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Nanny problems

10 replies

Marlipan · 27/07/2007 11:32

I work one/two days a week and recently have employed someone to look after my two children aged 3 and 8. She did two great interviews, but after she started it soon became clear that she wasn't the right person for us, and friends at the school - mums and a childminder - have advised that they don't think she is the best person for the job. Nobody dislikes her - she is just scatty and inattentive, but she seems so not into being a childcarer that I don't safe leaving my children with her for long periods of time. I have had childcare problems for a while, because of the very part-time nature of the job, and I have decided to quit work for now as a result. This has been a very short job, about 2 and 1/2 months of 1 day per week, but she would like a reference and I don't feel happy giving one. I do not want to discuss the real reasons why as she is very touchy and has a fiery temper. (and my keys!)Has anyone found a way to deal with this situation tactfully and responsibly?

OP posts:
LeafTurner · 27/07/2007 11:37

I would just agree to give her a ref - but say in it that you have very limited experience of her but can confirm that she did work for you for x days/months etc.

I wouldn't say anything more either in the chat or ref !

squiffy · 27/07/2007 11:45

Dilpomatic thing is to say that you will give them to potential employers directly when asked (ie instead of giving her a signed document to show everyone). If she asks why, then say this way you can always right something specifc to the individual jobs she is going for.

Then, when you reply to a reference, state strating date, leaving date, hours done, duties done and that your children were properly cared for in accordance with your instructions. If she sees it and demand sot know why it is not gushing you can say that in your experience this is now standard: there has been so much litigation that it is now strongly advised NOT to put any opinions in a reference whatsoever (which is true).

If you refuse to give any reference at all she will not get another job of any kind and that isn't fair (not to mention meeting her in a dark alley). It is easy to write lots of stuff like the above without actually saying anything...

Marlipan · 27/07/2007 12:08

Aha! So something like some of the references I got when I checked hers

Seriously, thank you so much for the advice so far. I didn't know about the recommended way to do it.

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eleusis · 27/07/2007 12:52

I agree. Give her a vague generic reference that doesn't say much and put your phone number or e-mail on it for people to contact you directly. Then, tell them verbally what you really think.

Marlipan · 27/07/2007 13:09

Thanks Eluesis. The only thing is, I am torn between obviously wanting to warn people that she may not be the best childcarer, and not wanting to kill off her job prospects completely - especially without her knowing why. (Luckily she has another career path that she loves - it's just not well-paid).I personally would reject out of hand anyone who wasn't child-focussed, and I'm sure most other parents would too. (She hasn't actually done anything specifically dangerous - it's just as a parent I know she is not paying enough attention, IYSWIM.)

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eleusis · 27/07/2007 13:12

If you write something bad and piss her off, she could take you to court if you can't prove it.

Any employer with half a brain know that a reference that says very little is a bad one.

Anyone dumb enough not to pick up the phone and ask you a bunch of questions deserves what they get.

Marlipan · 27/07/2007 13:28

Good points!

What I was thinking before I posted was saying to her "I really like you..." (True)"...but I think you have a big personality ..." (also true )"... and think you may not be everyone's cup of tea." (May or may not mention her tendency to pick arguments with strangers in the street while in charge of the children at this point...)

"Therefore I cannot completely recommend you and would rather you didn't put me down as a referee as I don't want to give a half-hearted reference" (Which, as you say, we all know is a bad one)

Any comments?

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LeafTurner · 27/07/2007 13:30

No - say nothing !!! 'tis much musch safer !!

Ref can be brief and factual - no personal comments or opinions. It will do the job and get her off your back ! Then - you can SAY what you realy want to say when future employers phone you ! Never write it down !

justaphase · 27/07/2007 13:38

Agree with what everybody else said.

I once had to check someones' reference (not a nanny). The letter said "worked for us from x until x in this position. Please call us if you require any further information."

When I called what I was told was "We can not talk to you about this person but this should tell you everything you need to know".

Because technically you are not legally allowed to give negative reference, even in person (hard to prove, I know).

But definitely don't discuss her personality issues face to face with her.

Marlipan · 27/07/2007 13:44

Thanks everyone. I really appreciate the advice.

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