Friday, April 03, 2009

it is done

We fired the nanny last night. Definitely qualifies for one of the top 5 most uncomfortable moments in my life.

She obviously knew what was up - she had left messages for the nanny agency earlier in the day and they had avoided calling her back until after we talked to her. Clearly when both Jim and I arrive home, together, in the late afternoon - something is up. She was busier than I've ever seen her. She had the kids downstairs in the play room (for one of the first times ever without my insistence), and she was doing a craft project with them (first time ever) - she would not make eye contact with us, she was just flurrying around the room. It was as if she could just avoid the conversation if we didn't have a moment to get a word in. Jim finally had to tell her a couple of times to stop what she was doing.

The conversation itself was quick - Jim said "we're letting you go". She said "I know". That was basically it. She stood there and looked at the kids for a minute. She shrugged, stormed upstairs, went to the bathroom, went out to her car to get our housekey, and left - fewer than five words were uttered. Not what I expected. I expected her to get mad, to argue, to want an explanation, to want to say goodbye to the kids. I didn't expect her to just leave.

Afterwards she told the nanny agency that she was disappointed and that she did not like the way things were handled and that she didn't have anything to say (that our minds were made up). She felt that she had adequate reasons for being late and that she had done everything she could to arrive on time every day.

I find that kind of annoying. Just because she had a good reason every day, doesn't make it ok to be late 90% (or more) of the time. I should have kept records of it - but honestly I think she was here at 8am less than 5 times in the 10 months she worked for us. She needs to understand that at some point, it's just not acceptable no matter how good the reason or no matter how hard she is 'trying' to get here on time - it simply wasn't working and I think she's in denial. We talked to her about it many, many times. We gave her written feedback on it at her review in January - and she was even late the day after receiving that feedback in her review. If she really was doing everything she could to arrive on time, then really she should recognize that it just wasn't possible, and that we really had no choice.

Yes, our minds were made up after she was an hour late last week without calling - that was the final straw, but it certainly was not an isolated incident. But, water under the bridge. I'm sure there's always room for improvement in how we handled the situation, I feel bad about that, but I don't feel bad about the decision. Perhaps we shouldn't have waited the week - perhaps we should have done it immediately once we made the decision. I don't know. I hate it when things end badly, but I don't know how to have ended this one in a better way - firing someone is always going to go over poorly.

She actually had the nerve to ask the agency if we would be a reference for her. I don't think I could do that. There were other things about her job performance that had really slid down hill lately - but that weren't even worth bothering to address because the tardiness alone was reason enough to let her go. So I don't think I could in good conscience recommend her as a nanny for another family. I never felt like the kids were in any kind of danger in her care - I think she took good care of them - but she just wasn't really living up to the requirements of the job.

I feel emotionally drained from this whole experience. I was sick to my stomach all day yesterday leading up to it, and I was kind of in shock for a while after.

In better news - we may already have a new nanny. We interviewed a great gal on wednesday night who we absolutely loved. We have a couple more lined up to interview tonight and tomorrow, but I think we'll have it figured out pretty quickly.

I think I'm supposed to start my OCPs in the next few days... need to dig out the FET schedule to be sure.


Heather said...

I think you handled the situation well, so don't question if you could've done it better. No matter what, it was a tough situation. (((Hugs))) Good luck with a new nanny.

Jaimie said...

That is crazy! I would have been fired if I had been late 1 minute 6 times in a year! Good excuse or not. We have to be accountable for ourselves. You did fine. I'm sorry she didn't say goodbye to the kids, but maybe that would have been too hard. Good luck with a new nanny and all your other happenings!

Rachel said...

Ugh. Sounds awful. I can't believe she did not even want to see good-bye to the kids. I hope you find a nanny who is not only punctual but a bit more involved and attached to your wonderful babies.

cat said...

Oh gosh,always bad firing someone. I can not believe she wants to use you as a reference! I hope you find a great new one.

Bea said...

Live and learn. Maybe, yes, you should have mentioned it to her before it became obvious and/or given a straight answer when asked. As you say, even if she had a good reason every time, if she couldn't work your hours, she's not suited to the position.

It would be strange and awkward to give a reference. Perhaps the agency was actually the one initiating that question?