Can I make amends for backing out of a childcare position?
September 20, 2013 1:34 PM   Subscribe

I backed out of an in-home childcare position with woefully short notice. Is there anything I can do?

I gracelessly backed out of an in-home childcare position that I was truly excited about, because an old employer called offering a full-time salaried position starting immediately. The parents had given me a paid training and a small stipend while they were away; I was due to start upon their return, but I got a call out of the blue. After hand-wringing and waiting until I received the written offer, I let them know. They are scrambling and I asked friends for referrals, but have not heard back.

Aside from returning the stipend, which I am obviously doing, is a small gift for the child (5-month-old) appropriate? Refunding the training cost, or some portion thereof? Is there some other way to apologize for this very great inconvenience to them that I'm not thinking of?

(I'm not looking to stay in their good graces for future work, which I'm sure is impossible anyway, I just want to make this a little bit less awful.)
posted by ziggly to Work & Money (6 answers total)
Absolutely refund the training cost and return the stipend, and keep bugging your friends for referrals.

If at all possible, offer them some amount of free babysitting on the weekends or in your other free time for a little while until they can get your replacement on board.
posted by Etrigan at 1:41 PM on September 20, 2013 [10 favorites]

I think the training cost refund idea is an honorable one. The gift for the kid seems fine, but the parents are likely less concerned about your lack of love for their child than the huge inconvenience of having to arrange for in-home childcare.
posted by resurrexit at 1:43 PM on September 20, 2013 [4 favorites]

Once they find a new child-care person, you won't exist in their minds at all, ever.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:44 PM on September 20, 2013 [6 favorites]

I am a super busy parent and I would not hate you - in fact, I would feel perversely happy that you found a better situation. I would however expect you to return the full amount for both the training and the stipend.

Regarding Etrigan's suggestion, you don't have to offer a night of babysitting to make up for the short notice, but if you chose to, it would be just one night out of your life and your karma account would get some major coin deposited in it.
posted by rada at 2:43 PM on September 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Refunding the training and the stipend amounts are thoughtful gestures. I do not think you should work for free on your weekends. They are employers. These things happen. This is not your child or your family. You are not abandoning someone you have a moral obligation to care for. It's a job that they could have fired you from at any time, and you could quit, again at any time.
posted by palliser at 9:03 PM on September 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

FWIW, I was the parent on the receiving end of a very similar situation a few years ago. Lot's of different opinions of how I should (have) handled it in the linked thread.

In the end, I just decided to let it go and did not write a bad review of her.
posted by digitalprimate at 4:30 AM on September 21, 2013

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