There's no good way to deal with this situation, but surely there are better ones.
June 4, 2012 2:03 PM Subscribe
I had to back out of my childcare job in a not-entirely-graceful manner for an emergency last week. Could I have handled this better? How do I proceed now? How should I proceed if something similar were to happen in the future? Snowflake details inside.
posted by ActionPopulated to human relations (15 answers total)
Background: I am massively underemployed currently, patching together rent through combinations of office temping and babysitting. Until last week, I was doing a couple-weeks-long sitting gig, supposed to last until this family--call them family one-- moves out of town in the middle of this month.
Then, early last week, a good friend committed suicide.
He did it sometime in the morning on Monday, memorial day. I was off from sitting anyway for the memorial day holiday, and ended up spending a lot of that morning and afternoon dealing with the police (none of his housemates were home and his family is all out of state, so the police had to go in and find him), and trying to visit at the hospital. His condition still seemed okay at this point. I called family one that night, explained the situation, and said that I would like to take the following day off to recuperate and tie up any logistical loose ends. They weren't thrilled, but they said they understood, and they'd check in with me the next day.
The next day, his condition was considerably worse. I was completely wrecked when I got the call from family one that night to check in about sitting. I offered to come, but they suggested that I possibly take a few more days and they'd check back again for Friday or so.
Meanwhile, I was supposed to start work with a different family--call them family two-- that Thursday night. I e-mailed them to explain the situation, told them I'd been off from family one for days, that I'd check back in early the following week about beginning work. They said thanks for letting us know, we'll stay in touch.
My friend passed away on Thursday night, and I went back for one last day with family one on Friday. I was initially supposed to stay another week, but the mother had told me before that she'd hired someone else for the last week, unsure how stable I was going to be. She said she was sorry, that she understood, that she still liked me personally and thought I'd been good with her kids, but that honestly I'd left that hanging in a critical week. She also asked a lot of questions about my relationship to my friend and how old he was that, to my mind, felt kind of intrusive, like she was trying to figure out whether our relationship merited this amount of grief. (The relationship was non-romantic but complicated, not something I usually talk about except to other trusted friends.) I think I still have a good reference from this family, but after those remarks I'm honestly not sure.
I was initially supposed to work with family number two today. I e-mailed them last night saying that I'd had some time to process, did they still need anyone for today. They said they were sorry about my friend, but they'd made other arrangements for today. They did not indicate if/when I should get back to them for other work.
I desperately need to do something for money in the coming weeks, and if that something is sitting I will probably need the reference of family one. Is that worth trying for at this point? What about continuing to pursue family two? Other people with children here--how would you react if this happened to your babysitter/nanny? I sincerely hope to never encounter this particular situation again, but in the event of another sudden emergency, how do you handle leaving work gracefully? (Especially if it's work that can't be put off for another day like child care.)
Before the flood of therapy suggestions comes in--I already have an intake appointment set up.