Should I give this caregiver a bad review?
August 29, 2010 7:06 PM   Subscribe

A little over three weeks ago, after a rather exhaustive search, I hired a nanny who, the day before she was to start, emailed that she will be taking daytime classes after all and hence cannot work for us. Leaving my family good and fucked.

This woman was highly qualified, working on her Masters, had taught the grades my two boys are going into and interviewed very well. We had agreed to everything, and she was to start tomorrow. She told us that she had arranged her class schedule as to not conflict, then today, when I wrote her asking about the schedule tomorrow (which is not a "normal" schedule day") she wrote back saying she suddenly had conflicts with her class schedule and couldn't do the job.

She almost certainly new this at least a week and probably two weeks ago if she's not outfight lying and has taken another job instead (she was not inexpensive!)

I found her through one of the three most used sites for caregivers. I'm wondering if I should make this information public, or keep it to myself. On the one hand, I don't want to put a black mark on someone's "permanent record," but on the other hand, I wonder if I have an obligation to the other parents using the site.

posted by digitalprimate to Work & Money (51 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I would leave a comment on the site you found her. As someone who hires babysitters that way, it would be helpful if everyone did this.
posted by procrastination at 7:10 PM on August 29, 2010 [4 favorites]

If I was a parent using that nanny site, I would definitely, definitely want to know about her behavior. The two alternatives are that she's so disorganized she couldn't arrange her classes properly (not likely) or that she jumped ship for a better offer. Both options reflect really poorly on her. Unfortunately, since she's most likely employed (with that aforementioned better offer) it's not likely that your negative feedback will matter since she's not looking for a job right now.
posted by kate blank at 7:10 PM on August 29, 2010

Employment is at-will. Since you have no experience with her quality of service, you're not qualified to write a review, really.

I understand that this is frustrating, but there's a host of possibilities here. Maybe she's telling the truth. Maybe she got a bad vibe from your family or thought it would be a bad fit. Maybe she was offered more money. Whatever the case, she wouldn't owe you "the truth" even if she had an employment contract. Remember that to her, this is work, and not personal--even if her actions have cheesed you off.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:11 PM on August 29, 2010 [25 favorites]

If she did it, then it's not a lie to let people know. As a parent, I'd want to hear it.
posted by lemniskate at 7:14 PM on August 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

The two alternatives are that she's so disorganized she couldn't arrange her classes properly (not likely) or that she jumped ship for a better offer.

Oh, and I'm at a loss to see how her "not arranging her class schedules properly" would reflect poorly on her. As someone who has taken master's classes, sometimes it genuinely is necessary to change one's schedule even after the beginning of the semester because of a variety of factors.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:14 PM on August 29, 2010 [5 favorites]

I would take a couple of days to cool off before you make any decisions about what to do. You sound understandably upset and it's hard to make a rational call about anything when your family is "good and fucked."
posted by corey flood at 7:20 PM on August 29, 2010 [10 favorites]

She was supposed to start tomorrow and then "She told us that she had arranged her class schedule as to not conflict, then today, when I wrote her asking about the schedule tomorrow [THE DAY SHE STARTS WORKING FOR THEM!] ... she wrote back saying she suddenly had conflicts with her class schedule and couldn't do the job." -- that definitely reflects poorly on her and yeah, I spent years in university.
posted by kate blank at 7:22 PM on August 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

I get that other potential customers might like to know so they can rule her out without ever meeting her, but the consequences here are so disproportionately punishing to her that this is some bad, bad karma, dude.

It's common enough in graduate education to not know who you'll be TAing or otherwise woring for/under until immediately before the term, and it's common for graduate courses to get cancelled immediately before the semester so you have to find another, and it's common to find that even though the prof you're doing an independent study with said three times that meeting on Thursday afternoons is great they're all of a sudden "What, you mean THURSDAY Thursday? That won't work." Hell, it's not even unheard of for a course to actually meet at some other time than it says on the schedule.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:23 PM on August 29, 2010 [4 favorites]

No, it's not fair for you to comment. She's done nothing wrong. You're an employer, and she was your prospective employee. She's within her rights to accept a position and then decline it for whatever reason she feels is appropriate. It's unfortunate for your family, but a job is a job - even if it involves caregiving.
posted by jennyhead at 7:25 PM on August 29, 2010 [9 favorites]

Totally fair for you to comment if she accepted the job and then bailed.
posted by rbs at 7:27 PM on August 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm in the "if you can quit your job whenever you want, so can she" crowd. What she did was inconvenient and possibly rude, but you have no way of knowing whether it was truly a screwup, or something more incompetent or malicious on her part.

People don't generally give up jobs unless they have to, or have gotten better offers.
posted by gjc at 7:28 PM on August 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Sure she was within her rights to turn it down, but I would certainly want to know that she did so in the manner you described. Especially since it seems that you had to contact her to get the information -- when did she plan on telling you? That's not particularly responsible. Maybe temper it with something explaining that you thought she was well qualified otherwise?

I think this could go either way and largely depends on how everything else went. The way your question reads, it sounds like she just did not communicate with you at all for three weeks. After promising you she'd be available. But maybe that's not exactly what went down.
posted by dpx.mfx at 7:31 PM on August 29, 2010

Look, maybe the scheduling is all entirely not her fault, but she didn't write you as soon as she found out, saying she was sorry, blahblahblah happened, and how can she help you given that her class schedules changed at the last minute? That is a mature, responsible way to handle unexpected last minute changes -- you tell the other person, not wait for them to go chasing you.

I'd write something truthful but not quite as incendiary as this post is. You can also ask her why she did not inform you as soon as she found out, and if she knows anyone who can get you through until you can find a new nanny. Then if she is helpful, you can balance your response with that; if not, well, she's really not responsible.
posted by jeather at 7:31 PM on August 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

I generally like giving people the benefit of the doubt, but the fact that she did not contact you directly when she found out about the change is what would give me fits.

To have her email you with that information only after you contact her to firm up details for TOMORROW is highly unprofessional on her part. That unprofessionalism is why I would want other parents to know what they might expect with her. The fact that her plans changed to me is understandable and forgivable provided she had contacted you immediately, by phone not email, to give you the best chance of making other arrangements. The way she handled this was just wrong and others should have that information before she leaves them in the same bind.
posted by cecic at 7:33 PM on August 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Even if she did take another job--if your family had a sudden financial setback that made it difficult for you to afford a nanny, would you have continued to employ her? Some people expect nannies to treat their employers like family, but it's a job. It sucks that this happened, but sometimes employees or potential employees get a better offer or have an unexpected change in their circumstances, like last minute class changes. I wouldn't post anything.
posted by Mavri at 7:35 PM on August 29, 2010 [5 favorites]

Couldn't you just move on? You need to really focus on solving a problem in a hurry, and while it might seem to be just a small thing to post a comment on a website or whatever, you are not making a clean break with this flake, and will waste valuable emotional energy checking back on the site to see if anyone else has commented about her, etc.

Just make a clean break and move on. You'll feel better in 24 hours, and you will also have the mental energy to solve your problem - finding competent, reliable, non-flakey childcare!
posted by KokuRyu at 7:36 PM on August 29, 2010

Response by poster: [hit a nerve]

"...if your family had a sudden financial setback that made it difficult for you to afford a nanny, would you have continued to employ her?"

Why yes, as a matter of fact I did. Because as tough for us as it was, it was tougher for her.

[/hit a nerve]
posted by digitalprimate at 7:38 PM on August 29, 2010

I can't believe it's even being debated whether to write a negative review. Yes, by all means -- being trusted to start on your start date, once the interviews have been done and an agreement has been reached, is something of utmost importance to future consumers of this woman's services.

It's no different from, say, ordering a certain make and model of car, being told "yeah, we have it, it will be here tomorrow," and then at the last minute the dealership flakes. Whether it's technically "her fault" is really a side issue -- she's shown that, at least in your case, she could not be relied upon, and this is a data point that would be important before future families invest too much time in courting her. Many, many unreliable employees have lots of troubles and mishaps that aren't "their fault," but nonetheless make them terrible employees.
posted by jayder at 7:39 PM on August 29, 2010 [11 favorites]

Having been in her situation, with an unpredictable schedule...if you know that your schedule could change at the last minute, you don't commit until you know!

Leaving people without a nanny with less than a day's notice puts them in a horrible spot. Now they either have to find new (and possibly substandard) care really quickly, and/or one or both of them has to miss work without pay, or take sick days, arrange for grandparents to pick up the slack...all of this is stressful for the parents AND the children.

Even more so if it's a difficult family to find help for--twins, children with special needs, odd hours. If I'm not mistaken, OP, you have twins.

I would put a simple, factual review--she interviewed well and her references loved her. Unfortunately we were not able to judge the quality of her care because the day before she was to start, her schedule changed and she was unable to start work.

As for at-will employment--of course employment is at-will, legally. Of course anyone can quit any job at any time. That doesn't make it awesome, nor does it make it some sort of secret the OP has to keep on her behalf. If it's really standard and not a big deal, then the other people reading the review won't mind hearing about it.
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:41 PM on August 29, 2010 [10 favorites]

She almost certainly new this at least a week and probably two weeks ago if she's not outfight lying and has taken another job instead (she was not inexpensive!)

How do you know? It sucks for you, but I can tell you from experience that student schedules change unexpectedly up to a day and then even several weeks after the semester starts. A course is canceled, an instructor takes an unexpected leave, a time or date is changed, and so forth. It's entirely possible she didn't know herself until a day or two before, or maybe even that day, that her schedule would change. Unless she intimated to you otherwise, I wouldn't be so quick to jump to this assertion.

As for what you can do? If you worked out a deposit, she should give it back to you. If she failes to give it back to you in a reasonable amount of time (30 days), then I'd say you'd have cause to write about her behavior on the site. But what you should be doing right now is contacting all your parent friends and coworkers and colleagues and relatives looking for nanny and daycare provider recommendations and checking to see if your employer offers the benefit of having a well-established company do the search for you (my employer had such an arrangement, and that's how I found our wonderful daycare).
posted by zizzle at 7:42 PM on August 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

I'm in the "if you can quit your job whenever you want, so can she" crowd.

Yeah, and employers who deal with an employee quitting with no notice can say exactly what happened if contacted for a reference, too.

And when you're looking for a new job it'll reflect on you--whether you tell potential employers that you quit without notice, or you tell them they can't contact your previous supervisor for a reference, or if they do contact that company doing a background will impact your job prospects.
posted by galadriel at 7:44 PM on August 29, 2010 [4 favorites]

No matter what her excuse, the facts stand and if relating them affects her, then so be it. Keep to the facts, and I can't see how you'd be doing anything wrong. I also wonder if the site from which you found her would be interested in learning about this.
posted by littleflowers at 7:45 PM on August 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The right analogy is not whether digitalprimate did continue to employ a nanny in strained circumstances.

The right analogy is whether digitalprimate thinks it would be okay, if a nanny were told a day before they were supposed to start that they couldn't start after all, for the nanny to put the family's name on a list that would make it difficult or impossible for them to ever hire child-care providers ever again.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:46 PM on August 29, 2010 [13 favorites]

It won't keep her from getting work. If she's competent and has experience, she probably has a large network of people who will help her get jobs--from her previous coworkers to her friends-of-friends to her fellow churchgoers to professors or fellow students with children and their friends...once you get a good reputation, it's harder to schedule work than it is to get work.

If you think otherwise, you probably don't have experience with nannies/sitters in the NYC area.
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:50 PM on August 29, 2010

I'm in law school and quickly realized my first semester that my time is not my own but belongs to my registrar, professors, journal, mandatory school events, etc. However, I juggle several part-time jobs and tell all of my employers that my work schedule 1) depends on my school schedule and 2) is tentative until finalized/confirmed. I think I'm more in touch with my employers' POV because I'm older, back in school after 20+ years of working.

She should have told you that there was a chance her schedule would change -- that's assuming she's telling the truth -- before committing to the job. Instead, she reassured you that her schedule wouldn't conflict. And you learned all this because you contacted her? The day before she was to start? When was she planning on telling you?

If I were hiring, I would want to know this about a candidate. I vote for leaving a review that accurately states what happened. It could be a good lesson in consequences for her as well, if she's open to learning from it.
posted by Majorita at 7:55 PM on August 29, 2010 [4 favorites]

What? I can't even believe that people are defending the nanny's behavior. You had an agreement and she backed out of it. If you wrote a review of her that simply stated the facts of what happened, without editorializing on how terrible you think her behavior was and how irresponsible you think she was, then you leave it up to the readers of the website to decide for themselves if that's something to be concerned with. If, as the others are saying here, it's no big deal, then why is it a problem if the digitalprimate reports the facts? I say you tell your story in a neutral way and then let other prospective employers decide if they think she's worth hiring.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 8:00 PM on August 29, 2010 [7 favorites]

It won't keep her from getting work.

Then the review is pointless in any case, isn't it?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:03 PM on August 29, 2010

Well, that was excessively curt. But if the review won't keep people from "making the mistake" of hiring her, what's the point of it?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:05 PM on August 29, 2010

Things happen that are beyond the nanny's control, and she shouldn't be faulted for that. Where she IS at fault, however, is by not informing you as soon as possible that her schedule changed. As a parent, I would not want someone that irresponsible tending my child. For you to have contacted her the day before she was to start in order to find out that she was unavailable is unacceptable to me. So yes, I would leave an accurate review, stating the facts of the situation without editorializing.
posted by Ruki at 8:10 PM on August 29, 2010

It will keep her from getting hired from that website, perhaps, which I think is fair.

My point is that every competent nanny or sitter that I know in the NYC area gets plenty of job offers simply by word-of-mouth. People who know good nannies will put in effort to find work for them.

Seriously, I've never been a teacher (a huge asset) and I have a school schedule to work around. I get calls for potential jobs at least twice a week, and I don't have any ads up anywhere.

She's not going to be blacklisted like a communist in old-school Hollywood. But it will be clear to people on this site, at least, that she's unreliable. That is fair, I think.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:14 PM on August 29, 2010

I would think that in this situation, the factual review would be sufficient - interviewed great, references loved her, but she cancelled her services the day before she was supposed to start due to a sudden conflict in her schedule, and left you high and dry. In general, though I understand how the admin for university classes work sometimes and that her schedule was out of her power to control, this is the price she will have to pay.

One "bad" review won't kill her babysitting career since she's got other great ones, but she'll have to explain it to future employers. Some people will be understanding and see it as not her fault, others will justifiably be forewarned she will prioritize certain other commitments over her responsibilities to this job, possibly on short notice.
posted by lizbunny at 8:44 PM on August 29, 2010 [3 favorites]

Just tell the truth, no editorializing, and let other parents decide whether this is a big deal to them.

Thinking of it from the other direction doesn't change my point of view. If an employer who had hired me then responded to an email from me the day before I was to start with "Never mind, things have changed and we no longer need you," I'd definitely feel it was appropriate to write a negative review on a relevant website.
posted by palliser at 9:26 PM on August 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Employment is at-will.

This just means that you can't sue her. It doesn't mean you don't have any information with which to judge her professionalism or reliability. Clearly you do: she didn't contact you to tell you her plans had changed. That was unprofessional and unreliable. It was not actionable, because employment is at-will, but we're not talking about suing her; we're talking about informing other prospective employers about the facts of her behavior.
posted by palliser at 9:31 PM on August 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I'd write it up. "Everything seemed great until she cancelled the day before she was supposed to start. This was very frustrating and left me scrambling." You are not hurting her future prospects; SHE is hurting her future prospects.

If a comment could have prevented your current situation, wouldn't you have appreciated it?
posted by Menthol at 9:32 PM on August 29, 2010 [4 favorites]

I know you say you're really screwed right now, but really I think you dodged a bullet. At least she flaked before she started and not at a time when she was responsible for the welfare of your children. Imagine if something came up and she wasn't able to pick them up from school, would she just leave them there?

Seriously, count your blessings. Getting shoved out of the way of a moving car might hurt you, but the scrapes and bruises are going to feel a lot better than what would have happened if you'd gotten hit.

As for the review, I think you should write one but that it should be completely sterile. Just the facts and written after you've had a chance to calm down. Write a really nasty review right now if that will make you feel better, but make sure you delete it. Post one with just the relevant information: You negotiated and she left you without a nanny on very short notice.
posted by TooFewShoes at 9:38 PM on August 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

You are an employer; she was a potential employee. The truth is acceptable to report. We agreed to hire Jane Doe; she declined employment with short notice.
posted by theora55 at 9:43 PM on August 29, 2010

When all of this has blown over and you look back on how you acted, will it make you feel better to think that you potentially damaged her chance of ever getting work, or will you feel like you did the right thing? That's your answer.
posted by Jubey at 10:29 PM on August 29, 2010

When you provide feedback (yes you should) to the site, skip your assumptions about when she knew and whether or not she had another job. Just keep it brief: "Made all arrangements [time period] in advance, was assurred her class schedule would not conflict, then she called less than 24 hours before her start date/time to cancel, claiming class conflicts."
posted by davejay at 10:37 PM on August 29, 2010

Oops, sorry: "was assuredshe assured us her class schedule would not conflict."
posted by davejay at 10:37 PM on August 29, 2010

Maybe she got a bad vibe from your family or thought it would be a bad fit.

I really, really don't understand how the nanny's actions would be OK in light of this and similar explanations. She had a right to refuse the job for any reason, but having accepted it, she also had a responsibility to tell the OP she would not be able to do the work as soon as she could, not wait until he contacted her (on the eve of the day she was supposed to start!) to say something.

To me, this isn't about whether being open with other potential employers about what happened is an impossibly harsh, unjust punishment - it isn't, if the nanny was being genuinely flaky, and the idea that one negative but fair review on one website would somehow ruin this woman's life is ridiculous anyway; even Louise Woodward has a job now. But, OP, unless you're absolutely sure that the nanny could have been more upfront with you and that the circumstances weren't really out of her control, I don't think it would be right to punish her even in that way.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 10:41 PM on August 29, 2010

I really, really don't understand how the nanny's actions would be OK in light of this and similar explanations. She had a right to refuse the job for any reason, but having accepted it, she also had a responsibility to tell the OP she would not be able to do the work as soon as she could, not wait until he contacted her (on the eve of the day she was supposed to start!) to say something.

I tend to be somewhat mercenary about work situations, but in an economy like this, I feel that it's at the very least understandable, even if you don't think it's right. That is to say, she may have felt financial pressure to accept a job that she had reservations about; doing so might have even been necessary for her to live. And while, yes, if she could have (and again, we don't know that that's the case), she should have informed OP sooner, there are a variety of ways and reasons that such conversations are difficult and unpleasant, and so while, yeah, putting off such conversations might not be the most prudent career choice, I can have some empathy for the nanny's side of the situation.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:53 PM on August 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

You can never have too much empathy, and I think it's pretty normal to take a job you don't want for the money, but no, I still don't think it's at all acceptable for a grown woman to lead her employer on until the very last moment, leaving him and his young children utterly in the lurch, just because it would be uncomfortable to pick up the phone and turn them down. I'm not saying that such a person would be beyond hope as a human being, but she would still be very much in the wrong in this case. If that's really how this particular nanny does business (and honestly I don't think it is) then a bad review on a website is a downright minor consequence for her career compared to what's coming.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 11:19 PM on August 29, 2010

Here's what I would do. I would avoid commenting on the site (initially). Then I would call her and say something like, "Listen, I understand that sometimes course loads can sometimes be unpredictable, but I just wanted to let you know that this situation has put an undue burden on me and my family and it was quite a bit of effort to hire someone. I will not comment on the site for now, because I feel it would affect your future employment opportunities too much. Instead, I am asking you to consider setting your schedule straight first, then looking for work for the sake of the families who hire you. It was also unprofessional to let me know so late."

Depending on her reaction, I would decide to leave a comment (i.e. if she seems completely uninterested, then this might be useful information to future employers, but only in a very neutral tone via the comments; if, however, she is just in a temporarily difficult situation, I would avoid leaving a negative review.)
posted by spiderskull at 11:36 PM on August 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yeah I don't understand how this was even kind of acceptable behavior on the nanny's part. Regardless of whether she is telling the truth or not. At the very least she should have told you the second she was aware of the conflict and personally called you, not email, to deliver the news. Let alone the day before. A lot of people don't check their email several times a day. It's very possible you could have been waiting around tomorrow for her to show up having not checked your email. I'd be livid.

I would consider sending her an email that was essentially: tell me why I shouldn't leave a scathing review for you based upon your actions. She may elaborate on her situation and details may come out that make you more sympathetic, which will save her professional reputation and make you less angry or she won't, and you'll save another family from the same trouble.
posted by whoaali at 11:50 PM on August 29, 2010

The part that's really getting me is that she didn't even contact you to let you know--she waited until you contacted her. If she'd suited up and at least phoned and said "Hey, I'm really sorry, but things have changed and I'm not able to do this," that'd be one thing.

The fact that she didn't contact you until you contacted her makes me wonder if she was going to contact you at all--what was she going to do, wait until an hour before she's supposed to be there, then call?

Her schedule may or may not be entirely her fault, but the way she's handled this reflects poorly on her, and as a parent who has hired childcare providers (we're thankfully past that age), it's definitely something I'd want to know. Leave the review, keeping it as simple as possible: Nanny agreed to work for us starting on [date]. The day before she was scheduled to start, I contacted her to confirm the time, and she informed me that she wouldn't be taking the job after all due to conflicts with school.

I think that really say about everything anyone would need to know. It may impair her ability to find work in the future--I certainly wouldn't hire her--but when you're both a student and an adult, you have to pick which one you're going to prioritize, work or school. She picked school. Arguably better for her, but certainly worse for a potential employer. If you're feeling bad about the review, just remember that it's only going to be a problem for her for (presumably) a couple of years--if she's taught before and is going back to school for another degree, I can't imagine that she plans to make nannying her career.
posted by MeghanC at 12:20 AM on August 30, 2010

Personally, I'd be uncomfortable posting a review without talking to her first to try and get a little more information. However unlikely, it's certainly possible she didn't know about her schedule conflict until the day of the email. As others have pointed out, it could have changed out from under her without any warning, and it's also possible she didn't realize that could happen.

Anyway, there's no harm in holding off on posting a review until the immediate problem has been resolved and your anger's had some time to settle.
posted by Lazlo at 12:51 AM on August 30, 2010

Personally, I'd be uncomfortable posting a review without talking to her first to try and get a little more information. However unlikely, it's certainly possible she didn't know about her schedule conflict until the day of the email.

Yes. You really don't know all of the details of what happened. Sure, she seriously inconvenienced you, and you definitely have a right to be mad, but I would give her a call once you've calmed down and figure out what happened. Go from there.
posted by pintapicasso at 2:49 AM on August 30, 2010

It doesn't matter if she knew her schedule conflict until very late, but she should have highlighted the possible uncertainties to the potential employer early on, not reassure them that her schedule was workable.

It is irrelevant why she chose to pass on the job, the problem is the manner in which she did it, which causes a lot of problems for the family, and her failure to communicate her changed plans to the family, until she was contacted by them with last minute arrangements. It's unprofessional and most potentail employers would want to know. If there are extenuating circumstances let her explain them to the next family.
posted by koahiatamadl at 2:57 AM on August 30, 2010

people are saying she's within her rights. Is that really the case? Is this an employment situation or is this contracting with someone as an independent contractor? I thought there are different than special rules for independent contractors that vary by state; do they all fall under the at will doctrine?

it seems to me that this could be possibly a promissory estoppel kind of situation especially if you relied on her promise to your economic detriment by either having the pay a higher rate for short-term care or missing work. Of course, I'm no lawyer.

what you could do is look into the possibility of enforcing the agreement. Another possibility is to explain the hardship and ask her to deal with that for the first week to give you a chance to hire/contract with someone else. something like, "I'm disappointed you are unable to meet your obligations you have agreed to. I am happy to the release you from your obligations beyond the first week. .."
posted by chinabound at 6:49 AM on August 30, 2010

you can also say to her that you would like to see proof that she in fact has these scheduling conflicts. of course, it is her choice. but if she is not forthcoming with the proof, you can say that you will have no choice but to take a factual representation of your experience. it's not very hard to printout a student schedule
posted by chinabound at 6:52 AM on August 30, 2010

Response by poster: So a copule of week later, thought I'd add a resolved tag just to wrap this up in case anyone else stumbles upon it in the future.

I did not in the end give the nanny a bad review. My wife (unbeknownst to me and uncharacteristically for her took the nanny to the woodshed. Um bad analogy, nevermind).

Partially, with two kids and two very stressful jobs, we just didn't have the energy to invest in giving her a nuanced review with the correct "dog whistles" to other parents, yet I feel we should have. I was able to hire another nanny fairly quickly through the same service, and she's working out very well. But the wider ethical point is, as a member of that online community, I should have found a way to warn potential parents.

In general, people who can afford this nanny's asking price are well off, and probably can find other solutions, but that's not an assumption I should make for others using the site. This nanny had certain special qualifications dealing with unique child development problems, and I can't imagine what her not showing up for work would do to people who's jobs are less flexible. Without hyperbole I can say that it could well have cost someone their job in this economy.

But I also appreciated all the responses pointing out that we really don't have any idea what was going on in her life, even with her nonchalant response. And in the end, I felt I just didn't have enough - no matter how nuanced - to give her a bad review.

I'm very much hoping that the old instant karma will help both the nanny and us in this situation. And that whatever she's dealing with she gets sorted.

Anyone reading this thread in the future, my advice is to email or call any potential nanny every other day with some excuse or another to make sure she or he is still on board before they start.

And finally, to all those people responding that being a nanny is "just another job" will change their tune when they have no choice but to entrust their children to another.
posted by digitalprimate at 5:44 PM on September 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

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