Wow who knew this would be such a roller coaster. This past week in the wake of my “high” on going back to work, the weekend ended on a sour note with some miscommunication with Beck’s nanny and so the beginning of last week left us without a nanny. We had finally found someone that was perfect for our home and the plus side is that Beck loves her to bits. She sings to him and I just watched her slow dance with him right now till he slept but she chose to take some time off.
We decided to look for another nanny while we waited and the agency we always fall back on, only had a nanny available that Friday. We needed someone ASAP because we had to edit and hand in the pilot we shot on the weekend. So on Tuesday, we interviewed this lady, who came highly recommended, It was a really entertaining interview.
Let’s begin with the fact that she had a serious posh english accent that I have heard from a Kenyan. I mean, I don’t even know how to explain. I think it just came as a surprise because she is a nanny. Her previous employers had worked at the US Embassy so I was expecting a really good nanny. We found out that she was really experienced with newborns and she seemed to know her way around taking care of a child. She also had 9 years experience with the same family which I was happy with. Her diction and eloquence made us feel confident that Beck would really be in good hands once he started talking.
She then explained to us that she worked Monday to Friday from 9 am – 5 pm and any hours after that was overtime, that included her weekends were also overtime. At that point, I was very intrigued by her demands. I mean this is Kenya, things work differently. Nannies here aren’t paid by the hour like I have seen in South Africa for example. She also added that she would stay within the compound on weekends even when she was off (an alarm rang loud in my head, someone without a social life is a definite no no in my books).
Then we asked THE question, What’s your expected salary? And she said (drum roll please) ………….. 35,000 Kenya Shillings. I was like… “I’m sorry…come again (Julius Malema Voice) 😉 No but seriously???? She told us that with her experience and expertise that was her starting salary and it didn’t stop there. She asked if we provided food and especially breakfast because she drinks only soy and almond milk…Imagine my reaction?!!!!!! I feel like I spoil myself with the good ol’ brookside milk and because Beck has been spitting up excessively and I have read that the protein in cows milk can contribute to this, I have even stopped all dairy from my diet as well as switched to coconut milk as I try the elimination method. She said she doesn’t take coconut milk, just the ones she mentioned. At that point, if I remember correctly, I excused myself. I just couldn’t believe it.
The interview continued and she went on to ask if we provided insurance because she expected her and the Beck to be covered while she was caring for him. Personally, I have been looking for insurance because mine expired when I was pregnant with Beck and when I went to renew it, I found out that I couldn’t get one until he was born. I had just gone through the Resolution Health Insurance page earlier that week and in my mind, I was thinking “your one month salary is a whole years insurance premium”.
Don’t get me wrong, these are all valid points she was putting across. It was just so unexpected! Most people know that Kenya is quite affordable when one is getting help from your askari (watchman) to your nanny. In other countries, nannies have the right to ask for what they are comfortable with when seeking employment. In Kenya, with jobs being so scarce, people are willing to accept whatever jobs they can get. So it’s unfortunate that we don’t negotiate on what we deserve, especially women. I am happy that this lady knows her worth and is going for it and while our household wasn’t the right fit for her, I hope she gets the job she wants. I definitely learned from her that I should make my demands known when looking for my next project, but can I stick to the “pay me 70% first then 30% when delivering project” especially here in Kenya? One thing I know for sure is that I would assess the situation or company first before making demands, which I think she didn’t care to do.
I’m happy to say that after this ordeal…errrr……interview, our old nanny called us and said she was ready to get back to work. Of course we had to talk and decide on clear avenues on how we would all communicate and that Beck’s well being was the MOST IMPORTANT thing.
I hope all goes well this time.
Please share your experiences with nannies or stories you have heard. I would love to know what you guys think?