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I need advice about my job.


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Hey guys.


Well for those of you who remember, I got a new nanny job in January. Where I live we've had a totally mild winter, but as usual...the spring comes with a blizzard.


The snow started this morning and wasn't bad, so I went to work as usual on time. My boss called the house from her work about an hour later and said it was getting a lot worse so she was coming home. I made it home safely before the roads got too bad, but now there's about a foot and a half of snow outside my house. My car is buried and the roads are just awful.


My boss and I said we'd stay in touch through till tonight to figure out what would happen tomorrow because we weren't sure how bad the roads would look. She finally called and gave me a lot of mixed attitude. She was saying that she wouldn't be pissed if I didn't come tomorrow, but that if it snows again next week, even if its as bad as this and I have to leave 3 hours early to get there, then that's what I need to do.


I'm not trying to say that I'm an irresponsible person and want to skip out on work, but I feel disrespected when I really go above and beyond for them while I'm there. I just feel bad about this because in 4 months, I have only completely missed one day of work. I am supposed to get 5 paid days off of my choice (along with some holidays and time chosen by them) but I wasn't told that I could only pick days that were convenient for them. Doesn't that defeat the purpose? I've seen on more than one occasion now that her job is flexible enough for her to work from home if needed.


The couple times I've shown up not feeling well, or having a bad day in general, or been late due to accidents on the highway or things I didn't forsee, I've been lectured for 30 minutes about it. And now this. She keeps telling me "I can't have this, I can't have this".


Is my only option to risk losing my job, or risk driving in dangerous conditions? It freaks me out because in this economy no one can afford to be jobless. And to add insult to injury, it's not like I make anywhere near what I think I should. I make a weekly salary for 45 hours, and no one I know would work for the amount that it ends up being hourly.



Any advice is appreciated.

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Sounds like you need to sit down with her and come up with mutually agreeable guidelines.

I can see her side of things, because if she needs you there at a certain time so that she can get to her job in time,

then it's really important and YOUR responsibility that you do everything in your power to leave extra early... even if it means arriving a bit before you're needed.


It may seem like a pain in the butt, but it's not really fair for you to make assumptions about when she can/cannot work from home.

(Unfair, I know, but them's the breaks.)


However, she does need to be a bit more understanding-- the same as she'd expect from her own employer!

If she got to go home early because the roads were so bad, it is ridiculous that she would expect you to drive those same dangerous roads!


You should be entitled to days off for 'acts of god'; blizzards, sick days, and the like, because any sane employer would grant these things.

(Who wants a sick person spreading germs to their kids, anyway???)

Other than that, though, it makes sense that when you need to claim any other days off, that you declare this at least 1-to-2 weeks in advance,

allowing her ample time to make the arrangements necessary so that she can do her job.


BUT first things first


I think that you should go ahead and bend over this last time (if it's safe to do so, that is).

Do everything in your power to get to your job on time.

If you have a friend with 4-wheel drive/chains, then see if they'd be willing to help (offer gas money, coffee, or what have you) to get you to/from work today.


Otherwise, if this is an impossibility, then stand your grounds.

Call her a.s.a.p.; either tonight, or first thing in the morning


(set your alarm for extra early, so that you know you'll have those 3-4 hours to get there if that's what it would take).

Let her know immediately if the roads have not been cleared, and let her know that it is just impossible for you to drive, and

that you've tried sourcing alternative transportation, and have come up empty handed.

Provide her with alternatives:


A). She can pick you up, and drop you off.

Offer her gas money (you would have had to pay to drive yourself, anyway, so be courteous about this).

B). She can help you source some other mode of transportation.

C). She can drop off/pick up her children from yours for the day.


And lastly, if her car is not safe in that weather, either, then don't risk your lives; make it clear that you do not think it's wise for her children's welfare for either of you to be on the road in such conditions!


Once the arrangements have been made, make it a point to let her know (preferably before she leaves for work) that you'll need to talk with her about coming up with some game plans

so that you both are better prepared to deal with any such future emergencies.

Suggest that you have the discussion when she comes home, so that she can use the extra time in the morning to get herself to work.

(If it's your friend picking you up, see if they can pick you up a bit later, allowing for an extra half-hour or so at the end of the day to do this).


When you have this conversation

Be calm, rational, and professional.

Do not get defensive or whiny if she starts to challenge reasonable requests.

Stand your ground, yet listen to her concerns, and be open to suggestion/negotiation.


Make it clear to her that you care about your job, and her children.

Remind her that you have been committed and dependable.


Point out that sometimes there are things that neither of you have control over, and that

you need to discuss game plans for how best to make these situations work out in the best interest for all parties involved.


This is where you can come up with how to deal with snow days.

Some suggestions are: negotiating transportation, and coming up with alternatives.


If there is a degree of foreseeability in some of these circumstances, there may be need for creative approach.


For example, if there are severe weather forecast scheduled in advance, and the snow has already started,

then consider giving her the option to have you stay overnight prior to the snow day, (and until the point at which the roads are clear),

on the agreement that you will be allowed a certain amount of overtime pay.

The amount of overtime pay and the terms for the work involved during any overtime hours should be discussed between you, and agreed upon in advance.


Another suggestible guideline would be:

Should you be required to stay overnight for one night, and the next day the roads clear enough for her to drive,

but are not yet good enough for you to drive your car, then she will need to be in charge of transportation.

Make it clear that in such situations you will gladly reimburse her for the gas money (and perhaps offer a few notes extra for the effort).


These are all just examples, but be smart and fair about your handling of the matter.

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Thanks for your advice. I really appreciate the detailed response.


After posting this last night, I had a lot of time to sit and stew. I thought about all the ways I have been treated unfairly and I think if I can't get through to her, it'll be time for a change of plans. I just can't stand being treated like a slave.

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That is ridiculous that she would expect you to drive 3 hours in a blizzard and endanger your life when she can work from home! And frankly, most companies give what they call 'liberal leave' when there are dangerous conditions with driving, because they dont' want to get sued by employees who say they were 'forced' to endanger themselves by the company.


She is being really inconsiderate and selfish and you are not her slave. Sadly, a lot of people who hire nannies do this kind of thing, where they think they 'own' you and any hours they choose to demand of you.


But not everyone is that unfair... I'd start looking for a new position immediately. Frankly, if the person expects that kind of inflexible arrangement, they should be paying a lot more for a live-in nanny rather than trying to coerce you into a situation as if you were a live-in who had to be available regardless of extenuating circumstances.

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Thanks for your advice. I really appreciate the detailed response.


After posting this last night, I had a lot of time to sit and stew. I thought about all the ways I have been treated unfairly and I think if I can't get through to her, it'll be time for a change of plans. I just can't stand being treated like a slave.


Yeah, it's true what BeStrongBeHappy said about a lot of people who hire nannies-- they sometimes seem to forget that you are an employee, rather than a slave.


I think if you can present to her the issues in a reasonable fashion, then if she is a reasonable person she will hopefully see the error in her ways.


However, if she refuses to discuss things in a professional manner,

and makes it clear that she plans to continue to take advantage of you, then definitely start looking for something new, a.s.a.p.


If you do feel the need to resign, were in your shoes, I'd be sure to tell her (even if I needed to bite my lip to be polite), why it is that you've chosen to do so.

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