision, it is still difficult, but you will feel more in control having made the decision than having the decision made for you

Monday, May 4, 2009

You can find books about being a nanny,what a nanny needs to know, how to put together your portfolio,how to interview a family and what you need to put in a work agreement, but you can’t find a book that tells a nanny how to heal her broken heart when she either outgrows or her job , or the job ends.
The subject of leaving a family, and the grief that follows, is a topic that very few nannies or parents have a desire to talk about.
There are many things that make our profession unique but the one thing that sets it apart from all the rest is the fact that we come into a family, we play an integral part of loving and caring for, and helping to raise their children, and our reward for a job well done is to move on.
I once heard someone say that a nanny comes when you think you need her least, and leaves when you need her most. There is a truthful irony about nannies which is:
If we do our job and do it well, we work ourselves out of a job. No matter how hard you work, or how well you do your job, it is inevitable that your job will come to an end.
As nannies it is our job to teach the children in our care not to need us.
Our challenge is to convince ourselves that we don’t need them.