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How and what do I tell them?

(18 Posts)
BestestBrownies Wed 26-Mar-14 00:07:56

I'm a live-in Nanny and have been with my present family for almost 16 months. Initially I agreed to work for them for 2 years, although we have never had a written contract (despite my repeated requests for one).

To cut a long story short, the parents behave like they own me. I am a grown woman of 36 years and have over 13 years experience as a Nanny, but they seem to think that because I live under their roof that gives them the right to treat me like their property. My privacy is not respected and they expect me to divulge to them details of my private life and how I choose to spend every minute of my free time. I feel 'watched' constantly.

I can't take it anymore. I have been telling myself to stick it out until the agreed 2 years are up both for the money (I earn tax-free abroad), and the reference (which is essential for my next position), but I worry that I am beginning to get depressed and stressed and it's just not worth sacrificing my mental health for the sake of money.

They are perfectly happy. I do an excellent job of looking after their children, have turned around their behaviour/manners and drastically improved their English ability and school grades. The children love me very much and I am sure the parents will be angry/annoyed that I want to leave as it will be inconvenient for them to replace me and will obviously upset the children.

How do I get out of this job/situation whilst maintaining an amicable relationship with the parents and obtaining a good reference? What reason/excuse can I give for leaving? I don't want to lie and claim family emergency or sick relative back home as I don't like to tempt fate.

I took this job immediately after leaving my very controlling, manipulative ex husband. It was supposed to be a new country, fresh start etc. but I feel as though I'm in exactly the same environment/relationship albeit employer-employee rather than romantic.

I am a very professional person and will give them 2 months notice, but what do I say?

Please help. I am so desperate to leave but I can't jeopardise my career.

happydazed Wed 26-Mar-14 04:03:28

sorry you are so unhappy. do you think the parents are aware how you feel? have you tried listing your concerns and properly talking to them about it. sounds like you are a great nanny and I would imagine the parents would want to keep you. Could they have just grown too familiar and started taking you for granted. If you have spoken to them how have they responded.

bbkl Wed 26-Mar-14 09:41:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BestestBrownies Wed 26-Mar-14 11:04:44

Hi happydazed, thanks for responding.

They are aware that I'm unhappy, yes. I mentioned recently that I'm struggling to make friends and a life for myself here (new city, new language etc), and the response was a shrug and "Well, you're here to work."

When they ask for details of my private life and my movements during my free time, I just brush off their questions with statements like "Not sure yet", "Just relaxing" etc. But they still ask, and when I once stayed out overnight (on my night off), I was given the third degree by the father the following morning.

Anyway, I could continue to list all the genuine reasons why I want to leave, but I can't use any of them as reasons to tell the family. They don't think their behaviour is unreasonable, and I have to get a good reference from them in order to secure my next position. This is what I need help with.

Can anyone think of a good inoffensive reason to give them?

mistlethrush Wed 26-Mar-14 11:08:14

'My mum(/insert any other relation here) needs me to be in the same country because....'

'I'm missing x country'

Impatientismymiddlename Wed 26-Mar-14 11:10:21

If you want to be honest You can tell them that your health is suffering at the moment and you need to take some time out. That way you have been truthful without telling them that they are the source of your ill health.
I don't think you should stick out the two years if it is making you unhappy.

Would it be possible for you to live elsewhere and still be their nanny? Would they agree to pay you more so that you can afford to be a live-out nanny? You could tell them that you need some time to sort your health issues out but want to continue being their nanny on a live-out basis, which will give you the time and space that you need to get healthy whilst still carrying out your role to the high standard that you always have. That way if they agree that it can't work on that basis they will know that you tried to compromise.

BestestBrownies Wed 26-Mar-14 11:13:59

Hi bbkl, thanks for your message.

I know what you're implying wrt different culural norms. I grew up in the Middle East in a Muslim country, but I'm working in Europe. The few friends I do have here (who are locals), are horrified by the things I tell them and agree that the family are ridiculously controlling and manipulative.

Yes, the best excuse I can come up with is that I don't like the City and haven't settled, but as I mentioned just now, I doubt they will view that reason as 'good enough' to leave.

bbkl Wed 26-Mar-14 11:18:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bbkl Wed 26-Mar-14 11:23:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BestestBrownies Wed 26-Mar-14 12:29:47

Thanks for your messages mistlethrush and Impatient. Sorry I'm slow to respond as I'm using my phone.

It's a good suggestion, but there's no way they would agree to me being live-out and paying more. I am employed for their convenience. I honestly don't think they view me as having the same human needs they themselves do. I'm simply a service to them.

bbkl - I do have excellent references from previous employers, all of whom remain my friends, send me updates about the children etc. I've never had an experience like this before. My agency have told me that I have to get a good reference from this family for continuity. Also, I've done a bloody good job and I don't deserve to be punished just because my desire to leave causes them some temporary inconvenience.

Oops! Sorry! I was starting to get a bit ranty there! I think I will have to go with the line that I'm not happy in the country and I don't see a long-term future there for myself. You're absolutely right that it's not up to them to decide if my reason is good enough or not.

Thanks everyone smile

MellowAutumn Wed 26-Mar-14 19:46:21

Lie - make it a good one but lie - you are not tempting fate or anything, you are exiting a difficult situation that is not of your making and is probably not 'solvable' by normal professional standards.

NomDeClavier Wed 26-Mar-14 20:01:43

Did you get this job through your agency? Then get them involved.

I agree that cultural norms don't necessarily apply to references and you will need to prepare future employers carefully.

Even within cultures the norms of how 'controlling' the employer of a live in nanny can be vary hugely. I have friends here whose boundaries very wildly even between them, all from the same country and similar backgrounds. And none of them seen to have the same attitude that I would be used to in the UK!

Perhaps further study which can only be pursued in X country would be a reason to move?

Mimishimi Wed 26-Mar-14 20:36:12

Is their intrusive behaviour only questions or do they invade your personal space too (room etc)? If it's the former, can't you just say that you think it's inappropriate for them to ask that and repeat as necessary until they get the message? I do think they have a right to 'watch' you though because they are entrusting you with their children. Perhaps they've been burned in the past.

NannyLouise29 Wed 26-Mar-14 21:09:42

Agencies understand that communication between families and nannies can breakdown, and usually verifying the dates you were there is enough. Especially if you have previous good references. The agency should prepare the families you interview with that your last post didn't end well, but to your credit you were there for 16 months. The stock phrase agents use is "personality clash" when we all know that some families are just plain crazy!

The continuity thing is only valid if you've had a string of short term jobs that didn't end particularly well. This then shows that the problem might be you, and you are trying hard to prove otherwise.

No reason will be good enough for this family, I'd be amazed if they let you work your notice (then you could be free of them sooner!) smile

Blondeshavemorefun Thu 27-Mar-14 10:27:42

so the main problem is that they ask too much about your private life/what you do in your spare time and if you stay out the night they 3rd degree you

if all this stopped would you be happy

or it is also he fact you havent met people/find language hard

how did you get this job? if an agency can you speak to them?

in the end your health is more important then a job, and if you are that unhappy then you need to leave

2mths notice is a long time if you live in and think parents wont be happy, tho tbh most parents arent hapy if the nanny hands in their notice

you say you have no contract, thats illegal for starters as you have been there for over 2 mths, so a month should be fine and professional

be warned tho, once you hand your notice in, they may tell you to go asap, so make sure you have enough money to get a flight home/put on credit card etc if suddenly need a place to stay for a few nights if cant get a flight that day

willtheyeverusethepotty Sun 30-Mar-14 21:58:16

Hi OP.

I'm appalled at how bad are your employers treating you.

I'm not in the UK, and my nanny is not from the same country where Im from, but I NEVER asks her anything about her free time. To be honest, I don't want to know. To me it is important that she is here when she needs to be and that she does what she is expected to do during working hours. Full stop.

As for your excuse, I don't think you need to give a lot of details. Just say that for personal reasons (health if you want to elaborate a bit more?) you need to go back to the UK.

Good luck to you, you do seem like a very good professional, it's a pity that you ended up with a family like that!

Marylou62 Mon 31-Mar-14 08:20:54

I second posters who say make sure you have enough money for flight home etc. I was a nanny in Athens and handed my notice in as was very unhappy with lots of things. They then chucked me out there and then! Literally threw me and my bags out. (I then proceeded to have a lovely time working in a bar! )

BoomCakesNation Fri 04-Apr-14 19:45:18

Hi OP,

I work for an agency and as NannyLouise29 pointed out, we are fully aware that sometimes positions do not work out, and as long as you have other excellent references / do not bad mouth your current family this should not be a problem if you end up really unable to obtain a reference.

I would suggest being honest to a degree and letting them know that you are not comfortable in the position / country and do not think it is the right fit for you but are happy to help them with finding a replacement etc

If possible try and get a written reference before you leave - even if just a few lines, or ask them if they can provide a reference for you verbally. However it's best to do this after the initial shock / disappointment has worn off.

It would also be a good idea to let any agencies know the full story so they can prepare families without putting their foot in it, and also means they can use other references more towards prospective families.

Hope everything goes well for you and you find a fantastic new role smile

p.s 16 months is not the longest of positions but if families are aware you were really not happy they will be impressed with your attitude and loyalty - speaking from experience!

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