I'm happy to share another personal story with you all for this week's True Story Tuesday. This story is from the same family responsible for The Stroller. If you haven't read that one yet, go check it out because it's appallingly funny.
So, about a month into starting with this family, they sat me down for a check-in/chat. We had these talks about weekly so I was well versed and experienced with them by this point. So far they all had gone pretty well, and by pretty well I mean, I didn't "fight back" on any of their ridiculous expectations of me. I graciously accepted their constructive criticism and tried my best to make them happy. Sure, they micromanaged me, but I had come to terms with it. I put up with their stroller antics among many other things because I was paid well. I kept telling myself that no job was perfect so I just needed to suck it up. But this chat was different. It was the first time I felt compelled to push back and stand up for myself. I was not okay with what they were saying and what they were expecting of me, so I professionally and calmly let them know. Here's how it went down:
DB (For those who don't know, this is short for Dad Boss): We've been noticing you've been arriving exactly on time.
Okay let's pause for a second. In this moment, I legitimately thought they were about to actually praise me for something. All of our previous chats were about how I needed to be more efficient with the stroller or other little things that I needed to perfect, but finally, they were complimenting me on something. I was so excited.
Me: Yes, I am very punctual. It's something I pride myself on. All my previous families gush about my punctuality when giving a reference.
DB: Well, we want you to start work right at 8am. Not walk in the door at 8am. By the time you walk in the door, take your shoes off, come up the stairs, put your purse down, and wash your hands, it's about 8:03 and we want you on the clock ready to go, fully working, at exactly 8am.
Me: What? My start time is 8am. I'm here at 8am. I quickly slip my shoes off and then put my purse down as I'm walking into the kitchen to get going on the dishes. It's not taking up any time. I'm honestly really taken aback because no one has ever complained about my punctuality before. Again, it's something previous families have appreciated in me, so to hear that being exactly on time is "bad" is very shocking for me.
DB: Well, arriving on time and actually starting work are different. You have to wash your hands. That's you preparing for work. You're not on the clock until your hands are washed.
Me: In all due respect, I have a different view of that. In my job description, you have one of my roles listed as washing my hands as soon as I enter your house. It's your rule, not mine. No other family has required that of me. So, it is my belief that I am working while washing my hands. That is a part of your expectation of me as a nanny, and I am washing them because you've listed it as one of my job roles.
DB: Well, in the food industry, you can't clock in until your apron is on and your hands are washed.
Me: This isn't the food industry.
DB: Well our experience is working in the food industry. I was a manager and oversaw employees and that's how it worked.
Me: Again, this isn't the food industry. I'm your nanny. You've hired me to start work at 8am. You've also listed that one of my duties is to wash my hands upon arrival into your home. Me arriving at 8am, taking my shoes off (also per your request), putting my purse down, and washing my hands is me working.
DB: We are going to need you to arrive a few minutes early each day. We want you here by 7:55am so you can be on the clock at 8am.
Me: Okay, well then I think I need to be compensated for that time. It might not seem like much now, but eventually those 5 minutes will add up to an hour and that's a lot of money to me.
DB: We don't see it like that. Because you won't be working at 7:55am, you will be getting ready for work and will officially start work at 8am.
Friends, I wish this story had a better ending, but that's about where it ends. In that moment I thought of "choose your battles" and decided this battle wasn't worth it. So fine. I would arrive at 7:55am because they didn't understand how the nanny world worked, even after I explained it to them. I wouldn't discuss it any further because I had already made a valid point, and they clearly weren't going to budge. They were so set in their ways. So I sucked it up, and went to work every morning at 7:55am with a good attitude, just like they requested. I want to be clear that I'm not nitpicky or petty -- when I stay 5-15 min late at work, I never charge parents for it, so I don't want that to be the takeaway message. In this scenario it really was the principle of the matter. They were being so nitpicky about everything, so I felt that if we are going to be that nitpicky and calculate every minute, no every second, I was on the clock, then the only fair thing to do was to change my official start time to 7:55am and include it in my pay. With that said, while this wasn't a battle I felt like fighting, there would be more to come, and I fought them passionately -- and professionally, of course :)
Thanks for reading and please, if you have a story you'd like to share for True Story Tuesday, email me!