Respecting Professional Boundaries
Being flexible and having an attitude of helpfulness is essential to being a successful nanny. But, when pitching-in becomes expected and nannies do more and more chores increasing their job duties, without extra compensation, they often burn-out and become resentful.
When employers commonly require increasing amounts of work, relative to the normal requirements of a nanny position, it’s popularly called job creep.
Needs of children and families are often fast-paced and constantly changing. So, nannies are indispensable to busy parents when they chip-in to help in ways that might not be included in their work agreement. Running an extra errand, staying late when the train is delayed, cleaning up after the parents and kids, or filling-in to help a parent out when they can’t make an appointment makes nannies vital in their employers eyes.
But once child care providers start feeling resentful they need to respectfully discuss their job description as its presented in their work agreement to respect professional boundaries with their employers.
Lora Brawley of Nanny Care Hub recommends nannies speak up as soon as possible when they has reached their “favor threshold” at their job. She writes, “Remember that at some point, every nanny does tasks outside of her job description. That’s a real world part of the job. Setting healthy boundaries doesn’t mean there’s no need to be flexible. It simply means you know and respectfully communicate your limits around your flexibility.”
For example, she gives the following sample of how to discuss this with employers:
“I understand that it’s really tough to get to the grocery store over the weekend when you’re staring down the deadline for a big work project like you were this weekend. I was happy to do the shopping Monday afternoon. However grocery shopping isn’t part of my regular job description so if you feel this may come up again, I’d like to work out an alternative way of making sure this gets done or talk about possibly adding it to my job description and what that will look like.”
There is a fine line between being flexible and job creep. If employees are willing to take on the extra duties for more compensation then both parties can negotiate appropriate reimbursement for the additional work.
But if the employee doesn’t want to continue doing specific tasks, she should come to the discussion with possible solutions so she won’t have to do the work outside her job description any longer.
Lora Brawely, Nanny Care Hub