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in my assessment of whether our ex nanny is being reasonable in her expectations in life?

68 replies

confuseduntildinnertime · 05/07/2017 18:11

We live in central London. She was with us for 18 months. Her English was okay, but her accent was very thick. She was a 40 year old Ghanian woman and she also spoke french. Thick accent in French too, apparently. But regardless I think she's amazing for speaking more than one language as I can't. (accent thing is relevant btw, not just me being a cow..)

She told us after a while that she wanted to work as a PA and not with children anymore. As we considered her part of our family we gave her time off to search for a job, and we even introduced her to a few other people who might have a PA job to offer (actual companies.) We continued paying her full-time salary throughout this, even though she was only working three days a week while she looked for another job.

Everybody (who we introduced her to) said that neither her English nor her french was clear enough to take on such a communicative role in an English-language or French-language speaking company. They all also said she had no previous experience as a PA, and should gain some experience before applying again. All these companies were in central london.

We suggested to her that she becomes our nanny and our PA combined , gets some experience and moves on later. She said she didn't want to do that, she wanted to work in the office of a central London company, she wouldn't accept to move somewhere else in England. She said that she would resign and job-hunt without having to look after the DC during office hours.

We said, okay, bought her a present and wished her well. We kept in touch and saw her a few times socially where she said hi to the DC. She emailed us a lot after she left asking if we could introduce her to more companies to be their PA, but we had exhausted the people we knew so couldn't help her. She didn't seem to understand why we couldn't be the answer to her problems.

It's been a year now, and she has done lots of work experience in offices, but she doesn't have a job. And she hasn't had a salary since we last paid her, apart from some babysitting and overnighting she is doing in people's homes as a childcarer on - and she is on benefits.

We have since found a new nanny and are very happy with her. But ex-Nanny has now come back saying she feels really desperate and really needs our help and her job back in order to pay her rent, but still maintains she wants to work as a PA eventually.

I feel quite torn because I am all for people holding on to their dreams and working towards them. She and I are the same age, so there is a lot of me imagining myself in her situation and knowing that if I tried to get a job as PA in central London now (I currently work for myself) after having 3DC, then I'd probably be having trouble too.

But I'm also aware of my own privilege. Being married and having two salaries, being white, being in the country I was lucky enough to be born in and only having to speak my mother tongue. So there is a side of me which is tempted to send her some money, or offer her some work as a PA to DH and I (we both work from home) to help get her to where she needs to be.

The other side of me feels that she has acted quite entitled and that her expectations are out of whack with reality?

OP posts:
erinaceus · 05/07/2017 18:55

What is it about being a PA that she wants? Is she clear about this?

AcrossthePond55 · 05/07/2017 18:57

No. I wouldn't rehire any employee who has made it clear that they don't plan to stay long term. She obviously sees the nanny gig as a stop-gap and would be wanting time to job hunt and would be off in a shot if something more in line with what she wants should open up.

sadsquid · 05/07/2017 19:00

No, YANBU, that's way above and beyond what anyone could expect from you. You had a good go at helping to boost her up the ladder. She's a grown woman who has made her own decisions. You can't just bin your great new nanny because those decisions turned out badly. I speak okay French but there's no way in hell I would put myself forward for a PA job in some swish firm in Paris. I'm not up to it, nor by the sound of it is she.

The unrealistic expectations might be a culture gap thing, or maybe she's just extraordinarily optimistic. Maybe she's not getting chances she actually does deserve because people would rather employ a white woman with a native British accent. But you can't single-handedly defeat systematic racism for her, and it wouldn't be fair on your new nanny - or you and your kids either, to keep chopping and changing to suit her whims. If she needs a nanny job to pay her rent, she can look for one with someone else and you will give her a glowing reference. If she can't get a PA job, she needs to figure out another way to support herself. Not you.

provider5sectorzz9 · 05/07/2017 19:00

You did your best for her and she ignored your advice
I'd say she has burned her bridge

toffeeboffin · 05/07/2017 19:01

Keep the new nanny.
You've done enough.
She's taking the piss.

Saiman · 05/07/2017 19:02

If you needed a PA surely you would have one already?

Why would you pay someone to do a jpb for that you dont need?

I honestly dont get the privilege stuff. This has nothing to do with it. Ahe is taking thebpiss out of you. She cant get a job because she doesnt have the skills.

NellieBuff · 05/07/2017 19:03

This is a suggestion but she would need to leave central London. Our University has a pool of temp staff and offer all sorts of assignments within the University. Clerical, admin and PA posts are always available. What she could do is complete several admin posts and work her way up to a PA post. We have a very international staff and her accent would not be such an issue here. But she would need to be prepared to start at the bottom and work her way up.

This may or may not be useful but is a suggestion.

sadsquid · 05/07/2017 19:05

Just realised you were more thinking of sending her money or taking her on as PA rather than back as a nanny, sorry. I still think it's a bloody big ask though. Unless her communication has improved significantly, the PA idea is a non-starter, so nothing much you can do is going to get her there. She does need to realise that most people in the UK can't afford to live in London - I feel for her but it's not extraordinary that she's struggling.

RiotAndAlarum · 05/07/2017 19:07

I wonder if she expects so much of you because you kept her on full salary for three days a week, because you didn't seek to replace her (as childcare) when she told you she wanted out, but instead introduced her to various possible employers.

Did you spell out to her at any time that your help would be finite? She may believe, based on your generosity so far, that you will continue to help her. After all, she's not had any PA jobs on her own merit, nor was she working full time for the fulltime nanny salary that you were paying her.

RaeSkywalker · 05/07/2017 19:09

I think you've been very kind and done more than enough.

RideOn · 05/07/2017 19:09

I don't think she is being reasonable. Really the way she has gone about this whole thing doesnt inspire me in her PA skills.

Helping you/you paying her won't get her that much forward, you won't be like a "real" employer as you are fond of her. Also maybe she needs to look for something else, I think people can follow their dream for too long, unless she is enjoying life striving for this dream (which it doesnt sound particularly like she is).

lemureyes · 05/07/2017 19:09

Keep the new nanny.
You have been so kind as to try and help her and now she is taking the piss.

TroubleinDaFamily · 05/07/2017 19:11

Is this a MN first........everyone agrees with the OP. Grin

Monkeyface26 · 05/07/2017 19:13

With the best will in the world, I just don't think you can help. Unless she is taking responsibility for having made some over-optimistic choices and unless she is acknowledging realistically the required areas of professional and self-improvement, then you have no reason to suppose that the situation will, or can, move on.
If a year of not achieving her aims had not brought about a period of introspection & a new degree of realism & self-knowledge, then I doubt any help you could offer would bear fruit for her.

pasturesgreen · 05/07/2017 19:17

God in heaven, no!

Not your circus, not your monkeys.

You've already done more than most would have, certainly don't send her any money.

WankYouForTheMusic · 05/07/2017 19:19

If you simply want to use your white privilege to assist someone more fortunate, an English speaker with the legal right to live in the UK and recourse to the benefits system is not the most obvious initial candidate.

You clearly can't boot your current nanny, not least when you know she's not planning to hang around any longer than she has to. If you do actually want a temp PA, then by all means give your friend a few weeks work to get some experience. It might be nicer than having someone you don't know and who isn't familiar with how you and your family operate. But otherwise, you've been very kind already, so just give her an excellent reference.

OlennasWimple · 05/07/2017 19:22

On what grounds would you sack your current nanny?

You need to get over the liberal guilt that you are feeling. You have done nothing wrong, and it's not your problem to fix

PhilODox · 05/07/2017 19:23

Is this maybe a cultural thing? In some places, people you knew w are the ones who get you into jobs, perhaps that's just the system she knows?
I think you need to gently explain that's not how it works here.

SomeOtherFuckers · 05/07/2017 19:25

I speak perfect English ( I actually have a BA and a postgraduate degree in English) , have office experience and events planning experience and I can't even get a PA job in central London !

WankYouForTheMusic · 05/07/2017 19:28

They don't actually need grounds to terminate current nanny's employment olenna, as it's in the first two years. You don't acquire full employment rights until that point. She'd only have a case against them if it were due to a protected characteristic such as sex, ethnicity, sexuality etc (so actually with that in mind, I certainly wouldn't be mentioning replacement nanny's ethnic and national background as a consideration, unless she's Black Ghanaian too of course).

That's not to say it's a good idea, just that they could do it.

SaveMeBarry · 05/07/2017 19:29

Another coming on to say you've already done over and above. You're not responsible for finding work opportunities for this woman and shouldn't feel bad about saying you can't help more than you already have done.

As to whether her expectations are out of whack with reality, well on one hand I'm inclined to say she has goals/aspirations and good for her. Of course, she's pushing it asking you for her old job back while at the same time making it clear she'll only do it as long as it suits her! Possibly seeing you as a bit of a soft touch?

KitKat1985 · 05/07/2017 19:30

No you've done more than enough for her. She chose to leave her position without having a job to go to, (even though she had it incredibly cushy what with working part-time for full-time pay) and that's for her to sort out if it's now backfired on her.


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Inertia · 05/07/2017 19:35

Your first responsibility is to your children. Ex-nanny has made it clear that she will drop you if offered PA work; apart from anything else, your children need a degree of stability in their childcare arrangements.

ThatsNotMyMarmot · 05/07/2017 19:36

But but....if you had her back as a nanny, it's clear her heart wouldn't be in it anyway. You've gone above and beyond already OP.

thegirlupnorth · 05/07/2017 19:39

Old nanny is taking the piss, steer well clear.

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