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To ask for your help on how to stand up for myself later?

(201 Posts)
HarrietKettleWasHere Tue 14-Nov-17 12:06:30


Ok so I've deliberately chosen AIBU as I need non-minced words grin

In August I took on a sort of nanny/family PA/housekeeper type role. The parents seemed laid back, lovely....with reasonable expectations.

I'm clearly a crap judge of character. Although the kid I look after is indeed brilliant, no complaints there.

I had a three month probationary period. Due to end last Friday. They've just informed me they'd like to extend it for another three months (i.e. they could still get rid of me with a week's notice and I have no comeback for unfair dismissal etc)

Because, although I'm apparently a fantastic nanny, (way to treat a fantastic nanny confused) I haven't met their expectations in the other departments. They are still stressed on the weekend apparently and finding themselves having to do housework....

They also have a cleaner for 12 hours a week, I put laundry on once a day and the cleaner does it too, loads of other stuff gets taken and picked up from the dry cleaner by me.

I seriously am at a loss to know where this extra work and stres is coming from.

They own about five properties across the city and in the time I've been working for them, two sets of tenants have served notice. That meant advertising for more, finding more, organising viewings, vetting, moving the previous tenants out, organising cleaners, handymen.... I worked two Saturdays to get all this done. So while all this has been going on I'm also expected to keep the house ship shape, do the school run in the afternoon, ferry to after school club, oversee homework, make dinner, get ready for bed....then there's all their other PA stuff like booking flights, theatre tickets, paying for parking tickets, inputting all the expenses in spreadsheets, ordering groceries....

The dad especially is a bit military in his approach to cleanliness and often pulls me up on things like side not polished, dishwasher not switched on/loaded correctly...I used cling film in the fridge which is a big no as apparently we'll all get cancer...

I can't do all this and meet every single need perfectly. Added to this in the school holidays I'm 'just' supposed to be a full time nanny and keep a six year old stimulated (no screen time allowed ever) all day.... so you can imagine how much all the other stuff goes to pot during those times.

Meant to have weekly meetings with the mum- she's never found the time.

So after her just telling me I'm supposed to just continue on probation until they can 'define the role' hmm I have asked for a meeting to discuss, because I do not think I'm being treated very fairly. It's apparently goung to take place at 5pm.

I need to be firm, assertive and not take any shit. Or should I just jack it in (I am very tempted right now to just jack it in but it would seem Ike quitting, I don't have another job lined up obviously but would be fine money wise for a little while as we are staying with a family member and paying nominal rent while we save)

Alittlepotofrosie Tue 14-Nov-17 12:13:13

I hope they're paying you a fortune to be a bloody general maidservant and dogsbody!

Shoxfordian Tue 14-Nov-17 12:13:53

If you're fine to quit then do so..they sound very difficult to work for

CandleLit Tue 14-Nov-17 12:19:29

I would go in prepared with a list of your accomplishments since working there. If they give critical feedback on your performance, ask for specific examples so that you can improve. Go in genuinely interested in how you can improve.

In the meantime, job search like mad because, from what you've written, they sound like they might keep moving the goal posts/be impossible to please. It is easier to find work whilst already employed.

stayathomegardener Tue 14-Nov-17 12:27:07

Good luck for tonight.
In light of what you have said I would be rejecting the new probationary period full stop.
They are lucky to have you.

Henrysmycat Tue 14-Nov-17 12:30:06

What was your job description? Did you have anything in writing? How can you perform if the goal post are constantly moving?
Write down the job description and your responsibilities and make them agree and sign it. You are a nanny with some extra responsibilities, not a dogsbody. and cellophane doesn't cause cancer, their idiocy does. ffs. I had a nanny when DD was young and we had a harmonious relationship.
They could be doing that on purpose to keep you on your toes. horrible way to work btw.

Henrysmycat Tue 14-Nov-17 12:30:38

I would reject the new probation period too.

HarrietKettleWasHere Tue 14-Nov-17 12:33:06

Ah see this is where I'm a bit clueless as I didn't know you could say no to a probationary extension. Although if I do refuse it I suppose that means I'll be let go. They need a housekeeper, after school nanny and a fully separate PA, I think.

Sienna333 Tue 14-Nov-17 12:34:19

They sound awful and I would personally quit. You could be a nanny on the same pay with a much nicer, appreciative family. You deserve better.

Laserbird16 Tue 14-Nov-17 12:36:42

Quit. It is going to be an omnishambles

QuiteChic Tue 14-Nov-17 12:37:27

Are you hours defined - ie you work Monday to Friday 9-5 with an hour for lunch ? If not tell them you want your hours set; and then tell them that in a 10 hour day for example you are capable of doing xy and z, but you cannot be reasonably expected to fit 12 hours work into 10. If the man wants everything perfect then work out how long it will take to do that task perfectly and explain that they need to allocate the correct amount of time. If they want/need their house/s to be cleaner then they need to employ an additional person or their present cleaner for more days.

You might be able to find out from ACAS or a local union office what your rights are over the probation period. I suspect that they cannot extend this and that you are within your rights to expect a months notice if you are paid monthly, but I'm not qualified to tell you that.

HarrietKettleWasHere Tue 14-Nov-17 12:41:43

Hours are 12-7 term time and 8-6 holidays. I'm always answering emails before my start time of 12 though, as obviously with certain things people expect an answer before the afternoon.

I don't have very good self esteem at all but even I can see that I'm just not doing a crap job.

ButchyRestingFace Tue 14-Nov-17 12:42:20

I hope you’re getting paid at least £2,000 pw. They sound like horrors!

Henrysmycat Tue 14-Nov-17 12:44:50

If they need all 3 they need to pay for all 3 and 3 months are long enough. if you are desparate for work, accept what they say and get out of there as soon as you have another job.

Our nanny was looking after DD from 6 months to 6 years. We had clear directions in what we needed and all overtime was paid extra. this was not a 24/7 job. She was covering when we were at work and the odd night out.
The only PA duties she had was receive packages and deal with DD school arrangements like pay for xyz for activities from a certain account she had access.
She offered to cook and clean when our cleaner was away or we were running late but that was a bonus.

HarrietKettleWasHere Tue 14-Nov-17 12:46:00

I wish! I had thought the pay was great at first...before I started and realised what the job actually entailed. I've had no training or handover period either. Outwardly they seem like nice, down to earth people, but they are very successful and I suppose they demand a level of perfection that I'm just never going to reach sad

Ausparent Tue 14-Nov-17 12:52:56

You need to sit down for 10 minutes with a pen and paper.

What do you want out of this meeting? You have aired several grievances here but you need to be very clear on what the priorities are and what needs to change for you to stay in this role.

Decide what your limit is. Would you be wiling to hand in your notice at this meeting? It is fine if you aren't but you need to be clear what your boundaries are before you start the conversation. Then you can be confident and not get blindsided.

I doubt they would find someone else easily to do this role so do not feel that they are doing you a favour by employing you. You do work, they give you money. It is a simple transaction with equal partners on each side. Remember that and don't allow yourself to be made to feel small.

On the probation extension front: Unless it is in your contract that they can extend it, they can only do it with your consent.

If at the end of the meeting they don't want you to continue then they will have to pay you a month's notice as the probationary period has finished. Don't let them get out of that by agreeing to the extension if you think there is a good chance they may just wait and fire you next week to save themselves the cash.

You don't need to be confrontational or aggressive, but you do need to be clear.

Sienna333 Tue 14-Nov-17 12:54:32

Honestly, You sound brilliant and there is a family much more deserving of you.

GothAndTired Tue 14-Nov-17 12:56:20

I'd use the meeting to define a job description. Take some example in, of the role you want to do.

If they cannot agree one with you, then you leave.

Emily7708 Tue 14-Nov-17 12:58:10

I would never normally leave a job without another to go to, but in this instance I would advise you to get out now before your self esteem hits rock bottom.

These people will never be happy, the goalposts will always be moved and you will never get credit for the hard work and effort you put in.

The probation period isn’t just for them to assess you, it’s a two way street where you find out if the job suits you. And they have fallen very short of being decent employers so there’s no quitting or failing involved if you leave.

Can you even imagine the jumping through hoops these people will have you performing in the run up to Christmas?! I bet there will be tons of extra babysitting too.

stayathomegardener Tue 14-Nov-17 13:00:14

The great thing is you are prepared to leave the job, that puts you in a good negotiation situation. I don't imagine they will be expecting that.
See this meeting as an excellent opportunity to define your role and air any issues.

EdmundCleverClogs Tue 14-Nov-17 13:00:46

HarrietKettleWasHere, If the fact is you can lose this job without any long-term consequences, then you have the higher ground here. Think of the 'worst case scenario' in terms of being assertive, I doubt it's that bad (what, they fire you from a job you quite rightly don't like?).

Make a list of all the jobs you do and what you're 'expected' to do. Show how you can't be expected to do A and B if they expect Y and Z to also have your full attention.

Ask exactly where your priorities should lie, one would expect with their child who needs a lot of attention from the sounds of it. I would probably go a step further and say 'when I was asked to help run your home, I didn't think you meant for me to do all the tasks excepted of two home-owning parents, your requests at times are unreasonable for one nanny/person to manage'. I mean they way they're behaving, why don't they just move to one of their other houses and fully give up on being parents and any household tasks what so ever hmm.

I would turn down further probation. I'd say:

'At this time, I feel this job is unsuitable for one person to manage. I have shared my concerns, and will work until Friday. Over the weekend you can decide whether we can find a different work management method from here on in, or we will end the employment mutually'. Either they will agree or they will beg you to stay with positive changes. Win win for you.

HarrietKettleWasHere Tue 14-Nov-17 13:06:55

Ok so I've just checked my contract, and it says

"For the first twelve weeks of employment (induction and trial period) the employment can be terminated with one week's notice and the multi-stage advisory process below need not be followed. After the 12 week trial, if either party wishes to terminate the contact, the notice shall be given as not less than four weeks notice in writing'

This means they can't extend without my agreeing, right?

HarrietKettleWasHere Tue 14-Nov-17 13:09:06

Thabks Edmund, that sounds really good.

I just hope she doesn't cancel the meeting, she usually does.

Pseudousername Tue 14-Nov-17 13:10:24

Where are you OP - in the UK it's difficult to claim unfair dismissal with less than two years service - and they need only give a minimum notice period of one week for the first two years employment anyhow - so a further 3 month probationary period would be neither here nor there really with respect to that.

With regards to your meeting - I think you need a clear, written job description from them and you need to then decide whether or not you are being paid adequately, and want to continue in, that role.

Good luck!

EdmundCleverClogs Tue 14-Nov-17 13:12:25

This means they can't extend without my agreeing, right?

Of course not, though it sounds like you should write a resignation letter now to be honest. You obviously don't have to hand it in if you change your mind, but if it looks like they categorically won't budge on any of your issues then at least you can jump before being pushed.

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