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Nanny needs advice on how to handle a situation

(24 Posts)
cinnamondanish Fri 29-May-09 23:28:03

Hey I have a tricky situation and need to get some feedback from the other nannies who use this site.
A few months ago I left my last job. The mother was made redundant but at the same time we weren't on the same wave length and decided it was best to part ways.
She gave me a written reference saying how fabulous I was with the kids, good at my job etc and didn't mention anything about us not clicking.
In all the interviews I have been for since I haven't mentioned any of the problems I had to put up with from her, as it has no relevence to any future families I will work for and has nothing to do with my ability to look after children. When they ask I simply say that you can't get on with everyone and refer to the other references with families I've worked for years for.
I've now found out that she has been bad mouthing me to future families who phone for reference checks. I find this completely unprofessional and really nasty as she has already given me a glowing reference praising how great I was with her children, and any problems between me and her were just a clash of personalities.
So this is the dilemma do I warn any future families I interview for about this previous boss and say that if they call her to take what she says with a pinch of salt, or do I chop her out of my cv completely and say I've been travelling for the past year ?
I've been nannying for 15 years and have never had anything like this before. I've gotten on with all my previous bosses and have never met anyone so spiteful.
Please advise on what you would do.
Thanks

nannyL Fri 29-May-09 23:39:43

my advice is not to lie..

as it is always found out in the end

i think honesty is always the policy....

drinkyourmilk Fri 29-May-09 23:44:14

i would simply not use her as a reference. I've done this once too. If asked why i wasn't using my most recent employers as a refernce then i would say that we hadn't always seen eye to eye and prefer to use other employers. I had been in that position for 18 months though - so it never caused a problem.

navyeyelasH Fri 29-May-09 23:47:25

I agree wit nick. How did you find out what she was doing btw?

NetworkNanniesSurrey Fri 29-May-09 23:57:38

Sorry to hear about your situation.

I would not advise removing the details from your work history as if this was found out it could be grounds for dismisal and then you would be worse off than now because that is two references that you could not use.

Perhaps you should bring it up in conversation with an employer and be honest about it. Show them the reference as it is hard to dispute that it is genuine. At least if they dont accept you, you know you were not misleadng them.

The only other alternative is to contact your previous employer and try to work it out somehow.

Good luck

NN

HarrietTheSpy Sat 30-May-09 09:46:22

Legally she's not allowed to do this. I'm sure that she's only allowed to raise issues etc when she's addressed them with you directly during the time you were employed with her. I would bring her up on it. Others with some legal exp hopefully will be along soon to advise how best to do this.

Squiffy Sat 30-May-09 10:31:15

What is she saying about you, and is it true?

Depending upon what is being said you can certainly take legal action.

Do you have any more information?

nannynick Sat 30-May-09 10:39:51

Can we back track a bit... from how I read it, you left the job... you didn't wait to be made redundant. Is that right?

If that was the case, then the parent could well be telling future employers that you left her employment for various reasons. While in an ideal world the written reference would reflect that but probably concentrated on the positives.

Have you been able to establish some exact things that she is telling people? Are those things just a personality mismatch, or did they effect your work?

Is she able to substantiate those comments... if not, then legal action may be possible, but may not be worthwhile.

As the job was longer than a couple of weeks, don't miss it from your CV. However you could only provide their contact details upon request and only in combination with the written reference and talking with your potential employer with regard to what you know may come up in a verbal discussion.

I would hope that future employers would take into consideration that an ex-employer may be disappointed that a nanny has decided to leave their job - thus that ex-employer may be holding a grudge and say some negative things about their former nanny.

What feedback have you had from agencies regarding this? They will generally be more experienced at reference checking and know when to take things an ex-employer says with a large pinch of salt, especially in situations where the nanny has left the job rather than being made redundant.

cinnamondanish Sat 30-May-09 12:06:32

Thank you so much for all the feed back it's a lot to think about. My boss was made redundant in Feb but they decided they could afford me until the end of April. At the beginning of April we had a major arguement and she decided to give me a months notice, so technically I didn't leave my job.
Since starting with her there had been problems most of which were brushed over as she was busy at work all day but when she was home after being made redundant she nit picked and the fact she was depressed over losing her job and not finding a new one didn't help.
Most of our 'discussions' were to do with her over ruling me with the children and her trying to get one up on me to show me that they liked her more than me. I found it all very petty and didn't rise to it.
I constantly had to remind her she had hired me as a nanny not a mothers help and the fact she wanted me to hover in the back ground until and expected me to wait on her whilst she was at home was not exceptable.
I've found out what she was saying because I'm great friends with one of my previous bosses and she had called because a future mum had concerns about something this woman had said to her.
In the end it all came down to who was in charge and she actually told this future mum that I was a 'control freak'.
As any nanny knows you tread a fine line between doing your job affectively and not pushing mum out completely. I told this new mum in the interview that I believe the mark of a good nanny is that the parents can go to work knowing their children are safe, happy and having fun because they have hired a competent and capable nanny. She has had a bad experience in the past with what she called a 'bossy nanny' so she is very worried that she is going to end up with another one. That's why it really pissed me off (excuse my language) that she was told I was a control freak by this ex employer as it could cost me the job. Yes I set up a routine for the children (which is good and often needed) and as I'm the one home all day we do things that fit in best for me and the children but if any mum did decide to take the day off to spend with her kids I wouldn't freak out and throw a strop at having to cancel our plans.
The only thing now I can do is plead my case if I get a second interview with this mum and hope that my 6 other references and chats with past employers that will count more than this one womans opinion who I only worked with for 6 months.
I bent over backwards to help this old family and often had to change plans to fit in with their schedules, working late at short notice, proxy parenting when they had business trips etc and it really gets to me that she has said all of this. In interviews I just say we had a clash of personalities and you can't get on with everyone, and I think it's more professional to not dwell on past jobs and bring up all your dirty laundry.

NetworkNanniesSurrey Sat 30-May-09 14:20:43

Speaking as someone who runs an agency, i would obviously want a candidate to be up front with me. I check all the references anyway so i would most likely find out about any history. If i had to find out that way i would be very reluctant to place them.

As a parent, i would have to ask the question, if the employer was not happy, why did she give a reference at all? This is a little erratic on her part.

As mentioned by others, if there are any claims that cannot be proved, you might want to speak to a legal professional. Especially if you ar loosing work because of it.

cinnamondanish Sat 30-May-09 15:02:24

Thankyou NetworkNanniesSurrey for your comments. The reference she gave me was full of praise about how good I was with the kids, how much they liked me and how good I was at my job and she left out any personal information as at the end of the day we agreed it wasn't working because of our personality differences. That's why I feel it was such a nasty thing to do and a real kick in the teeth to find out that she was now making it personal and contradicitng things she had said in the reference. As said before I've never told any of the families I've since interviewed for any of the problems I had there I just said we were incompatible and left it at that.
I think I have decided to keep her on my cv and keep the reference but just delete her phone number. The first 2 references I've got are from jobs years ago and I've lost contact with the parents but still include their reference, so I think I'll have to do something similar with hers and if anyone asks I'll just explain how she has been acting and what she's been saying.

nannynick Sat 30-May-09 18:18:58

I am not surprised that potential employers are wanting to talk to your ex-boss. You were there for 6 months and the way you are now describing it you were given notice to leave, contract terminated, fired - whatever you feel happier with. That is how it comes across to me... even if that isn't the case in reality.

You need to keep moving forward... do some temping work whilst looking for something permanent, then you can use those temp jobs as verbal references.

vixma Sun 31-May-09 00:25:53

It is really hard in the current economic situation as a nanny as jobs for both employers and employees are unpredictable which is unfair. Dont use her as a reference as she seems really down which is not your fault. Hope all goes well, all the best.

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Sun 31-May-09 00:44:10

I'd just be honest with any prospective family, give them some other references. People are normally alot more understanding then you think.

cinnamondanish Sun 31-May-09 01:19:14

thanks guys he will speak to the mum tomorrow and see what her decision is.

AUBINA Sun 31-May-09 12:26:17

A friend of mine was in this situation but when her previous employer critised her to a prospective employer, the prospective employer asked for the comments to be put in writing. If the person isn't willing to put something into writing, then that causes doubt over the validity of what they are saying.

MatNanPlus Sun 31-May-09 12:38:37

I have this from a former Maternity Family i have worked for, i have just removed her phone number from my record but not her name and address.

On the plus side, she has gone thru so many Maternity Nurses in her 2 post birth periods and has used and abused so many agencies that when i mention her name or they see her name on my Job History they are in no way surprised that is was not a pleasent experience.

Do not hide her job and be honest with prospective families.

lobsters Sun 31-May-09 21:27:06

Not sure if my perspective would help, but I'm in the process of interviewing nannies myself. In this situation, I would be very wary of anyone not allowing me to speak to their most recent employer. I would however listen to what your had to say about them, I'd also listen to what they had to say about you and then weigh up the balance of possibilites and make my own mind up on it. If there was an issue it would depend on whether it was an issue I felt strongly about as to whether it affected my decision, in this case you might be unlucky with one employer who is concerned about "bossy nannies" but another might not care at all. But overall I would be most unlikely to hire someone who didn't let me speak to the most recent employer.

poppy34 Sun 31-May-09 21:38:20

speaking as an employer, I'm with lobsters -its better to tell the truth and see how it goes. To be honest , there is a degree of subjectiveness in hiring a nanny so you have to hope all the other good things you have going for you/cheimisty outweigh things. A sympathetic employer will be able to make a call on whether she goes with the balance of references (incl the written one -I'm with whoever said why did she give a good written ref if she was unhappy).

The "bossy nanny"thing though is not to be dismissed - at the end of the day you are hiring someone to do something very important (looking after your children) -as you seem rightly to have picked up in your response. That requires a degree of sensitivity in biting your tongue/going against your instincts if what parents want goes contrary to your instinct. I have a degree of sympathy on this point as I think it would be one of the quickest reasons why I would get rid of a nanny .

although I think nannynick probably has a better suggestion about the best way forward if this reference really is going to be a problem.

poppy34 Sun 31-May-09 21:38:22

speaking as an employer, I'm with lobsters -its better to tell the truth and see how it goes. To be honest , there is a degree of subjectiveness in hiring a nanny so you have to hope all the other good things you have going for you/cheimisty outweigh things. A sympathetic employer will be able to make a call on whether she goes with the balance of references (incl the written one -I'm with whoever said why did she give a good written ref if she was unhappy).

The "bossy nanny"thing though is not to be dismissed - at the end of the day you are hiring someone to do something very important (looking after your children) -as you seem rightly to have picked up in your response. That requires a degree of sensitivity in biting your tongue/going against your instincts if what parents want goes contrary to your instinct. I have a degree of sympathy on this point as I think it would be one of the quickest reasons why I would get rid of a nanny .

although I think nannynick probably has a better suggestion about the best way forward if this reference really is going to be a problem.

cinnamondanish Sun 31-May-09 22:32:52

Again thanks for all your advice. I'm pleased to report that I got the job and the mum took the advice and references of my other bosses who I worked for for longer, and listened to my last boss but took what she said with a pinch of salt. She got a feeling from me at the interview and the glowing references just backed up what she original thought and wasn't swayed by the negative comments.
For the future though I'm going to chop her phone number off the reference as I won't need it anymore.

nannynick Sun 31-May-09 23:27:13

Good to hear that outcome... plus that at the end of the day, the mum who interviewed you decided for herself that you would be suited for the job she is offering.

Well done on getting the job... now keep looking forward.

NetworkNanniesSurrey Mon 01-Jun-09 17:29:25

Glad to hear that you got the job! Move on and keep building on the good relationship you seem to have kicked off with.

Best of luck for the future.

thebody Mon 01-Jun-09 19:07:19

best of luck to you.. what a bitch she sounds.

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