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to be getting a bit snippy with this woman?

47 replies

TandB · 24/05/2011 13:10

I started typing out the full story of this but it went on for about 10 pages and even I lost interest so very basic summary!

I have been railroaded by one of DS's nursery nurses into giving her son work-experience. She initially wanted me to give him a part-time job and was quite pushy about it but I made it very clear that we don't take unskilled, casual staff like that, so she then nagged me about giving him his school work-experience placement. She basically misrepresented to me what was required and when, and then misrepresented to him what I had and hadn't agreed to, so I finished up with a choice of letting down a very nice 17 year-old lad at quite short notice, or sucking it up and trying to sort something out. I chose the latter.

We are a very small firm and we don't do many work experience placements because the erratic nature of our work means that, all too often, we finish up with a bored teenager sitting in the office getting absolutely nothing out of the experience, while a very hacked-off admin assistant tries to make up things for them to do. We are quite happy to do short placements - 2 or 3 days, or a week with enough notice so that we can arrange it for a time when there is something interesting going on.

All this was explained to her but she still managed to tell her son i had agreed to a 2 week placement at his convenience. So I have finished up with less than 2 weeks notice to try to call in favours from friends at court and among counsel to make sure he has enough to do as I am out of the office for one of those weeks. I have barely been in the office over the last 2 weeks and when I have been, we have had ongoing server problems meaning that I can't print/email.

She has never stopped bloody nagging me about the letter he needs with a full itinerary, despite me explaining the problems I am having and offering to do a handwritten confirmation letter with itinerary to follow. Yesterday I was stuck at court all day and when I got to the nursery she immediately started on me about why I hadn't done the letter that day. I got quite snappy and pointed out that a client in custody does actually have to take priority over the arrangements for work experience, and that she couldn't realistically expect me to leave court to go back to the office and print out a letter for her son. She didn't appear to accept this but just kept going on, quite accusingly, about the school needing to know what was going on. I said I would do it for him today. She kept on about how later I had left it and I eventually pointed out that I would have had a bit more time to sort this out properly if I hadn't been misled about the nature and timing of the placement, or that I might not have agreed at all as the timing is so inconvenient.

She was clearly very cross about this but had to drop it as the nursery assistant manager was getting very interested in the conversation - from a previous comment from the assistant manager, I got the impression she was not at all happy about this staff member asking parents for favours and that I might not be the first person to be pressurised by her.

I feel a bit silly about it now - after all I agreed to do it. I could have been tough and said no, but he is a nice, bright lad and I know what it is like to be a teenager with a pushy relative (my gran in my case!) and I didn't want to let him down. So I know there is no point really saying "well I am not happy about they way you behaved over this" but I was really hacked off with her effectively behaving as though her son's work experience should take priority over my actual work, and as though I am somehow letting her down.

So was I unreasonable to have said something?

OP posts:
aliceliddell · 24/05/2011 16:14

cookcleaner said this too. Why are the pair of you sorting this out when his school has no involvement apparently? Surely it must be the school's responsibility?

TandB · 24/05/2011 16:17

I think the school expect the pupils to arrange it themselves. When I was at school we had to do compulsory work experience but the school would only get involved if someone was still dithering about at the last minute - those people always finished up with the dullest possible placements.

OP posts:
breatheslowly · 24/05/2011 16:23

I think that a certain amount of boredom on work experience is important - there is a monotony to most jobs in one way or another so it should be experienced.

SummerRain · 24/05/2011 16:32

Same with my college.... part of the experiance was applying for it and finding a position yourself (says she who failed to do so and ended up having her mother ring an old friend and arrange it Blush)

olderandwider · 24/05/2011 16:38


I would innocently ask for an enormous quid pro quo from this pushy woman. Find our her skill set and ask her to do something big and inconvenient for you or the nursery. Get her to look after your dog/cat/pet llamas for a fortnight. And provide you with a written report of every meal/walk/sleep/bowel movement. Ask the nursery to lean on her big time to bake 10 dozen themed fairycakes for the next fundraiser.

Don't let her say no to you. Relentless insistence are your watchwords here.

With any luck, she will run away and hide every time she sees you.

olderandwider · 24/05/2011 16:39

(I mean inconvenient for her to do but that will help you/the nursery)

TandB · 24/05/2011 16:46

Now there is an idea. She is Hispanic. I might insist that DS become bilingual within the next 2 weeks.

OP posts:
nijinsky · 24/05/2011 16:49

Been there, done it, and said no thereafter to the friend who thought she was onto a good thing. At least your one is likely to recur. Said friend still cannot work out I've gone off her. Just make the best of it but don't prioritise it before any proper work committments.

I do think such favours should either be reciprocal or at least very, very politely asked for. Otherwise anyone would just get pissed off. Some people seem to think certain professions somehow provide a kind of public service. I've had medic friends say similar, and I get sick of friends of friends that I've met twice phoning me up at 7.3pm on a Sunday evening to ask if I would mind giving them a little bit of legal advice. (The answer from now on is "no" - you can pay for it like anyone else).

stillstanding · 24/05/2011 16:53

No, YANBU but - playing devil's advocate - try to see it from her side. She sounds like she is just really trying to help her DS which is A Good Thing. Going about it in the wrong way obviously and a total pia but do try to be gentle for the lovely DS's sake, especially in the letter if it is important in some way. Sounds like you have made some lovely arrangements for him - far better than anything i ever got which mostly entailed rearranging stationery cupboards. Think of him and the good you are doing him and ignore her as much as you can.

IreneHeron · 24/05/2011 16:56

I used to be that poor sod trying to make up things to do for the work experience person due to the erratic nature of the work. All because my boss felt she had to for various people at her son's/daughter's schools. It sucks. YANBU! Tell them no due to official office policy in future.

WillbeanChariot · 24/05/2011 17:56

I was going to suggest farming him out to do some free clerking but I see you are on that already. On the bright side you will have drawers full of legal aid/case managment forms by the end of the fortnight!

WeirdAcronymNotKnown · 24/05/2011 18:12

TBH, two weeks bored out of his mind in a solicitor's office is probably not a bad introduction to being a solicitor.

I agree. Law is one of those professions that, IME, young people often aspire to for the wrong reasons - the main ones being money and the fact that it looks incredibly glamourous thanks to all the misleading TV shows! Same with forensic science more recently - people think it's all fun and games and exciting murder cases like on CSI Miami. Hmm

Anyway. It's a shame you've said yes really, but you'll know for next time to stand your ground (although I'd be amazed if you ever meet anyone so blatantly pushy as this woman ever again!).

I am really Shock that a member of staff at your nursery is taking the piss like this. Things like that shouldn't be allowed - it is SO unprofessional! She is supposed to be looking after your child, not pulling favours for her own gain. And really Angry at the ingratitude. Just WOW. I gave my nursery a new toy today, and DD's key worker was overwhelmed at the generosity - I know the staff there would never take the piss like this woman is, they are lovely and take their roles seriously. As it should be.

activate · 24/05/2011 18:18

turn round to her tomorrow and say pointedly "I am beginning to feel that this favour is simply not worth it in terms of effort and nagging. Either this is done to my timescale or I simply will not do it."

AppleyEverAfter · 24/05/2011 18:23

YANBU and at 17 years old he should be arranging his own work experience. Tell her from now on you'll communicate with him only. Get his email address and mobile number and if she brings it up again, tell her nothing except 'I'll call your son later'. After all, when he's looking for a real job he won't be communicating through his mum, will he? God, I hope he doesn't anyway!

potoftea · 24/05/2011 19:10

Not much to add here, but just wanted to say well done to you for being so helpful to the 17 year old. It's not his fault his mother is behaving so badly.

As the mother of a 17 year old boy who recently did work experience, I say a big thank you to all the people who put up with these youngsters for a week or two, and try and keep them occupied.

Just tell the mother you are now dealing with the school and the student, and it would be inappropiate for you to discuss the matter further with her.

TandB · 24/05/2011 19:12

I handed her the letter for her son today at pick-up time and she promptly turned it over as though she was going to open it - and looked a bit taken aback at the sellotape sealing it! I just smiled.

It actually wasn't there to make a point - we have a batch of crap envelopes which don't stick so I have got into the habit of taping them.

OP posts:
carabos · 24/05/2011 19:56

kungfu you sound like a very nice person to have gone to these lengths for the benefit of someone you barely know. There is no way I would agree to take a kid on work experience unless it was family or close friend - its a big favour.

Takeresponsibility · 24/05/2011 20:13

If he is a bright young thing perhaps he can fix the printer - and when he is done please send him round here to fix mine.

Abra1d · 24/05/2011 20:19

I really wonder what the point of this work experience is. It seems to be about one set of parents badgering another set. I am dreading it when it comes to my lovely but slightly dreamy teenage boy. What WILL we do with him?

HerHissyness · 24/05/2011 20:30

Just seen it's another Pannda.... oh the excitement! Grin

WeirdAcronymNotKnown · 24/05/2011 22:37

After all, when he's looking for a real job he won't be communicating through his mum, will he? God, I hope he doesn't anyway!

Sadly it does happen! I've seen plenty of references just on MN to parents asking for jobs for their DCs, and even coming along to interviews! Ridiculous.

I do agree that it'd be unfair to punish the teen for his mother's behaviour (in this case - because it has gone too far to turn back now) - however this mother is clearly taking advantage. She knows you won't be cruel to her DS and she is totally taking the piss. How manipulative.

Is this a private nursery BTW? In other words are you paying her to look after your child? I can't get over the fact she's getting away with this with her supervisor. My DD goes to a private nursery and a charity-run preschool, and neither would allow such things. The relationship between staff and parents, while friendly and informal, is purely professional.

Tortoiseonthehalfshell · 25/05/2011 02:13

Well, remember that this woman actually did start off by asking Kungfu for a part time job for the boy - so yes, he will be, apparently.

Actually, now you've said Hispanic, I think this is at least partly cultural. Still annoying.

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