I won’t sugar coat it: I suck as an employer. If I had me for a boss, I would probably have a little voodoo doll version of myself that I stuck pins in like the “natives” on Gilligan’s Island did. Mostly, I suck at being on the boss side of relationships because I hate confrontation and my communication skills are weak when it comes to letting someone know what I want. And I can be a little passive aggressive. And victimy.
Can you see why I have sympathy for my nanny? Because I do.
But pass me a sliver of your sympathy pie, please. Our nanny just returned (3 working days ago) from a six-week trip. I am sure you know this, but six weeks is over a month. And in parenting-without-childcare terms, it’s a freaking millennium. In fairness, she offered her family members to come and pitch in when I had to go to therapy or . . . well, it was really only therapy because that’s my only hobby. And my student were on winter holiday, so I didn’t miss any work.
We are very blessed that she has family members we trust and rely on when we are in a pinch.
Yesterday, she asked for two more days off next week. Two out of five, which is like 2/5 of the week off. School is back in session, so I have real stuff to do. My heart rate shot up immediately as I stammered, trying to remember if there is anything on my calendar that I will have to switch around. In fairness, she works another job and they have asked her to come for training next week, so it’s not like she’s off selling blow or watching HGTV.
I could have totally recovered from this afternoon’s request, but my new and bigger job starts in two weeks. It’s a real one, so my boss and colleagues are going to expect to see me there, like, regularly. Without my children tucked into my back pack. I need to be able to count on my childcare. (Working parents, can you feel me here?)
I took a few deep breaths. “Let’s talk about it tomorrow,” I said, rationally, like a good boss. As soon as I heard the door shut behind her, the panic started again. I need to look her in the eye and let her know how important it is that I can rely on her because going back to work is hard enough without wondering if she’s going to fly off to Northern Africa again for a few weeks.
So, I sent her a text, like a not great boss. “We need to talk.”
Then, I realized it sounded too ominous– like the precursor to a break up. I didn’t want to scare her. But if I didn’t send the text, I knew I might chicken out and then have an aorta burst from the pent-up anger and stress.
So, I sent another text, like a not great boss with OCD. “I am nervous about starting my job and being able to rely on you on the days I am in the office. I would like to talk about that tomorrow.”
I think that sounds reasonable, don’t you? It’s certainly fair that we have this “can I count on you conversation?” on the eve of my return to the formal work-a-day world. I think the texts were sort of cheating, but like I said, I am a horrible boss.
How do you handle your childcare? Are you a good boss? Have you done the text reprimand? Because I am thinking it might be my go-to.