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i'm terrified of 'breaking up' with my host family

(4 Posts)
SammySockMonster Thu 12-Sep-13 13:37:44

hello all, this is a long one- sorry!

i'm currently working as an au pair in germany on my year abroad from university. i have been here 5 weeks and it became clear after the first couple of days that the job i am expected to do here consists of double the hours advertised in their website profile. i have very little privacy, one of the children is the fabled 'demon child' of my English teacher training course seminars, and the parents take out all of their stress on me. deciding i'd given it enough of a chance, i have spent the past week arranging job interviews with new host families, visiting apartments and getting in contact with friends about staying on their couches here while i spend my 'unemployed' time here doing an intensive language course (it's really important to me to be comfortable committing to 4 weeks in one location to do my intensive german class, plus the jobs i'm interviewing for all begin in november).

as my host family don't need me for the first two weeks of october due to school holidays, i was intending to hand in my compulsory 2weeks notice at the end of the week, thereby giving them 4 weeks to search for a replacement au pair or nanny. unfortunately, they suffered the death of a grandparent this morning following a long illness, and they have been vocal about their need and appreciation of extra help during this time. although they make my life very difficult, i know they aren't intentionally doing so and i want to make things as easy as possible for them, particularly the kids. however, i have developed more or less a full-blown anxiety disorder since arriving here and need to get out ASAP for my own sanity. i'm here to learn the language, make friends and discover the city- despite having a lot of experience with children i cannot cope with this situation!

what do i say to my host family? how can i make this situation as easy as possible for all of us?



plantsitter Thu 12-Sep-13 13:45:43

Perhaps wait until next Friday to hand in your notice so they don't get all the bad news at once. Three weeks is plenty of time to find a new au pair and you don't even have to give them the extra week's notice. It's an unfortunate situation but you absolutely have to do what's best for you. You get this particular year abroad exactly once in your life.

LadyHarrietdeSpook Thu 12-Sep-13 13:49:15

Seriously, we're on our fifth AP, i'm a busy working mum yada yada yada but tell these people where to go. honestly. It's your life you're talking about and they will sort themselves out.

Strix Thu 12-Sep-13 15:21:55

Well, they are being unreasonable for sure. But, have you actually sat down and said to them "This contract says A, B, C" and in fact you are not playing by the rules. Have you said "These are the agreed hours, and those are what I am prepared to work"?

If you have this conversation and they react badly (e.g. do not agree to honoring the contractual agreement) then give your contractual notice. You are of course perfectly within your rights to insist the contractual terms are honored. And, if they are not, there is no reason for you to feel bad about resigning.

View this as a business conversation. Be polite, but defend your rights.

And if they are typically unreasonable people, be prepared to look for another place to live PRONTO.

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